Monday, October 18, 2021

Halloween Kills

 It wouldn't be far off to say that Halloween Kills was one of my most anticipated films of the year. 2018's Halloween, also directed by David Gordon Green, was a surprising delight. It really zeroed in on what makes Halloween special as a franchise, and seemed to have a strong understanding of Michael Myers as a unstoppable force of evil, and what his motivations are. It tackled the ideas of generation horror and trauma, and how it trickles down through the generations.

Halloween Kills jettisons all of the intelligent thematic content, and instead brings more gruesome kills, and a higher overall body count. It learns all of the wrong lessons from its predecessor, and delivers something much less meaningful, and more just mean.

The biggest, most baffling problem with Halloween Kills is that it sidelines Laurie Strode for about 85% of the film's runtime. It instead focuses largely on a handful of ancillary characters from the original 1978 film, characters so memorable that I don't remember a single one of their names or history. I believe one or more of them were kids that were being babysat during Michael Myer's original spree. I'm not sure what drove the filmmakers to make these characters the focus, and with the film's relatively short runtime, we definitely don't have enough time to learn to care about them. And it doesn't really seems like the film itself is terribly interested in them either, as most of the group is quickly and easily dispatched by Michael Myers. The only thing I can fathom them thinking was the the nostalgia factor was what made Halloween (2018) memorable with fans, and that fitting any character with any level of history with the franchise would be just as beloved as Laurie Strode. But having Jamie Lee Curtis mostly in a hospital bed for the duration film handicaps it in such a major way. She is the main character of the series, and she is the through line for basically every movie, even the ones that are no longer canonical. Halloween Kills concentrates its development for the Strode women until the last 10-15 minutes of the movie, and it is all just too little too late.

In its own extremely clunky way, Halloween Kills also feels like its trying to be a commentary on the January 6 Raid of the US capitol. One of our main characters in this film runs around forming an armed militia of ignorant, angry people to hunt down Michael Myers. He is successful, and they run march around chanting meaningless drivel. In the end, their antics end in the unnecessary death of an innocent man, and ultimately all of their deaths. They enact no meaningful change, and much more harm than good. The movie feels the need to make all of these direct parallels, but does not seem to have any insight or new things to say about it. It is just cumbersome, boring, and further hinders the movie being very interesting ideas.

Halloween Kills has pretty much sapped my interest in the third entry coming next year, Halloween Ends. I hope they take the right notes from the negative critical response to this film, and try to make something a little more in line with the 2018 entry.