The 329th review!
Horror movies have been around for more than 100 years. In that century we've had so many villains and monsters. It takes a lot to stand out from such a very large crowd. While he's not my favorite, that title belongs to Jason Voorhees, you'd be foolish to not have Michael Myers near the top of your list of most important horror movie icons. Halloween wasn't the first slasher, but it brought the genre to the mainstream and directly inspired Friday the 13th. Anytime there's a new Halloween movie, it's a big deal, even if it's a Rob Zombie version. So, I would be remiss if I didn't review...
Halloween Kills (2021)
We pick up directly after the events of the previous movie. Laurie and her family, Karen and Allysin, are driving to the hospital to get help for Laurie. While on the way to the hospital they drive past a fleet of firetrucks coming to put out the house fire designed to be Michael's grave. Michael escapes, dropping a whole lot of bodies in the process.
After that, we meet a lot of Michael's earlier survivors, there's Tommy Doyle and Lindsay Wallace, the kids Laurie was babysitting in 1978, Marion, the nurse who Michael stole the car from in the first movie and Lonnie Elam, the kid from the original who was hanging around the Myers' home and got yelled at by Dr. Loomis. They learn about Michael's return and get a lynch mob to track him down and kill him.
We also get flashbacks to 1978 and they once again go out of their way to say Michael was a weirdo as a child. One of the officers tracking him down says he used to have forced playdates with Michael as a child. He said Michael wouldn't do anything, he'd just stare out the window of his sister's bedroom. I mean, it's better than making him the product of every white trash cliche, but making him a perfectly normal kid who one day snaps is SO much better than making him a creepy kids from the jump. Why do movies keep doing this? Stop trying to explain Michael Myers!
Anyways, let me talk about the stuff I liked first because there's a LOT less to say. I loved how Michael Myers doesn't care at all about Laurie. He sent her down a path of obsession and he probably doesn't even know she exists. For Laurie, the night he came home was the most important day of her life. But for Michael, it was Tuesday. As an aside, after looking up and seeing October 31, 1978 actually took place on a Tuesday, I had to use that line.
There's a scene where some kids are playing on a swing set and are completely oblivious to what's going on around them. While Lindsay is desperately trying to get them to leave they brush her off assuming she's like the guy in the white mask who keeps popping out of the woods. I got chills at that moment. Then one of the kids says, "See, there he is." And the camera cuts to show Michael in the distance and it is wonderfully done.
I also liked how they brought back so many characters from Michael's past. Two of them were replaced with different actors, I mean, as much as I love Paul Rudd, he's way too likable for this PTSD version of Tommy Doyle. But I don't think their inclusion had much of a plan other than to have Michael mow down his earlier survivors. The purpose of this movie was body count and not much else, so they used characters you may recognize to feel something for some of the cannon fodder. Finally, I loved Jamie Lee Curtis because she is just all kinds of awesome.
That's it. Those are the only things I liked. Let's start at the beginning, Halloween Kills is one of the worst movie titles I've ever heard, it's just so painfully generic. Moving on a big problem I had with the 2018 version is overkill here. Michael is just too front and center. It's in the trailers but still I rolled my eyes hard when Michael emerges from the burning house like he's The Undertaker, it was just so unbelievably silly. Then it gets even worse. There's about 10 firefighters who know Michael killed two of their brothers. And they all decide to attack Michael one. at. a. time!
One firefighter sprays Michael with the massive hose that seems to have the strength of a garden hose. After Michael makes quick work of that guy, all of them, armed with axes and another with a saw, patiently wait for Michael to murder one of their friends before deciding to help. To make matters worse, Halloween Kills does it twice!
Another massive problem with this movie is I didn't find it scary. In my opinion, what makes Michael such an effective monster is how he stalks his prey. You watch the original and he could be anywhere. There are times where you have a seemingly normal moment but Michael is creeping somewhere in the background. Like, if you're not paying attention you may not even notice it because the movie doesn't draw attention to it. But in this one, you always know where Michael is, always. Sure you don't know his exact location but you know what building he's in. It makes the tense moments less scary because you're not wondering Is Michael in there? You're just waiting for him to pop out of somewhere.
Halloween Kills also relishes in my least horror movie trope. Multiple times in this movie they have Michael dead to rights and instead of doing something to make sure he stays down they leave him alone assuming he won't get back up again. It's so damn annoying and the first time it happens Judy Greer's character Karen does it because it seems like the writers really wanted to get to the next scene but couldn't think of a decent way to get there. I suspect a lot of brainstorming sessions started with, "Wouldn't it be cool if..." And no one would ask any follow up questions before everyone agreed. People could argue why she did it, but it falls apart when you think about it for more than a minute.
Now, let's talk about the ending, and I'll keep it generic enough to avoid spoilers, but we all know there's a third movie coming so it's not a spoiler to say Michael doesn't die. Karen lures Michael to a trap and I have to say, it's actually pretty awesome. Like, I could feel some of the catharsis that these characters were feeling and I loved it, truly. But then they go and ruin it.
We cut to Jamie Lee Curtis waxing poetic about Michael and she just comes to the conclusion somehow that Michael feeds off fear and every time he kills someone he gets stronger, it's why he survives things no person could. Really? That's how you explain Michael? You just have Laurie, who has been wrong about Michael for the past 40 years, all of a sudden explaining that he has Freddy Kreuger's powers except the ability to control dreams? Look, I get people didn't like the Curse of Thorn stuff, but it's better than this. Then when Michael turns the table I wanted to turn the movie off but thankfully I didn't so I could get treated an even worse ending.
There are a lot of things I didn't like, but this is going on a bit long, so let me quickly gloss over some things; anyone holding a gun is an idiot. They all ignore the advantage a gun brings and for starters they make sure they're in grabbing range before they fire, they miss at point blank range, waste all their ammo, don't put a few rounds in Michael while he's on the ground or manage the most annoying death in the entire series. I threw my arms up in frustration at one point because it was so dumb. I also disliked how huge a deal the movie made about the window in Michael's sister's room. Like it is a HUGE part of the movie and they keep going back to it. Finally, Michael is not Jason! Stop trying to make him Jason. Michael Myers is a badass when he's being Michael! Seeing him lay waste to groups and shrug off everything isn't what made the character great.
Finally, Michael is not Jason! Stop trying to make him Jason. Michael Myers is a badass when he's being Michael!
I didn't like this movie, and I have little hope about Halloween Ends. I read an interview with David Gordon Green talking about the final installment and it leaves me less than enthused. It's going to take place four years after this one. So he's going to include the pandemic and what he calls the "peculiar politics." Which, hooray! Because if this is what they do with something as straightforward as Michael Myers, I can NOT wait for their take on the pandemic and the politics of the day.
2.5 Dr. Chainsaws!
In Theaters and Streaming Only on Peacock October 15
In 2018, David Gordon Green’s Halloween, starring icon Jamie Lee Curtis, killed at the box office, earning more than $250 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing chapter in the four-decade franchise and setting a new record for the biggest opening weekend in history for a horror film starring a woman.
And the Halloween night when Michael Myers returned isn’t over yet.
Minutes after Laurie Strode (Curtis), her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) left masked monster Michael Myers caged and burning in Laurie’s basement, Laurie is rushed to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, believing she finally killed her lifelong tormentor.
But when Michael manages to free himself from Laurie’s trap, his ritual bloodbath resumes. As Laurie fights her pain and prepares to defend herself against him, she inspires all of Haddonfield to rise up against their unstoppable monster.
The Strode women join a group of other survivors of Michael’s first rampage who decide to take matters into their own hands, forming a vigilante mob that sets out to hunt Michael down, once and for all.
Evil dies tonight.
Universal Pictures, Miramax, Blumhouse Productions and Trancas International Films present Halloween Kills, co-starring Will Patton as Officer Frank Hawkins, Thomas Mann (Kong: Skull Island) and Anthony Michael Hall (The Dark Knight).
From the returning filmmaking team responsible for the 2018 global phenomenon, Halloween Kills is written by Scott Teems (SundanceTV’s Rectify) and Danny McBride and David Gordon Green based on characters created by John Carpenter and Debra Hill. The film is directed by David Gordon Green and produced by Malek Akkad, Jason Blum and Bill Block. The executive producers are John Carpenter, Jamie Lee Curtis, Danny McBride, David Gordon Green and Ryan Freimann.