‘Halloween Kills’ Is A Maelstrom Of Mediocre Madness: Review

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Instead of the more grounded approach of its predecessor, Halloween Kills chooses to embrace the ridiculous. Unlike a lot of the over-the-top horror schlock we've been subjected to over the years, the makers of Halloween Kills seem fully aware of the fact that their movie is pretty silly, and so it manages to rampage towards the finish line and provide a fairly enjoyable experience along the way.

Picking up from where 2018’s Halloween left off, Halloween Kills ramps up the bloody mayhem in a ludicrous sequel that favours stabbing over scares as Michael Myers continues to haunt Haddonfield.

★★★✰✰

Ever since John Carpenter’s original slasher hit arrived on screens in 1978, Michael Myers has been an icon of horror cinema. The white mask, boiler suit and kitchen knife combo will forever be ingrained within the bloody ledgers of scary celluloid history. The Halloween film franchise has now seen 12(!) entries, two of them being remakes, showing the serial killer’s magnetic staying power over the years despite the series going through various degrees of critical and commercial success.

The latest offering, Halloween Kills, is a sequel to the 2018 remake, a film that was a distinct return to form for the horror juggernaut. Michael Myers was scary again, Jamie Lee Curtis returned as Myers’ nemesis Laurie Strode and put in a pretty fantastic performance, and the confusing and convoluted mythos created by the numerous sequels was ignored in favour of building upon the solid foundation set by the original film.

Kills picks up directly after the events of 2018’s Halloween, and we see Michael’s rampage continue through the sleepy town of Haddonfield as Laurie comes to realise he may not be as mortal as she’d hoped. The film takes no time to warm up and plunges us straight into a flashback recounting events of that first fateful night in 1978. This is a fun re-introduction to the Halloween world. The grainy footage recalls the original’s low-budget status, and the iconic synthesizer-tinged soundtrack makes a welcome return.

However, this is where Halloween Kills encounters its first major problem: having too many needless characters and subplots. The Laurie-centric narrative from the previous film that focused on the deep psychological harm she’s suffered at the hands of Michael was so crucial to its success. Halloween Kills shifts the focus away from Laurie to the lasting effect he has had on the entire town. In action, this sees the story introduce numerous Haddonfield residents who band together and vow to kill Michael once and for all. We first see this in the opening flashback with a character who has a genuinely interesting connection to the masked killer.


The distinct lack of Laurie, and the over-saturation of everyone else, doesn’t lead to much emotional investment in the story.


But the film begins piling these characters and stories on, creating numerous narrative threads that muddy up the plot and harm the pacing. The most bizarre of these subplots, which involves half the town chasing a mentally ill man through a hospital, culminates in this strange condemnation of mob justice—a point that is wholly reversed mere minutes later when Michael becomes involved again. The distinct lack of Laurie, and the over-saturation of everyone else, doesn’t lead to much emotional investment in the story.

Halloween Kills doesn’t shy away from showing its emblematic baddie, and it actually does all the better because of this. The sections of the film where we follow Michael around killing whoever crosses his path are undoubtedly the most enjoyable. The deaths are satisfying and suitably gory, and the filmmakers manage to find creative ways to capture them onscreen as well. The only problem this throws up is that with all this Michael time, he ceases to be that scary a presence.

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The slaughterous fun doesn’t distract too much from the film’s bonkers plot, laughable dialogue, and at times, aggressively intense editing. But it does just enough to provide a good-looking, enjoyable action-packed slasher film that is frequently entertaining, even if it can be for the wrong reasons. It has a higher body count than most Rambo movies, but it is called Halloween Kills for a reason, right?

The Verdict

Instead of the more grounded approach of its predecessor, Halloween Kills chooses to embrace the ridiculous. Unlike a lot of the over-the-top horror schlock we’ve been subjected to over the years, the makers of Halloween Kills seem fully aware of the fact that their movie is pretty silly, and so it manages to rampage towards the finish line and provide a fairly enjoyable experience along the way.

Words by Cameron Blackshaw


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