Halloween 2021 (the real-life holiday) was in sore need of good, spooky jolt of fantasy entertainment (to make us forget the real life horrors of the year). Turns out that following the Facebook posts of a local guy wandering my suburb dressed as Michael Myers turned out to be way more fun than this tired, excessively mean and slasher-y reboot sequel.
Picking up right where the 2018 reboot Halloween ended, Michael Myers is left burning alive in the bunker-like home of Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). Laurie, a grandmother-slash-Rambo-like-non-victim, has spent her life trying to deal with the PTSD of being attacked by Myers in the 70s and seeing her friends being slaughtered by this seemingly soulless man with a mask. Well, if you didn’t figure it out at some point during this whole series that “soulless” kind of equals “no longer human” and “you know he may even be the devil himself,” well, you might be the only one surprised to see Michael Myers walk right out of that burning house and proceed to slaughter all of the firefighters in horrifically brutal ways. Because nothing says entertainment these days like seeing the mass murder of first responders. Yeeeesssssshhhh.
That sets the tone for Halloween Kills. If you think that John Carpenter’s original film from 1978 was a master class in spine-tingling horror with a handful of murders, well, you are right. This movie is not that. As the townspeople, led by Anthony Michael Hall, get wind that Myers is still out and about (after all, many of these adults were around as children when Myers committed his original killing spree), it may as well be torches and pitchforks as they try to hunt him down, once and for all.
Much of the action ends up at the town’s hospital, where a rage-fueled vigilante mob, amped up on bad information, converges upon the first possible-Myers suspect. If this moment were done with some style and flair, it may have been a squeamish commentary on modern social media’s ability to lead people astray with click-bait demons. But instead, the whole thing makes you feel kind of awful.
If body count is what you are after, Halloween Kills is top of the charts. If you like to see senior citizens killed brutally in front of their loved ones, well, you’ll find that here, too. If you like to see poor Laurie Strode try to be the smartest on in the room while severely wounded and hopped-up on drugs (shouldn’t she be unconscious?), well, that is movie magic for you. But it is humorless, super-bloody, and full of stupid actions that are so dumb you don’t even bother hollering at the screen.
If that kind of slasher-horror is your style, Halloween Kills promises that Myers’ story is not done yet. If this is the kind of horror film you like, apparently it is merely the second film in the reboot trilogy. Here’s my popcorn. Have fun with the next one. I’m outta here.
The 4K Ulta, Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital editions all contain a Gag Reel, Deleted/Extended Scenes, Feature Commentary, and a Kill Count. The featurettes “Haddonfield’s Open Wounds”, “Strode Family Values”, “The Power of Fear”, and “1978 Transformation” all examine the through lines that run from the original 1978 film to Halloween Kills. Though decidedly a slasher film, and a bit messy at times, great care was taken to weave in original characters and to examine how Michael Myers has shaped them both individually and collectively. “The Kill Team” featurette embraces the lighter side of crafting a horror film – staging memorable kills that are over the top without being disrespectful.