Review: ‘Halloween Kills’ is more of the same old blood splatter

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Michael Myers kills people, and he kills them on Halloween. It’s about the latest “Halloween Kills” in this long-running horror franchise, which has to offer in terms of character development and plot. A repetitive, blood-soaked slogan, “Halloween Kills” features some simply gross moments, but is otherwise more mind-numbing than hair-raising.

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About ‘Halloween Kills’: Long On Gore But Short On Suspense

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2018’s “Halloween” was a surprisingly effective reboot and recon of the franchise that launched 40 years ago with the film of the same name, also starring Jamie Lee Curtis. The new “Halloween” creative team of David Gordon Green, Jeff Fradley, and Danny McBride Redefined the character’s backstory with the iconic mask and deadly knife and produced a series of absolutely terrifying and terrifying images. Michael Myers dropping a handful of pulled teeth? Curtis’s Laurie Strode planning to set her decades-old agony on fire? Dirty thing!

“Halloween Kills,” which reunites Greene and McBride, but co-writers with Scott Thames replaces Fradley, should have been more of the same. But assumptions, well, they don’t always pay off. The green lens remains increasingly effective at capturing crisp images: a body propped through a fence post, a reflection in a window, a bloody monster mask left at the intersection of a playground. The gore without the suspense isn’t really impressing that much, though.

Michael Myers (aka The Shape) in Halloween Kills, directed by David Gordon Green.

Aside from a scene in which Myers works through each knife on a magnetic rack while the body is stabbed to bits, there’s not much that’s immediately mythical or nightmare about this version of the killer being shaped as also known. And while there are some fun elements, like Big John (Scott MacArthur) and Little John (Michael McDonald) The couple who head off with a bunch of brutal pranksters hint at the film’s atmospheric anomalies.

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Is “Halloween Kills” a verbal satire? Is this a comment on the failures of community policing? Is this an attack on nostalgia? Is this a critique of cautious justice? “Halloween Kills” alludes to that, but doesn’t really commit to any one thing. The movie is easy enough to watch, but after a while, “Halloween Kills” has a pervasive feeling that it’s there, done. Michael Myers can’t be stopped, and Haydenfield’s police force is totally unprepared — well, what else’s new?

“Halloween Kills” Needs More Laurie Strode

Particularly disappointing is Curtis’s sidelined Laurie, which would probably have been permissible if the franchise had been making room for daughter Karen (Judy Greer) or granddaughter Alison (Andy Matichaki) Instead, “Halloween Kills” devotes a significant amount of time and attention to the other (mostly male) characters in the 1978 film, especially Officer Hawkins (played by). Will Patton In 2018’s “Halloween”, and in a ’70s timeline by here Thomas Mannu), Laurie’s former babysitting client Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall), and the nearly afflicted Lonnie alum (robert longstreet)

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(From left) Halloween Kills, directed by David Gordon Green, stars Karen (Judy Greer), Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Alison (Andy Matichak).

Perhaps all things with Officer Hawkins, Tommy, and Lonnie were all for giant worldbuilding, which made Heddenfield all the more real. But it results in a split movie.

In a narrative track, “Halloween Kills” begins shortly after 2018’s “Halloween”, in which Laurie, Karen, and Alison rapidly rush to the hospital and away from the house in which they trapped Michael and set him on fire. But when Michael escapes from a locked dungeon and murders every one of the dozen or so firefighters who arrive at the scene, he descends on Haddenfield, and goes door to door and kills to kill.

Tommy and Lonnie, whose lives have been shaped by fears instilled by Myers decades ago, decide to take up arms. “Evil dies tonight!” Tommy yells at his fellow citizens to persuade him to stand by, and Heddenfield becomes a vengeance-obsessed mob, regardless of who they hurt. Meanwhile, in a second narrative track, Officer Hawkins mentally revisits the 1978 night in which he could have killed Michael Myers and stopped all this bloodshed before it even started. Did he make the wrong choice then? What inspired Shape then, and what inspires him now?

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The answers to those questions aren’t really there, and “Halloween Kills” can’t decide where to put its attention. Moving away from the inspiring energy of the Strode family’s desire for karmic justice and toward a city-wide Michael Myers frenzy, the film never convinces us of its tonal shift. More than anything, “Halloween Kills” feels like a placeholder in the middle of Greene’s proposed trilogy, and it’s hard to shake that running-water sensibility.

106 minutes. Rated R. In theaters and streaming on Paramount+ October 15. Dir: David Gordon Green. Featuring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andy Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Will Patton, Anthony Michael Hall, Kyle Richards.

About the Author: Roxana Haddi is a film, television and pop culture critic. She is a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association, Alliance of Women Film Journalists and Online Film Critics Society, and is a Tomatometer-approved top critic on Rotten Tomatoes.

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