Friday 15 October 2021

Halloween Kills (Movie Review)

Following a year-long delay that was brought about by the ongoing pandemic, Michael Myers returns this Halloween to do what he does best. And with a title as on the nose as Halloween Kills, it is anybody's guess what that is. The film marks the second entry in the current trilogy, after the first one pretty much retconned everything that happened beyond the 1978 classic. But does the new film move the franchise forward in any meaningful way, or is it just another case of more of the same?

Set immediately after the events of the previous movie, we once again find masked killer Michael Myers defying the odds. He somehow manages to escape the carefully-laid-out trap he'd been left in at the end of the 2018 film, as he goes on to continue his killing spree through the small town. Except the townsfolk have had enough. So in a classic case of the hunter becoming the hunted, they form an angry mob in a bid to put an end to his reign of terror. But it quickly becomes clear that they are in over their heads when he proves quite resilient and almost impossible to kill.

Halloween Kills is yet another trudge through an all-too-familiar path. The movie pulls all of the same punches we've seen in previous entries, and it does so without bringing anything new to the table. The result is that the entire thing starts to feel like filler before long, or a stopgap before the inevitable final film in the new trilogy. But even taken into consideration within its own limited playground, the film simply doesn't offer nearly enough thrills or reasons for its existence.

I'd even go one step further and say that it simply lacked any true sense of dread or quality scares, which is what one primarily goes into these movies for. Michael Myers was the same old Michael Myers we've been getting since 1978, with no added depth or dimension to his character. Jamie Lee Curtis was easily the best part of the previous movie, and even she was pretty much underutilized and out of commission for the better part of this one. And none of the other supporting characters were anywhere near as compelling, making it hard to really care when they start to get killed off one by one.

Speaking of which, this is the one area where the movie attempts to raise the bar, the actual kills themselves. And it certainly had its fair share, so gorehounds should be pleased in that regard. Some of those kills border on the edge of comedy though, requiring a level of suspension of disbelief I wasn't expecting to find in a modern-day slasher film. It is hard to take the film seriously, not when it has some of the most cartoonish deaths I've seen outside of the Final Destination series.

Halloween Kills feels like extended setup for Halloween Ends, the third and hopefully final installment of what is clearly an aging franchise. And much like the masked killer at the center of its plot, the whole thing feels rote and stuck in its ways. Anyone hoping for the kind of revitalization we saw in the previous film would be better off tapering those expectations. But for anyone just looking for a half decent slasher film to watch this Halloween, then there is some rudimentary fun to be had with this one.

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