Why would anyone want to make a movie that fits into the universe of a timeless classic?
I’ve thought about this a lot over the years, and even after hearing the excitement in producer Jason Blum’s voice when I interviewed him about the last Halloween film, it didn’t make it any clearer for me. Sure, I get that excitement stemmed from the fact that Blum had always dreamt of making a Halloween film, but part of him must have wondered whether it would be worth the comments from the haters out there who were only too ready to troll once the film was released.
To Jason Blum and director David Gordon Green’s credit, the first film is this trilogy was probably the best Halloween film since Halloween H20 and it introduced the fan-base to a more modern and brutal take that was certainly not the remake that so many haters out there were expecting.
Now comes the difficult second child in the trilogy and it is a bit of a double-edged sword. While Green ups and the violence and gore this time around to make it one of the most graphic and gruesome Halloween films, it does suffer from what I call ‘second-film syndrome’ in that the ending of the film is so focussed on setting up things for the third, that it seems to forget that audiences deserve something decent to finish things this time around.
Halloween Kills starts where its predecessor ends. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and her grand-daughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) are being treated in hospital after luring Michael Myers into his fiery trap, however the trap failed and after Myers battles with the first responders, he heads into town once again looking for his nemesis.
In town though, everything has gone crazy. While Officer Hawkins (Will Patton) tries to not only hunt down Myers but restore calm to the town, a group of vigilantes led by Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall) have decided that ‘enough is enough’ and that the only way to end Myer’s murderous rampage is with some old-fashioned mob justice. The result is a catastrophic turn of events where nobody is safe.
There were so many things about Halloween Kills that I loved. Michael Myers vs The First Responders is a classic Halloween moment that is going to be long remembered by fans of the series. It also may well be David Gordon Green’s legacy stamp on the franchise. I also appreciated that instead of just introducing random characters that nobody has ever seen (or cares about) into the battle with Myers, Green has gone back and chosen characters that have appeared in the franchise in the past to re-appear. This not only shows Green’s love of the material that his expanding on, but it also adds something a little special for true fans of the beloved horror franchise.
This decision actually results in one of most memorable moments of the entire franchise as actor Anthony Michael Hall steals the show as Tommy Doyle. Hall’s performance mirrors what the town is going through – the anger, the determination, and the hope that they can finally be rid of Michael Myers once and for all. His performance in Halloween Kills is something that Hall should be incredibly proud of.
I also loved the fact that the events of the film seem to mirror what has happened in recent American history. The vigilante group looking for justice and the mass panic at the hospital seemed to be ripped straight out of newspapers with what happened with the storming of the Capitol Building and some of the recent riots in the US. It is moments like these that make you realise Green has been very capable with bringing this franchise into the modern day, and you can’t help but wonder if he wasn’t making a sneaky comment about modern day American society with some of the scenes depicted throughout the film.
What I didn’t appreciate though, aside from the limp ending, was that Halloween Kills wastes the talents of Jamie Lee Curtis. Although it would have been understandingly unbelievable to have had her fit and spry after the events of the last film, it did feel that she was underutilised by being bed-ridden for majority of the film. They could have easily at least had her character be conscious, sitting, weak, wounded and biting her time in hospital, waiting to be hunted. This could have enhanced the suspense of the film completely.
Overall, Halloween Kills does work as a film though, and within the modern trilogy of the franchise. There are some truly memorable scenes within this instalment that will be forever etched into horror folklore, and the creative kills and extra gore holds this film far above many of the sub-standard horrors out there in the market today. Honestly, bring on the finale. I’m ready.