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Film Review: “Halloween Kills” Struggles but Still Succeeds

Written by: Matt Patti | October 14th, 2021

Film poster: “Halloween Kills”

Halloween Kills (David Gordon Green, 2021) 2½ out of 4 stars.

Halloween Kills is the latest entry in the long-running Halloween series, following directly in the footsteps of the immensely successful Halloween. That 2018 film was a breath of fresh air in the franchise, severing all ties with any of the other Halloween sequels and becoming its own entity by neglecting the existence of any other film besides the 1978 original. Halloween Kills follows suit, acknowledging only the events of the 1978 and 2018 films. Halloween Kills picks up exactly where 2018’s Halloween left off, and returning are Andi Matichak (Assimilate) as Allyson, Judy Greer (Ant-Man) as Karen, and Jamie Lee Curtis (Knives Out) as the tough-as-nails (and now grandmother) Laurie Strode.

The film begins with a surprise blast-from-the-past and takes us all the way back to Halloween Night 1978. It is here that we see where Michael Myers went after the iconic scene where he is shot out of a window by Dr. Loomis in the original film. It is quite neat to see the untold portion of that night told in this film, with matching aesthetics acting as a tribute to the original classic. Flash-forward to present day and Michael Myers is stuck in a burning house due to Laurie’s master plan to stop him once and for all. Unfortunately for Laurie and her family, the local fire department doesn’t take too kindly to the large blaze in the neighborhood and promptly acts to put out the flames. Unfortunately for those firefighters, they do not realize who Laurie has trapped inside the house. Michael makes an easy escape thanks to the first responders and goes on to continue his night of slaughter. Meanwhile, Laurie and her family are taken to a nearby hospital while survivors of previous Michael Myers attacks band together to stop the madman.

Jamie Lee Curtis in HALLOWEEN KILLS ©Universal Pictures

Halloween Kills feels less like a sequel and more like a director’s cut of 2018’s Halloween. The film takes place literally seconds after the first film ends and doesn’t really establish itself as anything new or separate. Still, the continuity flows seamlessly and the progression is logical. I just wouldn’t be surprised if some folks years from now can’t quite remember which events happened in which specific film. Nonetheless, Halloween Kills succeeds in expanding on the story of the 2018 film.

Halloween Kills continues with the overly gruesome kills of the previous film, managing to be even more gory than its predecessor. The kills aren’t necessarily creative or unique, just very blood-filled and jaw-dropping. Michael Myers is back and more pissed off than ever after Laurie’s actions and it shows as his kills get more and more savage. However, there to oppose him this time are some notable foes from over the years. The biggest pleasant surprise of the film is the introduction of these characters. I won’t say exactly who shows up in this film, but all I’ll say is if you’re a fan of the original 1978 Halloween, you will greatly appreciate the reemergence of some familiar faces.

Michael Myers in HALLOWEEN KILLS ©Universal Pictures

The one aspect of Halloween Kills that does set it apart from the 2018 Halloween, for better or for worse, is the introduction of some compelling themes not typically found in the franchise. These center around the chaos and panic that Michael Myers creates in the town of Haddonfield and how it turns good, ordinary people into monsters themselves that will stop at nothing to finally end Michael Myers’ reign of terror. However, directly competing with that theme is another one that alludes to working together to stop true evil. Both themes are intriguing and thought-provoking, but one should have been chosen and stuck with, as having both in this film confuses the viewer as one cancels out the other.

My other large issue with the film is that it does not feel exactly like a distinct movie on its own. At times, it even feels like filler between the previous film and the next film in the series. 2018’s Halloween is a far better film with more focused themes and an overall better plot, and Halloween Kills rides the coattails of that film’s success. I also question the necessity of Halloween Kills, as I feel like the 2018 Halloween would have been a fitting end to the franchise. However, since Universal is hell-bound to keep the series going, Halloween Kills exists, and is still better than the other Halloween sequels, which these new films are wise to disregard. In the end, filler or not, Halloween Kills will still massively entertain audiences with gruesome kills, classic chills, likeable characters, and themes that, even if they contradict each other, make the viewer take a look at Michael Myers, and the franchise itself, in a whole new light.

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Matt Patti is a Stevenson University alumnus who graduated with a degree in Film & Moving Image, with a concentration in producing and writing and a minor in communication. He has enjoyed voicing his opinions on films since a very young age. Matt has recently moved to the Baltimore area and currently works full-time as a Video Production Assistant. He also enjoys creating short films with Baltimore-area friends to enter into contests as well as purely for the love of the craft.

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