David Gordan Green delivers the gore in a surprising brutal follow up that misses the heartbeat of its 1978 original….
Lets kick off this review then with a huge spoiler! Michael Myers survived that raging fire started by his nemesis, former babysitter and sister in another life Laurie Strode – SHOCK/HORROR! who had looked as if she had finally put an end to the bogeyman’s reign of terror across Haddonfield.
If you thought that Myers had met his maker and that “Kills” was heading towards a different storyline then you are obviously new to the franchise as this is a guy who once came back from a decapitation so what can a tiny house fire do to stop his murderous rampage?
David Gordan Green’s sequel wastes no time getting back into the action, following the same template as the original Halloween II by being a direct continuation from its previous original film. Cameron (Dylan Arnold) last seen kissing a different girl, much to the annoyance of Laurie’s granddaughter Allison (Andi Matichak) stumbles upon the wounded Officer Hawkins (Will Patton) who utters the words “He must die tonight!”, a piece of dialogue that nearly every character apart from Myers himself will utter throughout the remaining running time that becomes quickly annoying and will no doubt make a great drinking game in the near future.
Its from here that “Kills” sparkles and bodes well for what is to come. The much talked about flashback to the 1978 original is brilliantly crafted and is such a good set-piece that die-hard fans will once again question why hasn’t a director or writer thought of doing a proper Halloween sequel from this timeline? The franchise has been rebooted three times now, once in H20, then with the Rob Zombie efforts and now from Halloween 2018, but no one has ever thought to have a direct continuation from when Dr Loomis (Donald Pleasance) shoots “The Shape” six times and watches his body fall from the balcony only to disappear from the ground he landed on. Yes the original sequel did do this, but why can’t we have a new alternative timeline from that moment, a Halloween set in the early 80’s? In which we are then rid of the baggage of Laurie Strode and the many sequels that has jumbled the story to such disarray?
This flashback while only brief, adds more layers to the original and it serves as a reminder in just how good Carpenter’s 1978 classic was, but sadly we soon back into the world of 2018 and thanks to the ridiculous spoiler heavy trailer from a few months back, we see how Myers actually did survive that fire and we the viewer again witness his rage of brutality as he swings and kills a group of firemen who were only sent to put out the raging inferno.
Fans like myself who were bitterly upset in how Myers was portrayed in the last film will no doubt shed a tear at what they are seeing as once more this Michael is totally different to the 1978 character, with the “bogeyman” no longer hiding in the shadows and building nerve shedding tension as he stalks his prey, this time again just going for the kill, murdering random characters that will no doubt delight the new generation, but ultimately betraying the very blue-print into what made Carpenter’s film so loved and special.
In fact if you replaced Haddonfield for a summer camp and replaced Michael with Jason, then Green has created a pretty bad ass Friday the 13th flick, as the gore and body count fits more into the world of Camp Crystal Lake then a franchise in which its original only had five killings and hardly no blood.
Yes, sadly Halloween Kills becomes a bit of a mess as the story progresses, even though the narrative doesn’t really push itself from the last film, instead just focusing on a man in a mask going around a town, slaughtering anyone who stands in his way. We do have more of connection from 1978 with old characters like Tommy (Anthony Michael Hall) and Lindsey (Kyle Richards) making a welcome return as the now grown up adults, still haunted by the memory of Myers hunting down Laurie as she babysat them as kids.
Even thought Tommy has returned to the franchise before and memorably played by Paul Rudd, here he is the main focal point to whipping up a frenzy within the town, causing the residents to get angry and fightback at this killer who has once more “come home”. To be honest, while the idea is a good one and something Halloween IV offered up, its served up in such a laughable fashion that I began to question if this was supposed to be a running gag and I didn’t get the joke? Why do they congregate in the hospital for a long period while Myers is walking around town is one of many idiotic plot vices that you can only question, but to answer this one, its plainly to give Jamie Lee Curtis some screen time as the iconic character of Laurie takes an annoying backseat for this entry, not even sharing one scene with her former brother.
The character of Lindsey is served much better. Her confrontation with Michael recalls the spirit of Carpenter as it offers genuine tension which will only frustrate more as you wish the rest of story will put the brakes on from the gore and take a breather so we can invest in this night of pure terror.
Am I being harsh? Maybe! There will be many who will adore this entry, who will cherish the carnage on offer and yes, its still a thrill to see this iconic horror legend back on the big screen alongside his stunning music theme that still rocks to this day. There are one or two delightful imaginative kills and a surprise that will melt the heart of every Halloween fan, but all that is lost to the many moments of dumbness by the characters.
If you thought Michael Myers was in a house, would you knock the front door then give a thumbs up and enter as no one answers? If you are a teenager who has witnessed Myers kill a horde of people, would you believe you could stop him all by yourself and willingly go after him? And yes, Loomis did shoot the bogeyman six times and he survived, but how can Myers keep on coming back from the onslaught here? Is he really supernatural? Does he share the same DNA as Jason Voorhees?
Halloween Kills is saved from his tedious cycle by a great final fifteen minutes and offers a bold ending that will no doubt leave you excited for when this chapter comes to a close in Halloween Ends next year and I can see many people putting this entry above many of the sequels of its past.
But for me, hearing and reading that this is an old fashioned slasher flick sums up what many are missing. In that Halloween 1978 was anything but that! A horror classic that relied on character build up and a bogeyman who hid in the shadows, creating unbearable moments that had you clinging on for fear. As this 2018 version of Myers kills off his umpteenth victim, you don’t become scared, you feel a little bit bored and that is the worst feeling you can ever have while watching a Halloween flick….