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MOVIES: Halloween Kills - Review

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Halloween Kills succeeds in eliminating all the goodwill that the 2018 reboot had - that was a smart, intelligent take on the Halloween franchise but David Gordon Green runs it into the ground with a rinse-repeat structure that sets the franchise back years - Halloween Kills acts only as a feature-length trailer for Halloween Ends and fails to do anything interesting with the franchise, there are no surprise scares, little in the way of creative kills (most of them heavily spoiled by the film’s aggressive marketing campaign) - and if a horror film's main aim was to shock you then this film does the exact opposite and left me feeling completely bored by the end of its mercifully brief runtime - I turned up 10 minutes early and should have listened to those who warned me that was the perfect time to leave.

Halloween ended on a bold, memorable note – Michael Myers was defeated – the day was won. But of course, Halloween Kills thinks differently – rather than “let it burn” – it, being in question – the Strode family home, a trap set for Michael – firefighters’ storm towards the blaze, not knowing that pure evil awaits for them inside. They, without hesitation - rather than doing the sensible thing of waiting for armed backup – decide to fight Michael after realising the true horror of what they’ve hauled to safety – and it quickly becomes apparent that Michael has some kind of sway over not just Laurie Strode, but the entire town of Haddonfield.

Through flashbacks to the past, we see older versions of survivors from past Michael Myers encounters, and the film even spends a chunk of time wrapped up in creating the mythology that pushed him to where he was now. Realising that the town is under threat when Laurie Strode is pulled into a hospital with her daughter and granddaughter – the town comes to a collective, mob-fuelled conclusion that even the law can’t stop – “evil dies tonight”, Anthony Michael Hall’s Tommy Doyle shouts in a frantic earnest to anyone who will listen. Michael Myers has to go. But with, it seems – the most ill-equipped weapons that the citizens of Haddonfield can muster, and the most ill-equipped people to wield them.

Taking place in the immediate aftermath on the same Halloween night, Halloween Kills spends its time introducing a range of secondary characters that are dispatched mere minutes later – don’t get too attached to anyone – it’s a massive sprawling ensemble and it’s hard to really get invested in why you should care when the film goes out of its way to not only side-line the terrific Jamie Lee Curtis, but in fleshing out this ensemble, robs Judy Greer and Andi Matichak of the memorable moments that they had in the first film. In fact – it doesn’t give Laurie anything to do other than sit in a hospital bed with Will Patton’s Frank Hawkins, who was also injured on the night – and has his own story to tell in the flashback about his role in the creation of the mythology around Michael Myers.

Whilst Halloween tackled PTSD and survivor’s guilt brilliantly, Halloween Kills doesn’t spend enough time doing anything. It’s a short film, coming in at only 105 minutes long – a relief in the age of Dune and No Time To Die’s epic runtimes, but it still feels like 105 minutes too many. The film gives Michael an objective of returning to his childhood home that feels so cheaply put together you just don’t care about why he’s headed there, and it arguably would have been more tense if they’d have kept the action centred on one place, the hospital – where some of the film’s more claustrophobic and tense sequences happen – the threat of mob rule is realised. But instead, we just get this power creep which leads to one of the film’s worst decisions – it feels the need to make Michael more powerful than he already was, and he was plenty destructive already.

In an age where horror slashers are getting increasingly creative - such as the pretty great Fear Street Trilogy, Ready or Not and Freaky, you'd expect a Halloween film to lead the way but instead it's just a franchise on what should be, if it was any other franchise - its last legs. But Halloween is a franchise that’s just about as unkillable as its central antagonist - and whilst there's some potentially interesting ideas about mob violence and Michael turning everyone in the town into monsters, it's explored in the least subtle way possible – it doesn’t know what to do with its own creation except treat it with a blunt-edged sword that never leaves any impact, choosing to be pointlessly cruel without the need for any deaths – or indeed, anything at all - to feel like it matters – in fact, the biggest criticism that I had with Halloween Kills was just how unnecessary it felt – in its desire to achieve relevancy it ends up doing the exact opposite.

Just flat out awful.

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