Halloween Kills – Spoiler Review


Image from Universal Pictures

Michael Myers (Courtney) standing at the top of his stairs in his childhood home, looking down at Allyson (Matichak).

Immediately after setting fire to her cabin and trapping Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) in the basement, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) seek refuge inside the Haddonfield hospital, not knowing Myers escaped their trap. Taking matters into their own hands, the citizens of the town rise up to take down The Shape once and for all. 

Evil didn’t die in this movie, but a lot of Haddonfield, Illinois residents sure did. Going back to the roots of the original 1978 version, “Halloween Kills” is very short on plot development, but pushes the focus towards crazed serial killer Michael Myers wreaking havoc on this small town once again. The simplicity of this concept is why John Carpenter’s “Halloween” is not only my favorite horror film, but one of my favorite movies of all time. However, Carpenter had a much more set-in-stone vision, while director David Gordon Green has troubles with numerous half-baked ideas and sometimes failing with execution, despite me enjoying this film as a whole.

The “Halloween” franchise sequels haven’t set a high bar. Even with the most recent 2018 version, which is arguably the best “Halloween” sequel, each film rarely differs from the last. Taking the hospital setting and angry mob going after Michael Myers subplots, “Halloween Kills” is no more than a decently-made, entertaining combination of “Halloween II” and “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers.” This film fixed nearly everything I felt the predecessor missed. The misplaced comedy from writer Danny McBride is toned down and there is no development following the stupidly short-lived Dr. Sartain twist.

Image from Universal Pictures

The events of the middle portion of the movie do not include much plot development,with Laurie Strode not leaving the hospital throughout the film’s run, prolonging the confrontation with Michael. However, this leaves room for the fan service to ensue, by including numerous original characters and few actors from the 1978 version. Lindsey Wallace (Kyle Richards), Nurse Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens) and Sheriff Leigh Brackett (Charles Cyphers), who now plays a hospital security guard, all have their actor counterparts back. However, these roles are minor, and the majority are there only to be killed off. However small their parts were, I grinned when Brackett said his line from the original when he spooks Laurie, “It’s Halloween, everyone’s entitled to one good scare.” Anthony Michael Hall and Robert Longstreet fill in for Tommy Doyle and Lonnie Elam, and they each have so much fun in these roles. Sadly, both are killed off as well   (many people die in this film if you haven’t read the title already). Hall’s performance and the oddly intense amount of lighting on his face, whether inside or outside, fills this character with the perfect amount of camp. While Longstreet’s “Lonnie” makes the stupidest decision in the film by insisting on taking on The Shape alone in Michael’s childhood home, and as suspected, goes in there to die.

Jamie Lee Curtis’ arc in the previous film was much meatier, while here she is stuck in a hospital room, relating to Officer Hawkins (Will Patton). She also feels very lost once she realizes Michael is alive during the second half of the film. It’s odd how the forty-year-long preparation led to the subpar plan of burning her cabin to the ground with Michael in it, with no backup plan. The story of the generational Strode final girl trio had much more integrity in the previous film. Allyson is now embracing it in this film when she goes with her boyfriend Cameron (Dylan Arnold) – whose chemistry with Allyson has tempered – and his dad Lonnie to hunt Michael down, while  her mom, Karen, spent her life running from it. Karen is also unnecessarily killed by Michael in a mean cliffhanger as the final shot of the film. Regardless, this film feels like its own movie, despite me having little understanding of the plot’s meaning outside of the miniature character arcs.

Image from Universal Pictures

Even though Officer Hawkins seemed pretty dead to me in the previous film, once Dr. Sartain stabbed him in the neck with a penknife, I enjoyed the focus on his character a lot more than I thought I would. Thomas Mann plays him in a flashback to the 1978 film, rewriting the bridge that was “he fell out the window and disappeared into the night” in between the original film and the 1981 sequel. Here it shows Hawkins – who is shown as the first responder that night – chasing Michael through the neighborhood and catching him back in the Myers house. It is also revealed that he is the one that kept Dr. Loomis from executing Myers (not knowing he would break out and kill again forty years later). Of course, his ideals have changed, as evil must die, but I didn’t see how Michael would want to kill Hawkins any more than he would want to kill Laurie. It is not quite specified here, but Laurie and Michael are obviously not siblings in this timeline. Michael’s motivation is not to eliminate his remaining bloodline; his only motivation is to kill again and return to his home. That aside, the entire opening, set in 1978 was absolutely delightful, and impressive with how it had the color grading of a movie made at that time. Donald Pleasance died after the filming of “Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers” in 1995, so obviously he didn’t return as Loomis, but the makeup on the stand-in they used was flawless.

There are a few side characters that are clearly killer bait, but for the time they were alive, I really enjoyed their presence. Big John (Scott MacArthur) and Little John (Michael McDonald) were a gay couple who lived in the Myers house and were aware that was the house they resided in, which was when their fate was sealed. I welcomed the comedic relief these actors provided in their roles. Then, Marcus (Michael Smallwood) and Vanessa (Carmela McNeal), a doctor and nurse who had a single background presence in the previous film, are upgraded to starring roles until they are killed (in ridiculous ways) an hour into the movie. This goes for all of the actors here; some of the dialogue and acting was way too over the top in comparison to how serious they wanted this movie to be taken.

James Jude Courtney has surpassed all other actors as Michael Myers, having the best physicality and movement for the role. He kills people in this movie like it’s nothing. Even when Michael is down on the ground, he gets back up like an indestructible machine. This is something that is probably not going to be explained, but should be. Unlike other plotlines in different timelines in the “Halloween” franchise, Michael isn’t fully embraced to be either an insane man (like in the Rob Zombie remakes) or a pure evil myth (like in the Cult of Thorn trilogy), and that is an explanation that is needed when showing the lengths certain characters go to in an attempt at killing him.

The characters in this movie aren’t the dumbest, but when the Haddonfield mob had The Shape down at the end of the movie, they randomly stopped beating him up. At that point, I can’t say they didn’t have what was coming for them. As we should know, Laurie will likely be the one to kill Michael in next year’s “Halloween Ends,” considering he will be the one to fall in the next film. To feel more poetic, it will more than likely be the two of them going down inside Myer’s childhood home together. In this case, I don’t think Michael would resist going down with his own house, unlike escaping Laurie’s burning cabin at the beginning, massacring a large number of first responders.

Image from Universal Pictures

We’re at a point where I truly do not know where the story will go next. The cliffhanger we leave on makes it so the next movie will have to pick up where this one left off, meaning the new trilogy of movies in this timeline, connecting only to the ’78 version, will all take place over the course of a single day. With the sequel, “Halloween Ends,” hopefully I leave as satisfied as I have been with the two new films in this series. One thing we know is that it is more than likely that this will not be the end of this franchise. The studio will milk as much out of these movies as they can. The 2018 version succeeded, and this film has already impressed at the box office. John Carpenter’s score, as always, was beautiful. “Halloween Kills” passed the test by delivering two hours of entertainment, brutal and wild kills from an unhinged serial killer and compelling arcs from returning characters.


Final Grade: B+