"Halloween Kills" stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Thomas Mann, Anthony Michael Hall, Kyle Richards, Charles Cyphers, Nancy Stephens, Nick Castle, and James Jude Courtney. Released on October 15, 2021, the film has Laurie Strode and her family facing the unexpected return of Michael Myers.
The film is directed by David Gordon Green, who also directed films such as "Undertow", "Pineapple Express", "The Sitter", and "Stronger". It is the twelfth installment in the Halloween franchise. It is also a sequel to the 2018 direct continuation of "Halloween", which David Gordon Green also directed. This son of a gun doesn't know when to stay dead, does he? It's not Halloween without Michael Myers, and this latest installment in the long-running slasher franchise is finally here to prove that theory. After a disappointing amount of sequels and reboots, the classic slasher film series made a miraculous return with the 2018 installment, which wiped the previous follow-ups out of existence. That film served as a welcoming return to the formula that made the 1978 film a terrifying experience. Now, the franchise is once again returning from the dead to continue its killing spree, for better or worse. The only installments I've watched from the "Halloween" series were the 1978 original and the 2018 film, both of which were solid slasher films for different reasons. So you can quickly tell that my interest in the horror franchise wasn't as high as many others. However, that didn't stop me from checking out its latest horror sequel, especially since it's leading up to next year's conclusion. With that in mind, let's see if it has enough kills and frights to continue the franchise.
The film takes place immediately after 2018's "Halloween". Laurie Strode (Curtis), her daughter Karen Nelson (Greer), and her granddaughter Allyson Nelson (Matichak) have defeated Michael Myers (Courtney and Castle) and left him to die in a burning house…or so they thought. When Michael survives the fire and escapes, he continues his bloody rampage in Haddonfield. After hearing about Michael's killing spree, the residents, including the survivors from Laurie's past, band together to end his reign of terror for good. The potential "Halloween" trilogy resembles a horror novel, with "Halloween Kills" being the middle section of the gory story arc. Seeing that it's set after the ending of its previous installment, viewers would need to watch the 2018 film to understand the continuing story of Myers' recent return completely. If you've seen the earlier films in the slasher series, then you'll immediately know what you're getting yourself into regarding the concept. It's about people surviving against or getting murdered by a psychotic and silent serial killer with a mask, which is every slasher film in a nutshell. If you enjoy those installments because of that formula, especially 2018's "Halloween", there's plenty to endure in "Halloween Kills". It offered what audiences wanted out of a "Halloween" film, but it did come with the cost of being conventional. "Halloween Kills" didn't do much to add anything refreshing to the long-running franchise as it resorted to some genre tropes that we've experienced several times before. It also had this "middle chapter" vibe that made the film feel incomplete, which is understandable because it leads up to the upcoming final chapter. Luckily, David Gordon Green maintained the elements that worked in its predecessor to expand its tiring formula's immortality. One of those elements was its themes. "Halloween Kills" continues the representation of fear and trauma and how they affect the characters mentally. Even though the film focused on Michael Myers murdering innocent lives, it never lost sight of the people who were impacted by his actions, including the ones that Laurie babysat 40 years ago, Tommy Doyle (Hall) and Lindsey Wallace (Richards). Its storytelling couldn't capture lightning in the bottle for the second time, possibly due to its tropes. Still, I respect it for providing enough interest in the characters amid the killer's murderous rampage. There were also a couple of moments in the screenplay that may not work for everyone, including Laurie's role and the ending, which I would not spoil if you haven't watched it yet. Fortunately, those moments weren't massive enough to overshadow its entertainment values in the kills and the film's gloomy and realistic nature. Speaking of which, Michael Myers' kills weren't anything too special, but they still contain a healthy amount of realism and fright in the grisly imagery without going too over-the-top with the visuals. What made them even more creepy was Green's handling of the film's tension and its respectable set of jump scares, which freaked me out a couple of times, by the way. The entire cast worked very well together in their respective roles, especially Curtis, who continues to shine as Laurie despite her small role. Judy Greer and Andi Matichak were also solid in their roles as Karen and Allyson, respectively. The main highlight of the cast was Anthony Michael Hall as Tommy Doyle, a character who was previously portrayed by Brian Andrews in the 1978 original. The spotlight focuses a bit more on Tommy rather than Laurie, and Hall made sure that every second in that spotlight counts. Hall nearly perfected the internal pain and anger Tommy has after his encounter with Michael 40 years ago, and it was quite a treat to behold. As for both Courtney and Nick Castle as Michael Myers, all I can say about them is that they still manage to creep me out every single time.
Overall, "Halloween Kills" delivered enough blood and chills to continue the franchise's killing spree. This is another entertaining installment in the iconic horror series despite its lack of fresh ideas, genre tropes, and average screenplay. With its solid cast, Green's direction, and good execution towards the kills and tension, the film is a suitable setup for next year's haunting conclusion. In my eyes, it's a small step down from 2018's "Halloween", but it should satisfy plenty of slasher genre fans regardless.