Halloween Kills Review: Uninspired sequel leaves the franchise dead

Halloween Kills Review
The disappointing sequel casts doubt on the future of the franchise. Universal / Blumhouse

It’s hard to go to the cinema these days; they hardly seem to exist.

Instead, we get sections – chapters in sagas that hit on forever. James Bond was waiting for a paramour sent four films earlier. Superheroes rumbling about ‘the Blip’. Eschewed is the challenging process of suspense and release, structuring stories that are worth telling, creating memorable moments. Filmmakers — mostly producers and marketers — are just embarking on the mechanism of pulling the levers to meet the ever-decreasing expectations of the unfortunate people who trudged off to the last installment.


Halloween kills
(.5 / 4 stars)
Directed by: David Gordon Green
Written by: Scott Teems, Danny McBride and David Gordon Green
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Anthony Michael Hall and Will Patton
Runningtime: 105 minutes.


It’s depressing to think about, and even more so to witness. Rarely will you see a more soul-loving empty product of this tragic operation than Halloween kills, a film that so completely sucks the vitality out of John Carpenter’s and Debra Hill’s original vision that one would be tempted to call it a desecration if it did not make it sound more amusing than it actually is.

Like a running sentence that needs punctuation, the new movie, the twelfth in the franchise that started in 1978, starts in very few seconds after the last one, 2018’s Halloween, concluded.

Before we can breathe, the haunted officer Hawkins (Will Patton) bleeds from a stab wound in the neck, some child has his head on a wrought iron spire, and Laurie Strode (series AND Jamie Lee Curtis) continues to rush to the hospital with a wound in the stomach. Michael Myers, meanwhile, has survived being turned on in Laurie’s basement again on the hunt in his old neighborhood. (He will – in the course of the case – similarly survive many gunshots and stab wounds as well as a baseball bat blow and a pitchfork in the back.)

At a local bar, survivors of the original attacks — including a newcomer to the series Anthony Michael Hall, who played the adult version of child Laurie who was babysitting all those years ago — started an informal support group that turns into a bloodthirsty mob. as they get blown away by Michael’s recent violence. In more capable hands, the thought of Myers’ evil could infect a bunch of vengeful citizens (a glass-shattering attack on a local hospital wearing shades of January 6) might have promised; lands in a movie deeply uninterested in ideas of any kind, it gets half-baked.

By having to take care of all this furious action, director David Gordon Green has to drop the suspenseful mood that made the original films so trenchant. As a result, the bland and thematic presentation of the accumulation of a boogie man’s ever-increasing body number is about as frightening as watching a middle-aged weekend warrior check his to-do list at Home Depot. It does not help that the film’s pace is as lumbering and heavy as Myers’ slow, aging offensive lineman’s lollop.

Written by Green, his Pineapple Express collaborator Danny McBride and Scott Teems (2020s) The quarry), the manuscript is a collection of superficial aphorisms about evil that never dies and the nature of terror that appears to have been ripped from a collection of Gothic-themed Dixie cups. No one in the talented cast can overcome the script’s deep emptiness, not even the great Judy Greer, who returns from the last film as Laurie’s daughter. A brilliant artist who is able to lift almost anything she is in, here Greer is performed by the holiday jersey she wears in each scene.

Which brings us to the saving grace in Hollywood Kills, which is currently scheduled to be followed in October next of Halloween ends (we should be so lucky): Jamie Leigh Curtis ‘furious, effortless recording of the screen queen’s survivors’ guilt. She is wonderful in a scene where she injects herself with a painkiller so she can participate in poaching on her stalker.

Otherwise, Curtis is completely wasted and spends most of the case on a hospital gurney recovering from wounds acquired in the last film. Hopefully they will give her time to heal before trotting her out for another round. If the series ” original ‘last girl’ is not at full strength and is able to dominate all scenes, this whole endeavor – drained of its ability to shock, engage or even detest us – has a reason to keep return from the grave.


Observer reviews are regular reviews of new and remarkable cinema.

'Halloween Kills' leaves the franchise cold and dead

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