Review: 'Halloween Kills' is a step back for Jamie Lee Curtis' stab-happy horror franchise
"Halloween Kills" is as gruesomely brutal as a Michael Myers night out should be, though the horror sequel loses some of its skull-crushing effectiveness by juggling rampant carnage and social commentary.
While 2018 director David Gordon Greens “Halloween” brought back the slasher franchise in a big way, the series takes a step back with the bloody sequel (★★ ½ out of four; rated R; in theaters and streaming on Peacock Friday). . The previous film showed a second leg between the masked villain Myers and the vengeful, empowered heroine Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), 40 years after John Carpenter's original "Halloween". But by picking up exactly where the last one left off three years ago, “Kills” separates its two main protagonists, and not for the better. It seems like just a filling chapter before another major event, albeit with nasty kills, myth-building, and cool references.
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Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis, left) and daughter Karen (Judy Greer) faltered after their last meeting with Michael Myers in the sequel "Halloween Kills".
The final "Halloween" wiped the series clean as a direct sequel to the first 1978 film, although "Kills" is essentially a replica of "Halloween II" from 1981, when Laurie spent precious time in a hospital to herself to recover from their injuries. She, her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) caught Michael in a fire trap and set out to have Laurie's gnarled stomach wound treated. Michael is of course not so easy to eliminate as the essence of evil. He gets out - and drives into town with a crew of doomed firefighters - and continues to tear a gruesome path through Haddonfield that turns out to be more purposeful than random.
Green's new edition also catches up with local residents like Tommy Doyle (franchise newcomer Anthony Michael Hall), whom Laurie protected as a boy all those years ago. As an adult bat, Tommy swings the city to take up arms against Michael and kill him once and for all ("Evil dies tonight," they sing), although their anger defeats them more than once. Meanwhile, three generations of Strode women struggle with her role in the hospital: Laurie is a fighter, but off duty, Karen wants everyone to stay safe while young Allyson longs to be like her grandma and join the fight .
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Allyson (Andi Matichak, center, with Dylan Arnold and Robert Longstreet) joins the local troupe formed to hunt down Michael Myers in Halloween Kills.
Her plight and an insightful discussion between Laurie and the wounded warrior Deputy Hawkins (Will Patton) explores interesting philosophical subjects, and the film also has a lot to say about the dangers of the mob mentality that feels right now. But jumping between this one and Michael's murder rush makes the whole company seem unfocused, especially when compared to the stubborn, extremely self-confident film from 2018.
Even if her character is sidelined to some extent, Curtis owns this franchise and can show a more vulnerable, revealing aspect here after the empowered warrior struggles through the trauma of the last film. Greer is also impressive, as Karen is worthy of the name Strode, as is Hall, the 1980s comedy star ("The Breakfast Club", "Weird Science") who is the rough heart of this film.
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Masked maniac Michael Myers returns again in "Halloween Kills" to pursue the residents of Haddonfield.
There's an odd breakup considering that Laurie was portrayed as a city outcast in the last film after decades of preparation for Michael's return, while in the new she is toasted as a symbol of Haddonfield's survival spirit. Tommy and the other locals, who meet annually to remember the fateful night of 1978 and now have to repeat it all over again, represent the greater impact of mass tragedy on a community rather than an individual.
When it comes to Michael's deadly gadgets, "Halloween Kills" more than lives up to the title - the big guy is a huge fan of headshots this time around - and casts allusion to previous franchise entries, including the Myers-less Halloween III. : Season of the Witch. "It leaves viewers in a somber place even before the next film," Halloween Ends "(expected next year), even if it's a bumpy, bloody way to get there.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Halloween Kills Review: Jamie Lee Curtis Stands Out in Messy Sequel
In this article:
Anthony Michael Hall
American actor, producer and director
Jamie Lee Curtis
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