REVIEW: ‘Halloween Kills’ crushes momentum from 2018 installment

Lightning struck in 2018, with that year’s “Halloween” feature, as it was a return to form for the long-running franchise.

Unfortunately, it appears to have been just a lightning in a bottle scenario.

The movie picks up just minutes after the end of the 2018 picture. Despite the efforts of Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her family, the killer Michael Myers survived the trap set for him and is back on the loose.

As Myers emerges from the fire started in the first picture, reports of his actions begin spreading throughout the town. Many of those who learn of Michael’s actions had run ins with the killer when he first attacked in 1978. Intending to bring an end to Myers, they decide to take the law into their own hands, causing even more chaos in the city of Haddonfield.

“Halloween Kills” brings some interesting ideas to the table, but the execution is completely messy. There’s a sense of aimlessness in this installment, where it feels more like a disjointed group of scenes rather than a coherent feature building to something.

Instead of keeping the film more streamlined, with a focus on the Strode family like the previous picture did, “Kills” branches out far too much by following several other characters who were impacted in the 1978 flick. It ends up being too much for the film, which collapses with all of these story threads.

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Courtesy Universal Pictures.

The end result is a lot of characters with not much time to be developed getting offed here and there, with very little focus on Laurie who remains the main draw because of Curtis. The way the movie goes about its tone when it comes to what happens to the characters is another flaw.

Each time these characters have a run in with Myers, it feels like it’s from a different movie. At times it seems to be going for a more serious, brutal approach, while others seem like a schlocky slasher.

Where the film really loses its way is the second act. There’s a moment where mob anger regarding the killings boils over at the Haddonfield hospital, and it turns into a low point for the franchise.

It’s so over the top, especially when the citizens come up with a chant, where it borders on parody. There’s zero subtlety, which torpedoes the film’s attempt to make any sort of commentary about “mob mentalities.”

HalloweenMyers

It’s also disappointing to see the way the film handles its characters overall. Laurie is completely sidelined, while her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) make some dumb decisions.

It’s frustrating to see those two characters not utilized well considering the film keeps Laurie in a hospital room most of the movie. It would have been a good opportunity for them to step up. The issues aren’t limited to Karen and Allyson, though, as the script lets down all of the characters with some awful dialogue.

Even as just a horror film to pass some time during October, “Halloween Kills” isn’t all that great. The film never properly builds up good tension or suspense.

There’s’ a feeling the film is relying too much on what happened in the previous film. The 2018 picture did the leg work in creating a solid, scary atmosphere, and this flick just tries to coast on that film’s success.

The movie has a couple of good kills, but this “Halloween” film falters in so many ways. After an hour and 46 minutes, one wishes the 2018 “Halloween” had just been a single installment. 1 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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