FoCC Review: Halloween Kills – Trick or Treat?

By Jason Delgado 

I’ve long held a passion for Halloween, both the film series and the holiday. John Carpenter’s masterful direction and iconic score, along with Jamie Lee Curtis’s breakout performance, and the silent stalker creepiness of Michael Myers in a painted-over William Shatner mask made the 1978 indie movie an instant classic. The eleven subsequent sequels have varied wildly in quality, with the first four films being my favorites, along with H20 and Halloween (2018). I liken Halloween (2018) to being The Force Awakens of the Halloween franchise. Hollywood loves to have its cake and eat it too, by essentially remaking a classic while continuing the story forward at the same time. By no coincidence, there are many similar scenes and characters between Halloween 1978 and 2018. 

Despite being a remake, I still enjoyed the 2018 version because it brought just enough new creepiness (such as the early scene with the howling inmates and Myers chained up outdoors), while Jamie Lee Curtis continues to kick butt forty years later as Laurie Strode, a Sarah-Connor-like gun-toting trauma survivor.

This brings us to Halloween Kills, which abandons everything that made the 2018 version successful. It’s like the Sam Raimi Spider-Man 3 of Halloween movies, (although I enjoyed Spidey 3 much more than this film, honestly), in that it tries to cram too much in. There are backstories galore, which add nothing to the story, except to introduce more characters about whom I couldn’t care less. 

The script, acting, and overall film feel like a train wreck of a bad movie (and not in a good Halloween 3 way), which is quite odd, considering the movie uses the same writing team (hilarious comedic actor Danny McBride and David Gordon Green, who also directed both films) from 2018. 

In Halloween Kills, gone is the subtle creepiness of Michael Myers walking freely on Halloween night amongst the children trick ‘r treating, a stark visual reminder in the 2018 film of evil walking amongst us. There are some inventive kills in this one, but the feeling of tension and scares are mainly MIA.

Another element missing in this movie is the morality rules outlined in Scream, which Carpenter’s film seemingly followed (except for Strode smoking marijuana). The character of Randy in Scream states, “You can never have sex, you can never drink or do drugs, and never (ever, under any circumstances) say “I’ll be right back”.” These sins were all punishable by death in the original Halloween. In Halloween Kills, there’s no rhyme or reason, with “good” characters getting killed left and right for no purpose at all. This meant that the movie simply isn’t as fun, and all for some Salem Witch trials-like reasoning of morality hidden in the dark recesses of our brains, which makes sin-based killing in horror movies seem acceptable, possibly due to our Puritanical roots. There’s also a lot of cringe-worthy decision-making by the characters, sometimes leading to consequences, and sometimes not.

Director David Gordon Green said on the Joe Bob Briggs’ Last Drive-In show that he thinks of Michael Myers as a land version of the shark from Jaws, murdering everyone who gets in his path, as opposed to being obsessed with killing Laurie Strode. I feel that this is a fundamental flaw with the film. Past Halloween movies have focused on Myers being fixated on killing Strode, while we the audience identify with Laurie, making his supernatural will to kill her so terrifying. I didn’t identify or sympathize with the many random people who got in Myers’ path during this film.

It’s always a treat to see Jamie Lee Curtis commanding the silver screen, but sadly there wasn’t enough of her in Halloween Kills. I also enjoyed seeing 80’s icon Anthony Michael Hall (The Breakfast Club) back on the big screen. The highlight of the movie for me was seeing a Halloween 3 nod, which tells you how little I enjoyed the film overall.

I give Halloween Kills two out of five hot sauce packets. It was more tricks than treats for my taste.

Jason Delgado

Jason is a CSULB film school alum and movie guy for Friends of Comic Con. He loves movies, TV, writing, comics, going to Cons, basketball (Lakers), music (all forms of rock + 90's hip hop), football (Chargers), his dog, and most importantly wife and newborn son. He's written a comedy/sci-fi script, and wants to write more in between raising a son. He doesn't often cosplay, but when he does, it's as Iron Fist. Follow him on Twitter @JasonDelgado78

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