Review: Halloween Kills

Halloween Kills

2021 is certainly the year of horror and slasher movies. From Candyman to Maleficent and from more independent ones such as Censor to the upcoming Dashcam. Of course, we can’t forget Halloween Kills, the latest movie from director David Gordon Green. After directing Halloween in 2018, he’s back and brings with him the aspects that made the Halloween franchise so successful. The saga of Laurie Strode and Michael Myers continues in this movie but is Halloween Kills worth killing for?

Halloween Kills
James Jude Courtney as Michael Myers // Credit: Universal Pictures

Michael Myers is back and in more than one way

For many of us, Halloween is the day we dress up, go trick-and-treating and indulge ourselves in special Halloween drinks. However, for the people of Haddonfield, the festive day will always be even darker. It’s the day that reminds everyone of Michael Myers, the murderer who went on a killing spree in 1978 and who’s been killing ever since. His murderous time almost ended when one of his surviving victims Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), caught him in a burning trap. However, he managed to escape. When trying to kill Myers once and for all, Strode, her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) were severely wounded themselves.

While the three of them are rushing to the hospital, Myers keeps doing what he’s good at: Killing every innocent person who crosses his path. After learning that her trap was unsuccessful, Laurie is determined to kill her lifelong tormentor finally. So are the other villagers of Haddonfield. Amongst them are the parents of the victims and even survivors. They’re road to take the matter into their own hands. Will they finally be able to bring this monstrous murderer down for good, or will Myers keep causing destruction, death and a massive bloodbath every Halloween to come?

Halloween Kills
Judy Greer as Karen Nelson // Credit: Universal Pictures

Is the success formula still a hit?

As mentioned before, Green is using the success formula of the previous films. Again, there’s the dark and sinister cinematography (this time provided by Michael Simmonds), many returning A-list stars and the eery extremely recognizable soundtrack from John Carpenter. However, does this successful combination still work after all these years? We’re not 100% sure anymore.

The biggest problem we have with this movie is the storyline. Yes, we understand that a slasher movie is about a killer that goes on a rampage, but if that’s the case, at least you have to make sure that the story during the non-killing moments can still captivate you. There should be a proper balance between the killings and the rest of the storyline. Sadly, that’s not the case in this movie. We get the feeling that this movie goes from one Myers murder straight to another. As a result, you don’t get the chance to process what just happened and to connect with the people. That latter is undoubtedly a shame because you could get such a deeper insight into the feelings of the Strode family and what the survivors go through. The writing team was clearly already thinking of the 2022 sequel while writing this film.

Halloween Kills
James Jude Courtney as Michael Myers // Credit: Universal Pictures

During Halloween Kills, it becomes clear that Curtis (Halloween, Knives Out) is still the queen of the horror movies. While we don’t see much of the Scream Queen in this movie, she again puts on a powerful, bad-ass and captivating performance. Her leading role is being taken over by Judy Greer (Halloween, Ant-Man and the Wasp), who shines extremely bright in this movie as Karen Nelson. It’s harder to connect with Allyson Nelson, daughter of Karen and granddaughter of Laurie. Still unsure whether it’s because of Andi Matichak (Son, Halloween) her performance, her lack of screentime or the wobbly script.

We’re also introduced to adult Tommy Doyle, and he comes in the form of Anthony Michael Hall (Foxcatcher, The Dark Knight). Hall gives an extremely enjoyable, strong and sometimes little exaggerated performance. Even some of the minor characters are well thought of and in particular Big John and Little John. This couple is portrayed beautifully by Scott MacArthur (The Babysitter: Killer Queen, Coldwater) and Michael McDonald (The Happytime Murders, The Heat), who bring laughter, fun and light to this movie.

Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode
Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode // Credit: Universal Pictures

We certainly also don’t have any complaints about the cinematography by Michael Simmonds (Halloween, Nerve). Halloween Kills is an extremely horror treat (or should it be a threat). As an audience, you will certainly feel the fear, the destruction and the darkness of Haddonfield, thanks to the dark, sinister and compelling cinematography. To counterbalance the pitch-black colours, there’s always a light source present. Whether it’s the torches, the police flashlights or the headlights of a car, this dark-light combination is exceptionally well.

While there might be a slight overuse of the mirrors and the ‘knocking on doors’ element, the creative team still succeeds in bringing unique twists to the scenes. If you combine this dark and cleverly done cinematography with a very effective and fear-provoking and an incredible score by Carpenter (all Halloween movies, Ghosts of Mars), you know the film might be worth the watch after all. There’s even a new rendition of the classic Halloween theme song, which will give you chills!

Ready for the next Michael Myers chapter?

Die-hard fans of Halloween and Michael Myers will love Halloween Kills. The movie is certainly a high-quality slasher film because it’s incredibly violent, explicit, and brutal. The dark and sinister cinematography heightens the evil of Michael Myers, the performances are still top-notch, and the music score from Carpenter certainly brings the nostalgic and diabolic vibe to the movie. The question remains whether you’re willing to accept the weak storyline or not?

Halloween Kills is out now in U.K. cinemas.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Also Read: Women In Horror: An Ode to Laurie Strode

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