Duration: 105 min. Classified: R (brutal violence, blasphemy). In theaters and streaming on Peacock
“Halloween Kills” knows why you are here. It’s in the title! On this point, the new film doesn’t disappoint: serial killer Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney), aka The Shape, traces a bloody, twisted trail of murders through poor old Haddonfield, Illinois in this dark sequel to 2018 “Halloween”.
It’s a movie you should see first, as director David Gordon Green picks up where its events left off: Laurie Strode’s (Jamie Lee Curtis) compound ablaze and Myers trapped in the basement. What could possibly go wrong?
“Halloween Kills” flashes between the very first film, in 1978, and the current plot, which takes place in 2018. Their connective tissue is the handful of the inhabitants of Haddonfield who survived the first encounter with the Form, including Laurie and MP Hawkins (Will Patton, and Thomas Mann in flashbacks) and Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall), who as a child was one of Laurie’s guardians. Hall’s Tommy is a keg of red-faced powder under a thin veneer of good old boy charm. Galvanizing the townspeople into a mob to take down Myers, he begins a chorus of “Evil Dies Tonight!” and leads a rampage through the halls of the local hospital – which looks eerily like footage from the Jan.6 uprising on Capitol Hill.
If Green is looking for cultural commentary, he drops that thread pretty quickly – along with his interest in Laurie. Curtis gave a performance reminiscent of Linda Hamilton in the latest installment, her tough and nervous character redeemed as the killer resurfaces. Here she spends much of the film in a hospital bed or writhes on the floor. Her daughter (Judy Greer) and granddaughter (Andi Matichak) are doing more heavy work – and screaming. At least Curtis gets the film’s only light touch, as Laurie stoically shoves an injectable pain reliever into her own butt.
Meanwhile, Michael Myers – once a demented little boy in the body of an imposing man – has transformed into a supervillain. He is virtually impossible to kill, his rubber mask is such a part of him that he seems to register subtle emotions. Being a killing machine kind of takes the tension out of stalking, doesn’t it? Once Michael’s soulless eyes set on a target, the next few minutes are inevitable.
Green doubles down on his stomach as the Shape slices, impales, and makes his way through town. It’s an equal opportunity killer, with victims ranging from teenagers to the elderly. As usual, he returns home, where a gay couple (Michael McDonald and Scott MacArthur) have rejuvenated the place and relish living at the crime scene from a long time ago where young Myers stabbed his sister in dead.
The second films of the trilogies are often the most difficult to achieve. Maybe Green’s final chapter, “Halloween Ends,” will redeem what he’s been doing here, which ultimately feels like very little progress.
Have a thought for the original “Halloween,” whose iconic scares were almost bloodless, fueled by John Carpenter’s brilliant soundtrack and what we thought we spotted in the shadows. Maybe the splatter of blood is inevitable at the end of the franchise, but I’ll always burn a candle for the old school, when throats didn’t need to be plucked out to surgically close levels to make us feel something. thing.