Review: “Halloween Kills” – HE comes home with a high kill count and chaos

Review: Halloween Kills – HE comes home with a high kill count and chaos

Ben Kaiser, News Editor

As far as slasher films go, I think I prefer “Halloween” over the others.

It always held itself more seriously than Chucky, Freddy, and Jason. Granted, the stories got dumber as they went along, to the point that rapper Busta Rhymes actually took Michael down with his TV Kung Fu moves. I’m not making that up.

“Halloween Kills” is the latest installment of “Halloween” that ignores all of the sequels and only acknowledges the 2018 film and the original 1978 film. This gave a fresh take for the horror icon Michael Myers, now in his 70s, and Laurie Strode, who is now a vindictive alcoholic hermit with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. After the two fought at Strode’s house, Michael survives and kills (like the title says) anyone he comes across.

“Halloween Kills” is directed by David Gordon Green. Green has a wide range of movies. He started with mostly drama and comedies, like “Joe” or “Pineapple Express.” He’s attached to horror now thanks to the “Halloween” reboots, including a third “Halloween” coming next year, a new sequel for “The Exorcist,” and an HBO series based on “Hellraiser.”

“Halloween Kills” brings back Jamie Lee Curtis (original “Halloween”) as survivor Laurie Strode, along with Judy Greer (“Archer”) as Karen, Andi Matichak (“Foxhole”) as Allyson, and Will Patton (“Armageddon”) as Deputy Hawkins; all from the previous “Halloween” film. Anthony Michael Hall (“The Breakfast Club”) plays adult Tommy Doyle, who survived Michael when he was a child back in 1978.

Michael Myers escapes Laurie Strode’s basement trap and immediately goes back to killing, starting with an entire crew of first responders. As Michael makes his way back to Haddonfield, the public see the news reports about his transport escape and earlier killings. Tommy Doyle, who survived Michael’s 1978 attacks as a child, rallies the townspeople into a lynch mob to hunt and kill Michael Myers.

Meanwhile, Strode is recovering at Haddonfield’s hospital with her daughter Karen and her granddaughter Allyson. Dreading that Michael will come to finish them off, Allyson and her boyfriend join the mob to find Michael themselves. Panic and fear bring Tommy’s mob to attack another escaped inmate, mistaken for Michael. Allyson’s group, later joined by her mother, figures out that Michael is making his way back to his old home and plans a trap with Doyle’s lynch mob to put an end to Michael’s killing spree.

This movie has a lot of what slasher horror fans want: lots of killing. I’ve seen a lot of slasher films, and I’m pretty sure this has the most onscreen kills I’ve seen in any of them. I lost count after 25, but I’m positive that the count got up to the thirties. With this and the 2018 reboot, his kill count is easily past 50 alone. That’s a lot of stabbing!

A cool bit of fanservice for old-school fans is bringing several actors from the original 1978 film to replay their characters. Nancy Stephens returns as the nurse Michael attacked when he escaped in the first movie. Kyle Richards returns as the other child who survived Michael’s first attack. Charles Cypher returns as the now-retired sheriff working security for the hospital. But I think the cooler cameo is Nick Castle returning as unmasked Michael Myers, or as they call him in the credits, The Shape. Castle played Michael in the original and is shown as Michael without his mask in the reboot, while younger actors play him for the more demanding scenes. It’s just a cool thing to add for “Halloween” fans. There is an appearance of Donald Pleasance’s Dr. Loomis, and at first, I thought they edited his image over an actor’s face. Instead, they used construction coordinator Tom Jones Jr., who looks almost like Pleasance. Very impressive!

Another fan service that first appeared in the 2018 film is the Trick-or-Treaters wearing the Silver Shamrock masks. The third “Halloween” movie, “Season of the Witch,” had a different story and no Michael Myers. The masks were used as part of this evil plot to sacrifice all the children wearing them during a “Big Giveaway” commercial. The movie was forgotten after they returned the series to be about Michael again. So, it’s a cool callback to see the masks again in a Michael Myers story.

Like any other respected horror movie, the story isn’t well written. After 2018, I was waiting to see how Michael would survive being burned alive in that basement, and what was shown was ridiculously simple. Yeah, I won’t give away the spoiler. It made for a cool intro moment but come on. I had to wait out a pandemic for this.

There is also a scene where the lynch mob comes across a very confused inmate that they think is somehow Michael since he wears the same asylum clothes. He’s short, stocky, balding, mutters a lot for help, and is terrified of people. So naturally, everyone thinks he’s

Michael. It’s playing off that everyone is panicky and jumps to conclusions with the jumpsuit he’s wearing, but, seriously, it’s like comparing Arnold Schwarzenegger to Danny DeVito.

There was also a line from Strode that confused me, something about “he becomes stronger with each person he kills” or something like that. So, what then? Is Michael somehow supernatural now? He’s a 70-something-year-old killing machine but is that where all of this is heading? Not sure if I like where this is heading…

“Halloween Kills” ends with a cliffhanger, which sets up “Halloween Ends” coming out next October. It looks like it’ll be the final showdown between Strode and Michael. Although this wouldn’t be the first time horror series had a ‘final’ film to end the series. “Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare,” “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter,” “Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday,” “Omen III: The Final Conflict,” and “Saw: The Final Chapter;” these killers always find a way back into theaters.

“Halloween Kills” is currently in theaters and is streaming on Peacock.