Nerdlocker Movie Review: Halloween Kills


“The darkest souls are not those which choose to exist within the hell of the abyss, but those which choose to break free from the abyss and move silently among us.” – Dr. Samuel Loomis

If the boogeyman is supposed to create fear and shape legend then in my opinion this version of him isn’t the one to inspire it. To start off I want to say I really enjoy the 2018 Halloween. I felt it captured the spirit of the original film while bringing the story into modern day. It’s the kind of movie, despite the obvious advancements in technology, that can find itself within any era. It has a sort of timeless feel to it. I think this is the perfect setting for this kind of story, where the small town of Haddonfield is every bit as important as the characters that inhabit such a sleepy, dreary place. In Halloween Kills all of this established plot and iconic surroundings is replaced by mindless silliness that just doesn’t feel all that important. Rather than a continuation, Kills feels like a stepping stone from Halloween to Halloween Ends, the final chapter in this David Gordon Green/Danny McBride collaboration trilogy. It never manages to feel significant.

Its lack of gravity is largely due to some decision to alter the ambience established in the first of this new trilogy. The 2018 film featured a darkness about it that felt sinister and dangerous, as it should. In Kills that darkness is replaced by overacting, campy character choices and a serious lack of interesting kills from the hero-villain of our nightmares. He impaled a kid through his chin on a gate in the previous movie. He removed a man’s face and placed a flashlight inside the skin to create a jack-o-lantern effect. He crushed one man’s head with a simple brute force of boot through skull. He felt intimidating and otherworldly. Now, he’s a cartoon. He’s the coyote chasing the roadrunner who falls off cliffs and endures anvils crushing his body only to return unscathed and more over-the-top than ever.

When I heard news of old characters returning for this sequel I was excited. I figured it would be cool to see old faces return in some kind of cameo roles. Cameo being the operative word. Nope. They decided to give these 70’s and 80’s actors full, leading roles holding up the entirety of the movie. Specifically the character of Tommy Doyle played by the really enthusiastic Anthony Michael Hall. I make mention of those decades because that seems to be where the inspiration for their performances stemmed from. Instead of this being a continuation of the Strode family facing their ultimate, literal demon it’s about this ridiculous man, once babysat by Laurie Strode herself, justifying his crazy antics of killing this evil once and for all at the sacrifice of sanity in any form. He’s nuts and his acting is distracting as this horror is supposed to be well, horrifying. He can’t act, I’m sorry. To be fair though, as this movie demonstrates, he’s not the only one. They repeat this nonsense, “Evil dies tonight!” as if it’s their new mantra. They say it so often and in moments that feel so forced and awkward again it’s just a distraction from what I’d rather focus on, which is the Strodes.

Are the Strodes even in the movie? Of course. This time around though I have to be honest they’re more of a supporting role than anything resembling a lead character. Laurie Strode, Jamie Lee Curtis, is in the hospital for about 80% of the movie, half of that believing that Myers is dead in the fire set at the end of the first film. She’s useless in Kills. It’s an absolute waste of a character we all wanted to see battle Michael again. Her granddaughter is present as well but is very much lost in the mix of all the old characters returning for their overblown cameos turned into, for some reason, big leading roles.

Now I don’t know if I was simply jaded by everything happening at a certain point but the lack of believable acting from certain actors seemed to seep into the veins of the first movie’s previous leads and made them comical in moments I assume are supposed to be taken seriously. I couldn’t find that desired feeling of dread that the 2018 movie captured so perfectly. If this is the kind of slasher they wanted the whole time it should have been established in the first film. These movies feel like two entirely different beasts that just happen to feature the same characters. One is genuine and bleak while its sequel is a campy nod to the 80’s mindless slashers that are fun but forgettable.

I really wanted to like this movie. It had every advantage to succeed and it tripped over itself every opportunity given to it. It’s silliness and lack of originality overshadow anything redeeming about it. I didn’t hate HATE this movie I just expected something entirely different. Usually I’m all for being taken on a journey I didn’t expect but in this regard the journey taken this time wasn’t anything I needed to experience.

The legend of Michael Myers is missing from Halloween Kills, his presence and intimidating stature is lost in a muck of campiness that I just can’t forgive. Maybe it’ll grow on me? I’m willing to give it another chance. I’m still excited for the final chapter but to deny this is the weaker of the movies so far is to forget that the first even exists. Before I end this I can’t overlook that despite so much of the Strode family being lost in translation, the mother, Karen Strode, still brings moments of badassery in Kills that asserted her as a great character in the 2018 movie. Of all the Strodes, she shines the brightest in what is an otherwise lackluster sequel.

Rated R For: strong bloody violence throughout, grisly images, language and some drug use
Runtime: 106 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Horror, Crime, Thriller
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Judy Greer
Directed By: David Gordon Green

Out of 10 Nerdskulls
Story: 6.5/ Acting: 5/ Directing: 7/ Visuals: 6
OVERALL: 6.5 Nerdskulls

Buy to Own: No.

Check out the trailer below:

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Chase Gifford

"Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world"-Jean-Luc Godard