Combustible Celluloid
With: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Thomas Mann, Anthony Michael Hall, Jim Cummings, Dylan Arnold, Robert Longstreet, Robert Longstreet, Scott MacArthur, Michael McDonald, Kyle Richards, Nancy Stephens, Michael Smallwood, Carmela McNeal, Omar J. Dorsey
Written by: Scott Teems, Danny McBride, David Gordon Green
Directed by: David Gordon Green
MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence throughout, grisly images, language and some drug use
Running Time: 106
Date: 10/15/2021

Halloween Kills (2021)

2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Following his successful, inspired Halloween reboot, director David Gordon Green's sequel Halloween Kills is its opposite: an unshaped, overwrought cacophony of shouting and dozens of tiresomely brutal killings.

The story picks up just moments after it left off in Green's previous film. An injured Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) ride away from her burning stronghold, with Michael Myers trapped inside; Laurie goes for surgery for her wounds. Meanwhile, Allyson's boyfriend Cameron (Dylan Arnold) finds officer Hawkins (Will Patton) and gets him to the hospital.

Unfortunately, firefighters inadvertently free the killer, and become his next victims. Then, in a bar, Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall), who survived Michael's attacks in 1978, riles up other residents of Haddonfield with stories of Michael Myers, and begins forming an angry mob. Can Michael be stopped at last?

Green seems to have been inspired by the events of the original Halloween II (1981), which takes place late at night the same Halloween night, and largely in a hospital, where Laurie is being treated, and where Michael Myers is heading. While that movie tried to re-create the feel of the original (and partly succeeded, thanks to John Carpenter's help as co-writer, co-producer, co-composer, and possible uncredited co-director), Green goes for an even more chaotic look and feel for Halloween Kills.

Rather than an eerily empty, after-hours hospital, Green's hospital is filled with caterwauling, writhing, stacked-up bodies that must climb over one another to reach the exits. The angry mob rises unreasonably quickly, so much so that it inspires less sad, weary understanding than it does aggravation, and the rage-chanting ("Evil dies tonight!") becomes meaningless in the absence of any real character. (Some of the original actors, survivors of the 1978 movie, reprise their characters here, forty-three years later, but the movie does little more with them than simply to point them out.)

But it's the killings that bring this one down. Rather than a few, well-placed, suspense-building murders, this one lays them on one after another, in the dozens, almost constantly for 105 minutes, with little variation except for some occasional eye-gouging or head-twisting, and with little to care about. Moreover, the movie seems to have gone out of its way to include a diverse cast filled with Black and LGBTQ+ characters, only to brutally murder them. This is less a movie called Halloween Kills and more a movie that has likely killed Halloween.

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