Director: David Gordon Green
Writer: Scott Teems, Danny McBride, David Gordon Green (script), John Carpenter, Debra Hill (characters)
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Anthony Michael Hall
Producers: Malek Akkad, Bill Block, Jason Blum
Music: Cody Carpenter, John Carpenter, Daniel Davies
Cinematographer: Michael Simmonds
Editor: Timothy Alverson
Running time: 105mins
What’s the story: When Michael Myers returns to cause more murderous mayhem in Haddonfield, Tommy (Hall) and other townsfolk vow to end the monster. With Laurie Strode (Curtis) recovering in hospital after battling Michael, her granddaughter Allyson (Matichak) joins the fight.
What’s the verdict: David Gordon Green’s 2018 Halloween gave the franchise a 21st century upgrade and introduced a new generation to John Carpenter’s brand of scares. So, why did Green and co-writer and co-exec producer Danny McBride decide to model their sequel on Rob Zombie’s violent, depressing 2007 and 2009 Halloween movies? Were machete blows to the noggin involved?
Make no mistake, Halloween Kills is a disaster. As mean-spirited as Zombie’s instalments, gone is the smart writing, likeable characters, and fun frights of that 2018 sequel-reboot. In their place is a witless plot, overstuffed with rice paper thin characters and boasting zero scares. “Evil dies tonight,” becomes the try-hard mantra shouted by the baying townsfolk. Along with it is any sense of enjoyment… unless you spot the admittedly genius Bob Odenkirk cameo. Chances are you won’t though.
Making the same mistake as Rick Rosenthal’s Halloween II from 1981, this is set over one night directly after the events of Halloween, much of the action occurring in a hospital. But, with no distance from the events of the first film, both that original sequel and this one are trapped in a tired retread of their superior predecessors.
A hectic, unfocussed story sees star Jamie Lee Curtis bafflingly benched for most of the movie, her Laurie recuperating from wounds sustained battling Michael. So, instead of staying with the winning trio of Curtis, Greer and Matichak as three generations of women now targeted by the blank-faced baddie, poorly written new characters clog up the works. Characters that are given too much screen time for the casual way in which they are eventually dispatched.
Anthony Michael Hall does his best as Tommy, the young boy Laurie was babysitting in the 1978 film, grown-up and traumatised. But, the dumb as a bag of hammers script cuts him no breaks.
Audiences craving eighties slasher nostalgia may get a kick out of just how stupid the characters act. The rest of us will sigh into our popcorn, thinking here is a film made in a universe where Scream never happened. Green, McBride and co-writer Scott Teems attempt to graft some Nietzschean pomposity onto the proceedings along the lines of, “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster…” But this is all weightless guff, and undercut by how gleefully they wallow in Michael’s bloody rampage. The prosthetics are convincing, but to what end guys?
The only thing this Halloween kills is any excitement for Halloween Ends.