‘Halloween Kills’ (2021) Review

As the Strode women recover from their injuries, Michael Myers escapes from the blazing inferno in Laurie’s basement, leaving a vicious trail of bloodshed behind. Untrusting of the authorities, Tommy Doyle leads a vigilante mob to end Michael’s reign of terror once and for all.

Halloween Kills picks up immediately from where the last film left off before splitting into a hybrid narrative that follows Michael, the Strodes and the surviving trio of the original (Tommy, Lindsey and Marion). The lynch mob comes out in full, wielding pitchforks and baseball bats, reiterating “Evil dies tonight!” Only, evil will have to wait until the third and final instalment because this threat is as empty as Michael’s blackened soul.

There are acute problems with pacing as David Gordon Green merges flashbacks from Halloween night 1978 with present day. For the first half, several characters serve as expositional resources. The sequel feels tied to the original whilst trying to establish independency outside of the classic slasher flick. Turning into a thriller with the occasional brutal slaying from Myers, the story is fairly monotonous compared to the 2018 adaptation.

Michael’s knack for violence is significantly amped up in this film. Every kill is borderline sadistic. Although suspense is kept to a minimum, Green provides more than enough entertainment using creative and distinctive methods of torture. One sequence in particular – involving a parked car – cleverly plays out in the masked murderer’s favour. When Michael gets going, there’s simply no stopping him, which further fuels the fear of this indestructible force.

Nostalgia for the original is heavily present. Whether it be Donald Pleasence’s brief appearance or the return of Kyle Richards’ Lindsey Wallace, Nancy Stephens’ Marion Chambers and Charles Cyphers’ Sheriff Brackett. Seeing the three reprise their roles is a powerful highlight, depicting the ways in which Michael’s killing spree changed and intertwined their lives. Franchise newcomer, Anthony Michael Hall, gives a strong performance as Tommy Doyle, captivated by an urge to destroy evil.

However, Jamie Lee Curtis becomes a secondary character in her own movie as Laurie recovers in hospital. Technically without a singular lead, the movie struggles to maintain its focus. All evidence would suggest that this is Michael’s story as much as it is Laurie’s if not more. Much like the 1981 sequel, Curtis’ absence is difficult to ignore. The anticipation of another showdown between Strode and Myers is at an all-time high only to be strung up and left to dry for another day.

As far as horror flicks go, Halloween Kills is an enjoyably brutal kill-fest that includes Michael Myers’ highest kill count to date. In terms of story progression, there’s a moderate chunk missing that may not appease fans of the film series. The tone is indistinguishable, chopping between comical and serious but bodes well for the most part. In the words of Tommy Doyle; “evil dies tonight,” or maybe in 2022 with Halloween Ends.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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