Evil Dies Tonight in “Halloween Kills”

Written by Hayden Claborn, Writer

James Jude Courtney as The Shape
Michael Myers (aka The Shape) in Halloween Kills, directed by David Gordon Green

In 1978’s Halloween, the masked killer Michael Myers came home and in 2021 he’s still there. Halloween Kills is the third film in the current chronology of the series, which ignores Halloween 2 through Halloween Resurrection including the Rob Zombie remakes as well, and is the follow up to 2018’s legacy sequel which confusingly shares the same title of the John Carpenter original. Not only is director David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express) and writer Billy McBride (Vice Principles) back but also Jamie Lee Curtis as final girl Laurie Strode and plenty of others. 

Judy Greer (Left), Jamie Lee Curtis (Middle), Andi Matichak (Right)
Judy Greer (Left), Jamie Lee Curtis (Middle), Andi Matichak (Right)

In the previous film, Laurie, her daughter Karen (Judy Greer), and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) faced Myers and left him behind in a burning house assuming he was dead, but he isn’t. The opposite in fact, the killer here shows a brutality that is out of place in the series and more akin to Friday the 13th. No more are the days of a simple knife stabbing and little blood. While the original series did get bloodier, it never came close  to this level. A variety of weapons are on display as he wanders the streets of Haddonfield: a hooligan ax, buzzsaw, and a fluorescent lamp. At first these expressions of horror seem like a way to up the ante. But they evolve to show how Michael has lost all humanity, or at least what he had left. 

“Evil dies tonight” is chanted by an angry mob of residents who believe Myers can be destroyed by brute force; a concept we saw in Halloween 4: Return of Michael Myers. They’re no match for the Shape as he ends lives left and right. The theme of violence and how it’s a facet that connects us all, whether we want to incite or prevent it. 

The issue is that Halloween Kills takes way too long to finally reach this point. Much of the first half is the film spinning its wheels and introducing the audience to characters that only exist to die with only occasional neat directorial flourishes; the sequence where Michael dispatches an old couple is the most effective in the first half as the camera takes a more slow approach to revealing certain elements. Instead of showing him killing the husband, the film cleverly makes it out of focus and stays on the wife as her face is in horror. Often in slashers were rooting with the killer but Green gets us intimate with the victim. Outside of this scene, the affair isn’t particularly scary. One can only enjoy our killer sneaking around and stalking his victims so many times. 

What we have on our hands is a fairly uneven while still mostly watchable film with a solid cast, a terrific score from the great John Carpenter, and compelling ideas. You could do much worse this Halloween. 

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