Minutes after Laurie Strode, her daughter Karena nd granddaughter Allyson left masked monster Michael Myers caged and burning in Laurie’s basement, Laurie is rushed to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, believing she finally killed her lifelong tormentor. But when Michael manages to free himself from Laurie’s trap, his ritual bloodbath resumes. As Laurie fights her pain and prepares to defend herself against him, she inspires all of Haddonfield to rise up against their unstoppable monster.

Editing: Tim Alverson
John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter, Daniel Davies

Cast:  Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Thomas Mann,Anthony Michael Hall, Kyle Richards, James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle

Director: David Gordon Green
Writers: Scott Teems, Danny McBride, David Gordon Green
Based on Characters by: John Carpenter, Debra Hill
Cinematography: Michael Simmonds

The 2018 film Halloween, a sequel to the 1978 film Halloween and a retcon of all other films in the Halloween franchise, was a big success for Blumhouse productions, grossing over $255 million worldwide and being seen as a return to form for the franchise. Two sequels were soon announced and after much delay due to Covid, we finally have a chance to see what Michael Myers and Laurie Strode will do next. Unfortunately, it’s not a lot.

The film picks up right after the events of the 2018 film. Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis), Karen (Judy Greer) and Allyson (Andi Matichak) are being driven away from Laurie’s burning home, with Michael (James Jude Courtney/Nick Castle) trapped inside. While Laurie is taken into hospital, having been stabbed, Michael manages to escape her trap and continues his night of rampage in Haddonfield. While it appeared that Michael had nowhere to go after being trapped, the explanation for how he survived was quite smart and satisfying.

While Laurie was a prominent figure in the 2018 film, she is sidelined in this film as she recovers from her injuries. Jamie Lee Curtis is left to grumble in a hospital bed, telling anyone and everyone that she needs to kill Michael or theorising Mcihael’s motivations, often staring off into the distance while doing so. While I understand the appeal of picking things up straight, keeping the core character for the franchise separate and in one room for nearly the whole film was not a particularly interesting choice.

Halloween Kills leans even more into legacy sequel territory as a number of characters and actors from the 1978 film return. Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall), Lindsey Wallace (Kyle Richards) and Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens) all reunite at a bar for the 40th anniversary of Michael’s attack, having all survived encounters with him. When the news of the murders from the last film breaks and an emergency alert is sent out, Tommy believes it is Michael on the loose and starts rounding up a mob of Haddonfield residents to him down, believing that there is strength in numbers. It’s an interesting idea, but is undercut when Tommy immediately splits people up into small groups to track down the serial killer and people choose to go after Michael alone *facepalm*.

Halloween Kills – A WDYWW Spoilercast

Hear Radio Watson’s Buddy Watson and Ashley share their thoughts on the film

These returning characters take the place of any new potential victims, but the best additions to the franchise are the couple who now reside in the Myers house, Big John (Scott MacArthur) and Little John (Michael McDonald). The pair were fun to watch every time they showed up, whether they were scaring away teens pulling pranks or searching their house for intruders with a cheese knife. There are a few other characters who return from the first film and a few new ones but none of them have the same impact as the two Johns.

While the 2018 film dealt with the effect trauma has on a victim and their family, this film’s most prominent theme is the danger of mob mentality and misinformation. These ideas are incredibly relevant now, and would have been ahead of their time if the film had been released last year as was originally intended, but the film is so incredibly heavy-handed with them and features some of the most cringy slow-mo sequences you are likely to see this year. The speed in which the phrase “Evil Dies Tonight” catches on may be too real for some.

This entry does a lot to build the character of Deputy Frank Hawkins (Wil Patton), the police officer we briefly met in Halloween 2018. We get a greater idea of why he wanted to see Michael dead in the last film as we flashback several times to Halloween night 1978, right after the events of the original film. A young Frank Hawkins (Thoman Mann) is one of many officers seeking out Michael after his confrontation with Laurie and we get a look at how Michael was initially apprehended. It feels like it is setting building blocks for the next film, Halloween Ends, a running theme for this film. 

It is fitting that it is called Halloween Kills (and we can all be grateful it isn’t the third movie called Halloween II) because there are a lot of them in this film. While a lot of them are violent and incredibly gory, very few are memorable or tension-filled as many expect from this franchise. The scene involving the firefighters is one of a couple of exceptions and is one of the highlights of the film. For the most part, it is just Michael continuing his murder spree with little rhyme or reason, or least with less than usual. 

This film feels like it is treading water, with Laurie barely involved and the story of Michael Myers barely progressing. While there are enough kills that will please moviegoers that just want to see Michael kill people, those seeking the tension of the original film or something more than mindless violence will be disappointed. The film does end with a wide variety of potential roads for the next film to go down. We can only hope that Halloween Ends makes this one feel like an important part of the story instead of just a necessary evil.

Ashley Hobley attended an advance screening of Halloween Kills thanks to Universal Pictures Australia and Five Star Cinemas.