Review: Halloween Kills

Score:  B+

Director:  David Gordon Green

Cast:  Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Dylan Arnold, Thomas Mann

Running Time:  115 Minutes

Rated:  R

"Every time someone's afraid, the boogyman wins."

Picking up immediately where its predecessor left off, David Gordon Green's Halloween Kills has an abundance of weapons at its fingertips. But instead of playing it safe, the film digs deep with the franchise history, building on the origin story of Halloween night, 1978. Though a bit long and drawn out, the introduction is vital to the film's narrative. Those eager for Curtis' Laurie Strode to grace the screen have to wait some time, but the buildup makes the moment that much sweeter.

Once we return to the present day, our three female survivors traveling to a hospital in the bed of a pickup truck, Green works quickly. Resurrecting our infamous villain from the depths of the burning house, crying foul on Laurie's decades-long plot to rid the world of Michael Myers, the film promptly begins to accumulate a body count.

The hospital, an all too convenient throwback to the original film's now erased sequel, is where Laure spends the remainder of the film. Surgery, recovery, and a few stories and antidotes account for her involvement here as the two younger Strode generations, Judy Greer's Karen and Andi Matichak's Allyson, take the helm. I'm unsure if this marks the beginning of a franchise shift or a narrative evolution. Still, the departure isn't a surprise given the injuries sustained to the original Scream Queen during her previous showdown with her psychotic brother.

Interlaced within hospital scenes, Green works to expand on the world surrounding Laurie and her drama-filled family. Original survivors, long forgotten in our minds, convene at a bar, celebrating their lives as they pay tribute to those who looked evil in the eyes and lived to talk about it. Their inclusion, entirely unexpected, is a bit random, though their positioning within the narrative is unyielding.

Much like 2018's Halloween, which dove into the mental trauma of such a horrific night, Halloween Kills dials into the stigma that encapsulates a town. Haddonfield, known for little outside of the heinous babysitter murders, is desperate for freedom, all but turning on themselves as they see a sliver of hope at the end of a hospital tunnel. Blinded by anger and hatred, they succumb to their emotions, incorporating themselves into the hysteria and inadvertently becoming a branch of the evil they vehemently despise.

All the while, Allyson and a team of ill-equipped vigilantes decide to play detective, set on taking down the man who refuses to die. The anger on display is a bit extreme, especially given the limited events within the storyline. However, it generates countless opportunities for Michael to lay bloodshed. Green never feels obligated to justify the actions of his stalker. Yet even within the randomness, there lies a systematic approach, deepening the complexity of the storytelling.

Halloween Kills is gruesome and brutal. It takes no prisoners as it effectively bleeds real life into the fictitious events surrounding a murderous rampage some 40 years ago. It allows for the story to comfortably fit into our reality, providing a sense of authenticity to the events taking place on the screen, in essence, bringing to life the tale of the boogeyman.

*This film is available in theaters and streaming on Peacock.


About Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis
I owe this hobby/career to the one and only Stephanie Peterman who, while interning at Fox, told me that I had too many opinions and irrelevant information to keep it all bottled up inside. I survived my first rated R film, Alive, at the ripe age of 8, it took me months to grasp the fact that Julia Roberts actually died at the end of Steel Magnolias, and I might be the only person alive who actually enjoyed Sorority Row…for its comedic value of course. While my friends can drink you under the table, I can outwatch you when it comes iconic, yet horrid 80s films like Adventures in Babysitting and Troop Beverly Hills. I have no shame when it comes to what I like, and if you have a problem with that, then we’ll settle it on the racquetball court. I see too many movies to actually win any film trivia contest, so don’t waste your first pick on me. My friends rent movies from my bookcase shelves, and one day I do plan to start charging. I long to live in LA, where my movie obsession will actually help me fit in, but for now I am content with my home in Austin. I prefer indies to blockbusters, Longhorns to Sooners and Halloween to Friday the 13th. I miss the classics, as well as John Ritter, and I hope to one day sit down and interview the amazing Kate Winslet.