When David Gordon Green directed the 2018 Halloween sequel to the 1978 classic, he actually managed what many would believe impossible, updating and staying true to what made makes John Carpenter’s original movie so iconic. It is with trepidation that Green tries to do the same again, delivering a sequel to a sequel which should never have worked in the first place.
To his credit, Green tries for something very different and to some extent it pays off. Halloween Kills is set directly after the events of the 2018 movie, literally minutes afterwards, but rather than take us back to the same slasher formula, focusing on the extended Strode family, Green puts the spotlight on the rest of the town and how that is affected by the actions of Michael Myers. This is a logical and very clever step. The first sequel focused on how Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode was affected by the events of the 1979 movie but what of the other survivors? Halloween Kills manages to show what this affect would be and it makes for a much more interesting sequel.
It would have then be easy to fall into the trap of just having Michael Myers stalk and kill the original characters, which include Tommy Doyle, who Laurie was babysitting in the first movie, Lindsey Richards who was also a child in the 1979 original and Marion Chambers who returns as the nurse who was also, almost killed by Myers. Instead, the film makes a statement on mob mentality and vigilante justice. We watch as the town becomes an angry crowd baying for blood, chanting “evil dies tonight” and begins a collision course to inevitable tragedy themselves.
That isn’t to say that this film side-lines Michael Myers though. The Shape is still the focus of the movie and the horror is still at the centre. The kills that Myers delivers are as inventive as ever, if sometimes slightly too elaborate, and the character still delivers a “jump scare” better than most. There are some sequences, some as bloody and brutal as anything producing studio Blumhouse is delivering at the moment while other scenes are played for suspense instead, building to the tension filled but satisfying reveal.
With all the benefits of this fresh approach, it is a shame that Halloween Kills is clearly a set-up for the third in the trilogy, Halloween Ends. It means this film is left feeling like the beginning of a story and never truly satisfies. Slasher movies build to the big climactic, thrilling conclusion but because this film is clearly waiting for the bigger sequel, that finale never emerges. It means the film doesn’t quite satisfy when so much of it is leading to something very impressive.
Overall, Halloween Kills is an ambitious sequel, in the same vein as the 2018 movie which precedes it, but what Green does is deliver a movie with a different focus. This is a film about the mob mentality, the affect of horror on a town and the disaster this can create. Myers is as effective as ever too, with some truly inventive kills and great, tense sequences. You can’t help shaking the feeling that this film is holding back for the third in the planned trilogy and it doesn’t deliver the satisfying conclusion it needs.
Rating – 3.5
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