Something, something, Halloween Kills my hope for the next film.
Halloween Kills is director David Gordon Green’s attempt at following up his surprisingly spooky 2018 soft reboot of the franchise. This film is a literal direct continuation of the previous film, down to the minute; Halloween Kills attempts to build on the momentum of its predecessor by acting like its one seamless event. But you can stop right there David Gordan Green, you can’t trick me into believing these films are a seamless story, no matter what costume you’re wearing!
Bluntly put, Halloween Kills is equivalent to that person on the street that gives out stale fruit snacks to children at the door. It’s trying to do the right thing for the community, in fact, it’s trying to make a statement to the community; but instead it sours the mood and acts in contradiction to the spirit of it all. Much like this film’s heinous attempt to make a statement about how mob mentalities can result in not good things. How very poignant…
Obviously, I didn’t like this flick all that much. There was nothing particularly wrong with its presentation or performances – but rather, its structure. Halloween Kills feels utterly confused with itself, like it has no sense of what the next scene needs to be or where the story needs to go – it feels lost, like an unkillable oaf that stares blankly through a window with no plan on where to go next – all it knows is that it needs an excuse to kill, and kill it does. There’s no shortage of gruesome sequences that involve random bystanders or innocent dwellers from being brutally murdered in their own home. For that, I commend it, even if the image of a grandma flying a drone will never be unburnt from my brain. It has fun with its kills, thus leading me to admit that Halloween Kills doesn’t mislead with its title – but rather, it misleads with the expectations folks had. It certainly tricked me into getting a tad excited for it, but it failed to treat me to anything flavourful.
What perhaps works against this film the most is its reliance on the Laurie character (Jamie Lee Curtis); one who largely feels like she’s exhausted all narrative avenues for simply being around. It reminds me greatly of Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) overextended use in the Alien franchise. Giving one the implication that the filmmakers believe this character is somehow a vital piece to making a Halloween film a Halloween film. Laurie’s presence in the first film was largely passable, if not a little forced. Her presence here takes it to another level – spending much of the film’s runtime lying in a hospital bed with nothing to do except murmur ominous lines of dialogue about Michael Myers being “pure evil“. Just, why…?
On a more positive note, the recent resurgence with popular soft reboots of horror franchises come with surprisingly high production values. Halloween Kills fits this category by being well-made on the technical front – using intimate lighting techniques and interesting camera angles. These elements certainly add some weight to the brutal slasher kills and grounds the tone of the film. Despite this, none of the filmmaking on display amplifies the thrill or terror that is clearly trying to be evoked unlike Halloween which used a lot of low and tilted angle shots that added tension to its frame. Michael Simmonds ensures that Halloween Kills maintains the bold and fluid nature of the cinematography that he employed in the previous film.
Halloween Kills successfully establishes a sense of landscape that is grounded in Michael Myers hometown of Haddonfield making it easy to follow the vast amount of characters in this film. The brute kills coming from Myers (and there are a lot!) never feel repetitive due to the film making an interesting use of its surrounding set or environment to add variance to each one. Halloween Kills has three composers working on the score; Daniel Davies, Cody Carpenter and the original Halloween Composer John Carpenter. The trio have developed a score which amps the tension this film is striving towards. Sleek piano pieces, hard rock style guitar and anxiety inducing ticking helps establish the tension of this film. The score is further enhanced when the classic Halloween theme starts to play as you know that Michael Myers is looming around ready to strike.
Look, I won’t act like I didn’t smile at some of those kills. I won’t act like I don’t have a soft spot for that opening title sequence. And I won’t pretend its goofiness is a little bit endearing, BUT… Halloween Kills is plain and simple a dumpster fire. It was confused on what it wanted to be and I was utterly confused watching it. To this day, I feel confused.