The Daily Gamecock

Review: 'Halloween Kills' takes one step forward, but two steps back for legendary horror franchise

<p>Michael Myers returns in "Halloween Kills."&nbsp;</p>
Michael Myers returns in "Halloween Kills." 

Movie: “Halloween Kills”

Release Date: Oct. 16, 2021

Runtime: 1 hour 45 minutes

Genre: Horror

Rating: C+

As the immediate follow up to 2018’s “Halloween,” “Halloween Kills” falls short of its predecessor’s quality and excellence. 

While the previous installment to the legendary franchise wasn’t an instant horror classic like the 1978 original, it still had enough new material, good writing and performances and creative elements to keep viewers engaged; its sequel, however, does not — or, at least, not enough to balance its many shortcomings.

The film picks up immediately after Michael Myers is unintentionally freed from his burning prison the Strode family had sacrificed so much to leave him in. Over the course of the remaining hours of Halloween night, the Strode family, along with the vengeful residents of Haddonfield, work to put a stop to Michael’s bloody rampage for good.

With a cast that consists of the surviving characters from the previous film alongside characters who survived the events of the original film, the plot sounds like an entertaining ride for fans of this classic franchise, on paper. And it partially is.

The performances from all of the actors, old and new, are excellent. Like any slasher film, “Halloween Kills” has plenty of creative and brutal kills that fans of horror should be impressed by.

Unfortunately, the movie is held back by a number of problems; the largest of those being its ending. Without getting into spoilers, the ending is very unsatisfying. This is largely due to its role as the second movie of a confirmed trilogy.

However, other open-ended films give the audience enough to be satisfied while still leaving them with enough questions to pique curiosity, such as “The Empire Strikes Back” or “Avengers: Infinity War." "Halloween Kills" ends abruptly and in a way that leaves you asking, “Wait, that’s it?”

Perhaps, in retrospect, that view might change after “Halloween Ends” is released next year, but for now all we are left with is an underwhelming conclusion.

Aside from that, the movie also is plagued with the characters' stupid decision making. Examples of these decisions include: Unlocking a door to escape only to stand there as Michael walks up to stab you; willingly going into a house alone to hunt Michael; declaring there is safety in numbers only to split up into search groups of two; and many other head-scratching decisions.

Now, it could be argued that characters making dumb decisions is simply a hallmark of most slasher horror films. After all, a reason people watch these kind of movies isn’t to be scared but just to be entertained by the creativity and sometimes unintentional humor of such choices.

Usually, I would agree with such an argument. But here, it feels off. This is largely because of the fact that its predecessor did not have such a problem. In the last movie, the characters were smart and made logical choices, even if their ultimate fate was having a knife run through them.

Another major problem is the side-lining of Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode, who is possibly the most famous "final girl" in all of horror. Laurie’s return in the previous movie as a traumatized, semi-unhinged and gun-toting grandmother was one of the best aspects of the film.

While it was understandable that due to being injured during the climax of the last movie that she wouldn’t be doing too much, she does so little that she could honestly have been written off in a coma the entire movie. She has barely any plot relevance in the movie.

Overall, “Halloween Kills," by no means is a terrible film, but is a sequel that falls flat on its attempt to build upon what came before it.


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