Review – Will You Just DIE Already? (“Halloween Kills”)

Seriously, can’t anything kill Michael Myers? If you follow the Halloween movie franchise (the twelfth film since 1978!), this hulking monster has been shot, stabbed, blown-up, set on fire, run over, electrocuted, and beaten to death, but he always manages to survive. What? Is he part of the MCU?

Picking up from the same night of the 2018 movie (see review below), the ever freaked-out Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) her daughter, Karen (Judy Greer), and granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak), have narrowly escaped death. Laurie, having cleverly laid a trap for Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) in her ‘safe house’, blew the place up with Michael locked in the basement. LOL! Oh, Laurie, you silly girl! How many times do we have to tell you. . . ya can’t kill evil! But before we find out what up with Laurie and her family, we first harken back to 1978 and the POV of the cops tracking down Michael after his first murder spree, and the traumatic events of officer Frank Hawkins (Thomas Mann).

Back in 2018, some locals at Mick’s Bar reminisce about Michael, thanks to Tommy (Anthony Michael Hall) who was there that night 40 years ago (actually it was played by Brian Andrews), as he introduces everyone there to the other survivors: Lindsey Wallace (Kyle Richards from the 1978 movie), Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens, also from the first movie) and Lonnie Elam (Robert Longstreet, but Brent LePage played him in original). We also meet husband and wife, Vanessa & Marcus (Carmela McNeal & Michael Smallwood). $20 says none of them make it to the end of the film! Anyway, as Laurie is wheeled into Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, Michael has (no, duh!) escaped from the burning cellar and is back doing what he does best. . . murdering!

Well, once word gets out that Voldemort, I mean, Michael is back, all hell breaks loose and Tommy leads a huge vigilante mob using his mantra of, “Evil dies tonight!” which is repeated ad nauseam. Things get dicey when Tommy, all fired up and thirsty for blood, turns the hospital into The Ox-Bow Incident, which has disastrous consequences. Meanwhile, Michael is going about slicing and dicing the good citizens of Haddonfield, including some nice elderly people and a comic-relief gay couple, who happen to live in the old Myers home, which turned out to be a really bad real estate choice! 

As the body count escalates, Karen decides to take up her mom’s mantle and go after Michael, along with Tommy. The movie, which could have been a finale for this franchise, just winds up being an hour and 45min commercial for part three, due out in 2022 (it’s called Halloween Ends, btw). Frankly, it seems the only reason these Halloween movies even exist is for the writers to come up with wild, creative, and imaginative ways for Michael to off his victims. Other than that, the formula is exactly the same without much deviation: Michael escapes, he kills alot, people try to kill him but can’t because they do really stupid things, he doesn’t die, repeat. Yawn. It’s the same with Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger; they can never be killed for good.

At least screenwriters Scott Teems (That Evening Sun), actor Danny McBride, and director David Gordon Green (2018’s Halloween) have paid nice homage to the original 1978 movie (and even a nod to Halloween III: Season of the Witch) with some clever CGI effects, like bringing back Dr. Loomis (the late Donald Pleasance). There’s also many Easter Eggs and some original actors returning from John Carpenter’s classic film. Gotta give them points for that. It’s also odd that Laurie never even meets Michael in this film, which was unusual for a Halloween sequel. Oh well, maybe she’ll get to decapitate him in part three? Just an idea.

**Now showing in theaters and streaming on Peacock

Halloween (2018) 

Okay, try to follow me on this one. . . this movie is the 11th in the movie’s franchise, yet it’s supposed to be a direct sequel to the original 1978 film, having NO ties whatsoever to any of the other movies, even the ones where Jamie Lee Curtis starred as Laurie Stroud, the killer’s sister! Confused? Yeah, so am I.

This means even though Laurie decapitated Michael Myers in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later and she herself was killed by Michael in Halloween: Resurrection, that stuff NEVER happened! And let’s not even talk about those Rob Zombie reboots! This movie is taking it back all the way to the beginning and setting it in an ‘alternate time-line reality’, ignoring all the other franchise movies. So, in this unofficial ‘sequel’ (ignoring the one in 1981), we have Laurie Stroud (Curtis) picking up 40 years later after the homicidal knife-wielding Michael Myers (Nick Castle & James Jude Courtney) killed a bunch of people and was locked away for good. Yeah. Right.

One thing about ANY horror movie plot is. . . nobody is ever ‘locked away for good’, right? So this ‘sequel’ starts when two podcast reporters (Jefferson Hall & Riahan Rees) want to get the dirt on Michael Myers, some 40 years after his murderous rampage in Haddonfield, Illinois. But after his non-verbal interview goes nowhere, they seek out Laurie Strode who, not only is still severely traumatized after all these decades, but lives in her own private fortress of survival solitude, complete with WMD’s and a panic cellar.

It’s October 30th and quicker than you can say, “plot device”, Michael is going to be transported to another facility after 45 years. Why? Well, they needed something to jump-start the movie, didn’t they? Predictably, that transport never reaches its destination and Michael is on the loose again and headed for. . . gee, guess where. Yeah, it’s Halloween night and Michael, after donning his signature onesie and old weathered mask, goes on another killing spree, much to the expected horror of Laurie. She even tries to warn her estranged daughter Karen (Judy Greer), Karen’s doofus husband Ray (Toby Huss), and strong-willed teenage granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak).

But given grandma’s history of lunacy, nobody believes Laurie–that is until Michael comes to town and the body count starts to climb. Police officer Frank Hawkins (Will Patton) and Laurie team up, thanks to the advice of Michael’s intense doctor, Dr. Ranbir Sartain (Haluk Bilginer). Laurie and Will track ‘the boogeyman’ down until the ending, which has the inevitable final (??) confrontation that may (or may not) be the end of Michael Myers. C’mon, you know it isn’t!    

Personally, after sitting through the entire Halloween franchise (including those Rob Zombie reboots), I am SO burned out. Jeepers, they’re all the same plot! Michael gets loose, kills a bunch of people, and then gets killed (but not really). Rinse, lather, repeat. And sadly, this one is no different from all the others. If you’ve seen ANY of the other Halloween films (expect part three), you already know what to expect. Screenwriters Jeff Fradley, Danny McBride, and director David Gordon Green pay homage, that’s for sure, but it’s essentially just another Michael Myers slasher film, just like all those Friday the 13th movies.

Loaded with gruesome deaths, people doing stupid things in dumb situations, and having an unkillable monster is the grist of the script. The best parts of the movie lie within the casting. Jamie Lee, in a bravura performance, does NOT play Laurie as a badass Lt. Ripley type; all ripped and toting twin shotguns in her sweating hands. Rather, she’s got PTSD and has a survivalists mentality, while trying to hang on to any shred of humanity she still has toward her daughter. The movie should have been more about her! Patton is also excellent as the seasoned cop who remembers the ’78 horrors and Bilginer almost steals the film as the creepy psychiatrist.

The teenagers are all good, especially Matichak and Miles Robbins as the quirky Dave. I also will give kudos to David Gordon Green (Our Brand Is Crisis) for his whip-smart direction which is quite good and effectively makes for some nice jump-scares and homages to the original film. So, it’s not a BAD film, but if you’re gonna resurrect a classic film (which, BTW, original director John Carpenter did the scoring for this one), at least do something different with the storyline, other than the standard and over-used “bad guy gets loose again and goes on a killing spree scenario”.

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