After twelve films, a movie franchise that has outlasted many others, and countless Halloween merchandising sales, they’re ending the series? I don’t believe it; not for a second! I’m calling it right now, look for a Halloween: Reborn or Halloween: Resurrection in the future.
Instead of picking up from the events of last year’s Halloween Kills (see review below) as you’d expect, we time-jump ahead four years where the unkillable Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) has vanished, probably going to Disney World in the interim. Two remaining victims of his previous murderous rampage are Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her nurse granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak). Safe for now, Laurie bought a new home in town with Allyson and is busy writing her memoirs. Meanwhile, in a storyline that resembles the movie Christine, we have Cory Cunningham (Rohan Campbell), a nerdy, shy guy who, years ago, accidentally killed a child in a fit of rage.
His past still haunts him as some high school bullies taunt him mercilessly. After an altercation, he’s taken to Haddonfield Memorial and cared for by Allyson where, inexplicably, these two hit it off and a romance starts to blossom. However, those darn bullies just won’t let it be and nearly kill him, causing Cory to suddenly meet Michael Myers, who’s been hiding in a sewer. Well, Michael and Cory share a bond together and, like being possessed by a 1958 Plymouth, Cory is now imbued by Michael’s strength and anger. Slowly, Cory starts being more aggressive, assertive, and manipulative. This new Cory impresses Allyson who decides to run away with him, much to Laurie’s ire as she sees through Cory’s deception.
Cory finally snaps, grabs Michael’s mask, and it’s Halloween all over again with an impressive body count. Oh, yeah, Michael eventually shows up late in the third act because, well, the movie is supposed to be about him, right? If you came to see the latest installment of Michael “The Boogeyman” Myers doing his thing and wreaking havoc again like he does in all his films, you’re gonna be really disappointed. This movie takes a whole different approach, almost as if it were a completely different movie. Sure, you have Laurie Strode and many others from the previous movies, but this was certainly unlike anything I was expecting.
Writers Paul Brad Logan (Manglehorn), newbie Chris Bernier, actor Danny McBride (2018’s Halloween Kills), and director David Gordon Green, subvert expectations with a plot that takes the same ol’, same ol’ Halloween story you’re used to and spins it into a fresh idea. Personally, I liked it. I was getting so bored of Michael doing the same damn thing every single movie that this was a new, different, and nice twist. Okay, so I’ve seen the plot before in other movies, but I really enjoyed not seeing a boring slasher rehash from the last 12 films. And the ending, although not what I would have liked to see, was still good.
Jamie Lee Curtis has more to do here than just lie in a hospital bed, like in the last film. She has a better character arc with more than a single emotion. Matichak is wonderful, but the real find is Canadian star, Rohan Campbell. His Cory Cunningham (much like Arnie Cunningham in Christine) undergoes an impressive transformation from a nice-guy nerd to a ridiculed town pariah to a horrific monster. He and Curtis are the best thing in the movie. Rounding out the cast are some really good performances: Joanne Baron as Cory’s insanely oppressive mom, Keraun Harris as the town’s local DJ, and Kyle Richards returning as Lindsey Wallace.
**Now showing in theaters and streaming on Peacock
Halloween Kills (2021)
Seriously, can’t anything kill Michael Myers? If you follow the Halloween movie franchise (the twelfth film from 1978!), this hulking brute has been shot, stabbed, 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, the ever freaked-out Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), her daughter Karen (Judy Greer), and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) have all narrowly escaped death. Laurie cleverly laid a trap for Michael (James Jude Courtney) in her ‘safe house’, and 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).
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. . . going on a murderous rampage!
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 was 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. Frankly, it seems the only reason these Halloween movies even exist is for the writers to come up with wild 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, people try to kill him but they can’t because they’re really stupid, 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 are 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.