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HALLOWEEN KILLS: An Irritating, Irrational, Irresponsibly Reactionary Mess

What the hell happened?

By Jack Anderson KeanePublished 2 years ago 26 min read

"I always thought Michael Myers was flesh and blood, just like you and me. But a mortal man could not have survived what he's lived through. The more he kills, the more he transcends into something else impossible to defeat. Fear. People are afraid. That is the true curse of Michael."




For those that have seen Halloween (2018):

Remember the plot twist when Michael's doctor reveals himself to be crazy, takes Michael's mask off of his unconscious body, and said doctor puts the mask on his own face? And even though it ultimately didn't go down that road, remember how there was a brief window of time when this horrible dread creeped in with the idea that the film was perhaps about to take an extreme turn for the irreconcilably stupid, by having Michael's doctor/stan suddenly become the killer for the rest of the movie, thereby undoing the general goodwill the film had generated up until that point?

Halloween Kills is the embodiment of that feeling, only the crushing dread wrought by astoundingly asinine storytelling spreads all throughout this movie's runtime. And thanks to this film not warranting a single shred of positivity for itself, the goodwill that's been undone here is the erstwhile confidence (or, if you prefer, the cautious optimism) that was once engendered by David Gordon Green and Danny McBride's previous, respectable, surprisingly good work on Halloween (2018).

The fact that it's also they themselves that have systematically dismantled whatever budding promise their take on the Michael Myers-verse once offered? That's what makes this abrupt nosedive into aggressive terribleness feel like such a smack in the face for anyone that dared to care about this retcon-timeline's characters, or their ordeals at the hands of The Shape.

In its opening minutes, there doesn't seem to be too much fuckery afoot in Halloween Kills, in terms of there being any indication that things are imminently going to go off the rails spectacularly.

There's a kind of well-done flashback to the night of the original Halloween (1978), adding some connective character tissue from that film's end, to the Green/McBride films' beginnings. It's shot as if it hails directly from the 70's, aided invaluably by the LiveGrain real-time texturing tool applied to the digital footage in post-production. (I only know this from having stayed through the end credits, not because I was waiting for a post-credits scenes - as I knew there wasn't one - but because I was left utterly dumbstruck in my seat by the film's sheer shittiness.) There's even a spine-tingling reappearance of Donald Pleasance's Dr. Loomis, made all the more amazing by the fact that this wasn't some Rogue One-style posthumous CGI recreation situated in the uncanny valley, but rather something as simple as putting some minor prosthetics on the film's art director, Tom Jones Jr., who already bore a decent resemblance to Pleasance beforehand, and then filming him in just the right amount of shadow and light to pull off the illusion practically.

And then the opening credits roll, with a sparse piano-only rendition of the classic Halloween theme, persuasively showcasing that, once again, the new score by John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter, and Daniel Davies is the real MVP of this movie.

But even in these opening minutes, there are bad omens of the virulent numbskullery swiftly encroaching to consume the movie whole.

The fanboyish compulsion to retread past ground for the sake of nostalgia, and the mercenary need to tack on new, extraneous plot points to the masterfully simple original film's premise. The weird stop-start rushing and dragging of character urgency in the face of the evil they're attempting to defeat. The abrupt declines in characters' intelligences that feel as though they're being hijacked and puppeteered by the whims of the script into not acting with any ounce of human common sense, solely so that the next inventively gruesome Michael Myers kill can happen, while they're stuck rooted to the spot by the lazy writing and lazy directing conspiring to put in as little effort as possible.

I went along with the bullshit the film was serving me for as long as I could, giving it the benefit of the doubt for longer than I should have. But alas, I distinctly recall the moment I fully dissociated from my waning immersion in the story, when all of the little nitpicks and niggling annoyances snowballed into a crescendo roughly midway through the movie, and I remember thinking: "Oh no. This is the precise instant I'm going to look back on as being the turning point... this is the scene when I become acutely cognisant that there's just too much stupid to let slide, because absolutely EVERYTHING fails to be believable or excusable, even within the rules of its own universe, and so I become increasingly pissed off with every passing minute... this is it, isn't it?"

And yes, dear reader, it well and truly was.

The moment in question?

It's a short sequence in the hospital, as the Haddonfield hospital is getting crowded with frightened and angry citizens, and the bodies of Michael's victims are piling up in the morgues. During this, there's a particular 10-15 second chunk of time dedicated to the mother of Oscar (the guy who got killed by Michael in the set-piece with the motion-sensor lights in the previous film) finding her son's body in what I assume is meant the hospital morgue. However, the reason I say "assume" is because this room, where Oscar's body horrifically mutilated body is left on display, is just some open-view sterile white room, like those maternity ward rooms where you look through the window at all the rows of newborn babies, except instead of babies, the window peers into a bunch of corpses laying on tables, uncovered, in full view of the public, for anyone to see! And what really takes the cake is that, in the background of the shot, lying next to/behind Oscar's body on another table, is A NAKED MALE CORPSE, WITH HIS FUCKING GENITALS FULLY EXPOSED.

There are a few ways you could explain away this minor detail in the overall tapestry of the film, but doing so would require so many contrivances, circumstantial explanations, and gaping lapses in logic, it wouldn't be worth the effort. Nor would it be worth it to say that perhaps Green/McBride were doing some misbegotten metaphorical visual symmetry of a room that would normally be filled with new life, now being corrupted by Michael's influence into becoming a room filled with death; I'm deliberately pulling a muscle by reaching so hard, because I want to illustrate as best I can why this moment is so jarringly stupid and awful, no matter how you look at it.

And this is all after sitting through scene after scene of characters regurgitating the same goddamn dialogue over and over and over again - (e.g. "40 years ago"; "EVIL DIES TONIGHT!"; "I have to be the one to kill him"; "he killed [insert person here] 40 years ago"; "he's infected this town/family with fear/grief for 40 years"; "EVIL DIES TONIGHT!"; etcetera, etcetera, copy and paste and repeat until incurable semantic satiation sets in) - alongside kill after kill where people stop moving or trying to escape from Michael, even as he's walking at his usual snail's pace, as if they're just standing and waiting on their marks at their feet, waiting for Michael to hurry up and stab them already. (It's the equivalent of everyone acting like the guy in Austin Powers who won't move out of the way of the agonisingly slow steamroller coming to kill him... which is ironic, because that same actor, Michael McDonald, is in this fucking movie!)

Or if these idiotic exemplars of natural selection aren't doing that, they're either using the most ineffective weapons possible to defend themselves against Michael's advances (i.e. baseball bats, rakes, teeny tiny knives you'd use for cutting fruits to put in cocktails), or they're handling their actually useful weapons (i.e. fucking big knives, buzzsaws, axes, and, y'know, guns) as if they're toddlers with underdeveloped motor control, and zero knowledge of how the weapons work on the most basic level. (The woman who accidentally shoots herself in the face because Michael kicks open a car door into her? Fuck the fuck off.)

Bizarrely, even though these new Halloweens were made to bypass and disregard all the other sequels, Halloween Kills sure does take great pains to fan-servicely reference and remix elements from a lot of them, as if all of a sudden Green and McBride were eager to cater to the fans of those retconned sequels, despite them having gone out of their way to not pay lip service to the sequels back in 2018. But now, we get Halloween Kills doing a mashup of the hospital-centric plot of Halloween II (1981), the small town lynch mob plot of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, and very vague allusions to the ambiguous supernatural nature of Michael's inhuman invulnerability that was highlighted during the Thorn Cult shenanigans of Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, and Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (a.k.a. the one with Paul Rudd). Also, there's a callback to the children's pumpkin masks from Halloween III: Season of the Witch, because why not? Hell, they might as well have had someone shout Busta Rhymes' infamous "Trick or treat, motherfucker!" line from Halloween: Resurrection, if not have a cameo from Busta Rhymes himself! Fuck it! While they're at it, let's get Paul Rudd back to play Tommy Doyle, as they literally wanted to do! (Oh wait, he's too busy/too good for this shit? Darn. Well, never mind, let's get Anthony Michael Hall instead, and have him give a bug-eyed, one-note performance that makes him out to be the bad guy in this story, for some reason...)

Look, I don't blame the actors for any of this, they did the best they could with the drivel they were given.

Jamie Lee Curtis is great... at least, in the small handful of scenes you get to see her in, because she gets sidelined for the whole movie by the seven thousand new/disposable characters introduced to fill her absence, seeing as she never leaves the hospital.

Judy Greer is okay, even though she's made annoyingly stupid by the script, before being ultimately betrayed by it (which we will get to).

Andi Matichak miraculously manages to wring a sliver of pathos out of the scraps the script gives her to work with, as a daughter freshly grieving the loss of her father in the previous film.

Will Patton's surprise return is a double-edged sword, because on the one hand, I'm always glad to see Will Patton be in stuff, and he's dependably brilliant at conveying the emotional demands the stupid script asks of him... but on the other hand, his character should be fuCKING DEAD! Just about surviving a stab wound to the neck? Sure, I could suspend my disbelief just enough for that. The only problem is that in the previous film, after he got stabbed in the neck, he then was promptly run over and audibly crushed with a car to make extra sure he was super-dead!! (Yet another indication of how little of a shit Green and McBride seemed to give when they churned out this dross, if they're so willing to pull a retcon within their own retcon.)

Ever since I first saw him in The Haunting of Hill House, I could watch Robert Longstreet read a phone book, and it'd still be an acting tour-de-force, so I was quite happy to see him in this. Until, as is a trend with this movie, he becomes another character rendered infuriatingly idiotic for no good reason.

And it was kind of nice to see the return of Charles Cyphers, Nancy Stephens, and Kyle Richards (who was/is apparently a Real Housewives alum?) from the '78 original. Sure, all of them were (you guessed it!) wasted in the long run, but still.

The biggest factor that drags Halloween Kills down to a tedious slog is the deluge of side characters who get an unreasonable amount of screen time dedicated to them, at the grave expense of the three Strode women, who should be our primary focus. Rather than staying with them, Green and McBride now opt to have the entire town of Haddonfield take precedence in this superfluous, unnaturally extended narrative.

So we get:

• A band of legacy characters who were only tenuously involved with the events of Halloween night in '78, but have somehow since become a close-knit friend group of survivors, including Tommy Doyle and Lindsey Wallace (the two kids Laurie protected from Michael), Lonnie Elam (that one kid who bullied Tommy, and who Dr. Loomis scared away from entering the Myers house), and Marion Chambers (the nurse who drove the car that Michael stole to escape his mental hospital).

• Sheriff Brackett, the cop father of Laurie's friend Annie, who was the first to be killed in the original film, and now somehow the father still isn't retired, despite him being in his 80's.

• Cameron Elam, the Jonas Brother-looking son of Lonnie, and Allyson's assholish boyfriend, who now gets a redemption arc.

• An elderly interracial couple who like playing with a toy drone (and that's about all the characterisation you get before Michael kills them).

• A young doctor-and-nurse costumed couple who were briefly seen in the previous film (where the man sort of looks like he could be related to Drake, and the woman looks like the spitting image of Taraji P. Henson).

• Tovoli, a roaming, scared mental patient who was one of those who escaped from the transfer bus in the previous film, and who stupidly gets mistaken for Michael by the townsfolk (don't fucking ask, it's the worst).


• Big John and Little John, the affluent gay couple living in Michael Myers' old house, scaring trick-or-treating kids with the story of how Michael - and I quote - "stabbed his sister in the tits". (Tonal consistency, good dialogue... who needs it?!).

This ginormous clusterfuck of cannon fodder citizens are useful only insomuch as they provide a way for the script to spin its wheels, buying the writers enough time to make this reach feature length without actually furthering the plot in any meaningful way, nor doing anything worthy of merit, or worthy of the audience's time. This smorgasbord of dumbass NPCs are all just so much chum in the water for Michael Myers to hone in on, like the dead-eyed shark he amounts to in his quote-unquote "apex predator" status of unkillable slasher badass. In the Green/McBride-iverse, Michael Myers is the John Wick of slasher villains, operating on God Mode with a knife instead of a gun.

If there's a single other positive I can grant Halloween Kills, it's in the film's portrayal of Michael as being a superbly straightforward monolithic murder machine. One whose blank-slate face, and blunt sense of purpose, easily allows for applicable metaphor to be laid atop his single-minded nature.

In a movie that's overflowing with misguided pretensions to social commentary, characters of maddeningly fluctuating IQs, and countless fucking speeches from every person ever affected by Michael's crimes believing that they are the most important person/target of Michael's lethal attentions, Michael himself - despite never speaking a word - is the most richly interesting character to analytically dissect.

In this timeline where he was never related to Laurie by blood, and acceptably within the parameters of John Carpenter's conception of him, The Shape exists solely to carry out one goal: kill. No motive, no pattern, no emotion. He wants to make living things die. People, children, animals... all are fair game. Every new kill he carries out is a new experiment in brutality, and his test subjects are any person he comes across whose eyes he feels like watching the life drain out of. As Kyle Reese once said about the Michael-Myers-inspired Terminator: "It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, EVER... until you are dead."

Even in Halloween (2018), Michael wasn't hellbent on killing any one person in particular, let alone Laurie; the only reason he went after her at all was because of that damn doctor, who first set Michael free on the transfer bus, and later transported Michael to Laurie's house to see what'd happen. In retrospect, Dr. Sartain almost seemed like a metaphorical manifestation of Halloween fanboys (including Green and McBride) manipulating and interfering with the natural flow of events in order to make this reboot/rematch happen. That doctor peeked into the hollow abyss behind Michael's eyes, was driven mad by Michael's insistence on never speaking, and basically decided to believe in his own fanfic that Michael and Laurie are somehow bound together by their pursuit of one another - something not too dissimilar to Laurie's own PTSD-cemented fears that if Michael ever escaped from captivity, he would eventually return to finish the job of killing her.

In what I can only assume was an intentional thematic conceit on Green and McBride's part, the fatal flaw that constantly undermines everybody in Michael Myers' orbit is that, in their observations and feelings about him, they inherently maintain a modicum of belief that there must be something humanly understandable to how and why Michael does the things he does. Even Laurie, who comes the closest out of anyone to fully grasping the seriousness of the mortal threat Michael poses, still believes that he has definable agendas, or cares about her or anyone enough to want to tie up unfinished business.

But what I think Halloween (2018) and Halloween Kills collectively posit, whether intentionally or not, is that as long as you think of Michael in human terms of what being "a killer" and "pure evil" even is, you will always misunderstand and underestimate him, and before you get the opportunity to realise your error, you'll already be dead.

Oddly enough, another quote that kept popping up in my mind as I was watching the film, and pondering this theme of the futile impulse the characters have to only deal with Michael in half-measures, was something Gary Oldman's Winston Churchill said in Darkest Hour:

"You cannot reason with a tiger when your head is in its mouth!"

Now, of course, Halloween Kills was written and shot between 2018 and 2019, right on the cusp of an incalculable number of events seismically changing about the world, so the things that the filmmakers may have had in mind about what Michael had the ability to metaphorically represent were undoubtedly quite different. But post-2020, looking at the overarching existential threat this iteration of Michael portends in the way that I've attempted to describe above, it's exceedingly difficult not to see or feel him to be an accidental symbolic proxy for COVID-19, it's devastating impact on the world, and the world's cumulative reaction to it.

But if we look even further beyond that, this Michael Myers can also easily feel like an allegorical personification of almost any large-scale disasters that have already befallen humanity, or those that have yet to happen.

Chernobyl. The early years of the AIDS crisis. Small towns and cities with water polluted by poisons dumped into the systems by factories and power plants.

Hell, you could even see Michael - in this reading of him, at least - as a symbol of more systemic terrors. Institutionalised racism in the police and the government (and everywhere else, really); the culture of silence and complicity that shields and hides prolific abusers in capitalistic industries; everything that allowed Trump to become President...

...basically, any overwhelming, faceless force of incomprehensible inhumanity that causes demonstrable harm to scores upon scores of people, yet trying to get people to understand and take it seriously enough so that it can be stopped feels insurmountably impossible, like trying to scream for help in a nightmare, but nobody listens, and everybody inevitably suffers?

You know, like the nail-bitingly suspenseful sequence in Carpenter's original Halloween, where Laurie begs for help from the nearest houses as Michael inexorably draws nearer and nearer to her, but the people inside ignore her pleas?

That is Michael Myers. All the evils of the world, densely compacted into the shape of a man, who is nothing less than a deadly deity of indiscriminate destruction.

But surely this film must be doing something right, if it can squeeze such a protracted and pretentious spiel out of me about what I think they did well with Michael's character, right?

Ay, there's the rub.

For while the idea of having Michael represent more deep, abstract, even political fears far outside his simple slasher-villain remit sounds interesting on paper... it's in the execrable execution of that idea where Halloween Kills falls flat on its face, and shits the proverbial bed.

To say that the film is ideologically muddled would be the understatement of the century. Its clumsy attempts at having something to say about today's social climate are tone deaf at best, mean-spiritedly offensive at worst.

Because here's the elephant in the room: as it's implied by the way the townspeople characters react to the threat of Michael, and how they talk about him (up to, and including, the quote that headlined this review), I think the extremely basic premise here is that...

...Michael Myers is Trump?

A force of irredeemable evil that sows division and fear and anarchy, driving once normal people apoplectic with rage, confusion, and chaos, and provoking mobs of protestors to rise up against him?

That's one way to look at it.

But then it's also not Michael who's the Trump proxy, but rather it's... [*checks notes*] ...Anthony Michael Hall's unhinged version of Tommy Doyle who's the Trump?

A thuggish brute who makes constant speeches stoking fear and paranoia, gathering large crowds together to chant catchphrases inspiring violence directed towards the imagined threat of an Other? ("Evil Dies Tonight" might as well be Tommy Doyle's version of "Lock Her Up", "Build The Wall", "Send Her Back", or any of the other not-so-greatest-hits of fascistic chants in Trump's limited vocabulary.)

So then that must mean the mob rule that engulfs Haddonfield is representative of the mobs of Trump supporters? Large groups of people acting out of fear and fury and misinformation, where reason, caution, and nuance are (ahem) thrown out the window by impulsive groupthink? Is this also a simultaneous jab at the toxicity of mass social media outrage, when swarms of people converge to harass and attack individuals who displease the collective hive mind, for reasons that may or may not be justifiable?

But even these parallels drawn between the film's reality, and our reality, aren't properly cogent.

Like, Michael and Tommy can't both be avatars for Trump in this story at the same time. Michael is the threat. Nobody else comes close. Nobody is supposed to. And he's not a marginalised person getting unjustly blamed for a society's ills by those who are more privileged or powerful, and who are truly the ones most at fault. He's MICHAEL FUCKING MYERS. He is an unequivocal, unstoppable public health hazard, because he KILLS ALMOST EVERYONE HE MEETS. There's no ambiguity to that. Nor is Michael a demagogic figurehead seeking to amass followers for some dictatorial crusade. He doesn't care about anyone! He doesn't want to rule, he just wants to kill!

And how does making Tommy a Trump-type work, either? Or making the people of Haddonfield into tribalistic Trump-supporter types? Is that why they all act so idiotically? Because Green and McBride want the angry mobs of Haddonfield to be as stupid as they see Trump supporters to be, even at the expense of their story making sense?

Like, Tommy's motives for encouraging mob justice are rooted in a valid concern for the safety of everyone in town staying alive, and the mob of petrified people are right to be afraid of this prolific, unbeatable serial killer, whose crimes have haunted Haddonfield for 40 years.

(Did I mention the 40 years thing? Not to be a broken record about it, but the preposterous number of times the script includes a line with the words "40 years", you'd think this shit was written by Alex Maisonette! (Good Bad or Bad Bad fans, what up?) I mean, at least Maisonette has an excuse for his terrible writing, seeing as he's not a professional writer, director, or actor, and all his films are made with the stringiest of shoestring budgets. Even though he fails, at least it always feels like he's trying. What's David Gordon Green and Danny McBride's excuse? Between the two of them, with the plentiful resources they have at hand, and the decades of experience and expertise in their crafts, you'd think they would surely know not to write screenplays with such basic, easily solvable issues as not writing dialogue so repetitious that it becomes swiftly redundant, and not repeating information the audience already knows a hundred billion times. But hey, what do I know?)

The film flip-flops so often between wanting us to sympathise with the crowd, then to hating them, as well as pulling an audacious (but failed) attempt at having us hate and sympathise with Michael, that you're never certain what, if anything, the movie is trying to say with its nebulous grasping at the straws of complexity. (Oof, that simile was so bad, even Irene Iddesleigh author Amanda McKittrick Ross is rolling her eyes while she spins in her grave.)

At its core, I suspect Halloween Kills has nothing meaningful to say about anything, and whatever it does say winds up being so incoherent, that everything I just said about these Trumpian parallels and allegories and whatnot?

Yeah, fucking forget all of it, because according to that one interview with Jamie Lee Curtis that Red Letter Media spotlighted in their own scathing Halloween Kills review, this whole business with the mob rule part of the plot is less to do with Trump and/or Trump supporters, and more to do with...

- [*checks notes*] -

- [*double-takes and double-checks notes to make sure I'm reading this correctly, because this cannot be right*] -

- [*holy shit, are you fucking serious, she really said this with her whole chest, and with a smile on her face? what the actual???*] -

- [*ahem*] -'s not about Trump, but about Black Lives Matter??!

Because in Curtis' overly enthusiastic estimation of what she said Green and McBride were going for, she asserted that the community-cum-mob of the film being fuelled by a collective trauma wrought by Michael's killings, banding together in a movement to stop his evil from continuing... is apparently equitable to the Black community's collective trauma wrought by systemic racial injustice, and disproportionately rampant police killings of Black people, which necessitated everyone banding together in the Black Lives Matter civil rights movement to fight that real life evil?

Jesus H. Tap-Dancing Christ, there are... so many layers of clueless disrespect in that statement, you'd think I needn't lay them all out, as the sheer jaw-dropping inanity should be pretty self-explanatory.

But I don't want there to be any vagaries left unchallenged here, so let's take a moment to unpack the many moving parts of this maddeningly moronic notion:

1) The 2018 Halloween already lampshaded how the crimes of Michael in 1978 paled in comparison to the severity and frequency of the horrors faced in our present day, but it made the importance placed on his crimes more plausible because it was focused on how the trauma affected the three generations of Strode women more than it affected anyone else. With the exception of Will Patton's character, the rest of Haddonfield seemed to barely remember or care about what happened "fOrTy YeArS aGo".

But now, all of a sudden, that one night from four decades past is the most important cultural touchstone in the town's history, and literally everyone is trauma-bonded by it to the point that they're immediately compelled to join forces in stopping this monster?

And this is supposedly a comparable thing to the decades - nay, centuries - of prejudice, persecution, profiling, police killings, economic deprivation, class segregation, political scapegoating, countless lost lives, and an infinite number of other longtime generational injustices and traumas that have been inflicted on people of colour for so goddamn long?

Get the fuck out of here with that bullshit.

2) Equating Black Lives Matter protest gatherings as being the same thing as a "mob"? That sounds... awfully dog-whistle-y to me, but let's just assume that this wasn't intentional on Curtis' part, and that Curtis/Green/McBride are somehow simply confused as to what the fundamental difference is.

A protest is, per Wikipedia's definition, "a public expression of objection, disapproval or dissent towards an idea or action, typically a political one. Protests can be thought of as acts of cooperation in which numerous people cooperate by attending, and share the potential costs and risks of doing so."

A mob is, per, "an unruly and often violent group of people, especially one engaged in a riot or other lawless violence. Some mobs organise intentionally to engage in violence and destruction, but sometimes people assemble spontaneously and turn into a mob, such as in reaction to some event. Because people who have massed together in such a way typically don’t follow any formal leadership or string of command, mobs are known for getting out of control and engaging in chaotic, unpredictable, and often violent behaviour. [...] Like the word 'riot', the word 'mob' is sometimes intentionally used inaccurately to portray groups in a negative way when this characterisation is not warranted. For example, an opponent of a protest might call a group of peaceful protesters a mob as an attempt to discredit the protesters and their message."


3) As if that weren't bad enough, the mob in Halloween Kills is depicted as being a disorganised, slipshod, braindead herd, at whom Curtis' Laurie literally screams are a bunch of "fucking sheep". They trample over each other, do slapstick tumbles down stairwells, provoke a mentally ill man to kill himself to escape their wrath (PUT. A. PIN. IN. THAT.), and then when they finally do get Michael in their sights to do away with him... they can't even do that right! THEY FAIL. THEY ALL FUCKING DIE, BECAUSE EVERYONE IS SO FUCKING INCOMPETENT, NONE OF THEM USE GUNS, NONE OF THEM THINK TO SHOOT OR STAB OR BLUDGEON HIM IN THE HEAD, DESPITE KNOWING THAT ANYTHING LESS WOULD BE 'TIS BUT A SCRATCH TO MICHAEL FUCKING MYERS, AND BECAUSE OF THAT, HE OF COURSE FUCKING ANNIHILATES THEM!!

Did Curtis, Green, and/or McBride honestly not spare a moment to think about how their comparison between the Black Lives Matter movement, and the hair-pullingly insane idiocy of their fictional slasher movie mob, would sound to people if spoken aloud?

They all seem to be generally left-leaning liberal types, but their abysmal execution of their ideas in this film makes it look as though they're secretly virulently conservative.

It doesn't help that the film is populated by a cast of characters who are diverse across a multitude of categories, as an act of tokenistic representation... and yet it's also the LGBT and/or BIPOC characters who are bestowed with the most violent, painful, dumb, and mean-spirited kills out of everyone.

What happened here?

Why did Curtis and co. believe they were saying something profound, while in actuality espousing a bafflingly backwards point of view that should've been blatantly obvious was incredibly insensitive, and disastrously out of touch with reality?

As I see it, for whatever my opinion's worth:

They probably thought they were engaging in solidarity, when they were really just engaging in further exploitation, intentional or not.

There are two insurmountable nadirs Halloween Kills falls into, that leave the longest-lasting bad taste in my mouth.

The first is the aforementioned scene where Tovoli, the escaped mental patient implausibly contrived to be mistaken for Michael by the mob, is driven to jumping out of a window to his (gratuitously gory) death, because the violent mob were trying to capture and kill him.

Watching that scene, I remember I felt an ugly pit in my stomach, but I wasn't entirely sure for what reason.

Was it because - after everything that's happened over the past couple of years, after time and time again seeing the depths that people have stooped to in their pigheaded mindlessness - I had found myself hopelessly jaded, and misanthropically cynical enough to buy into the film's notion that people would really act this fatally stupid?

Or was it because I was emphatically not buying into what the film was selling here, as it decidedly hadn't earned this feint towards dramatic gravitas, after the preceding over-an-hour's worth of dumb, unimportant characters, wonky dialogue, and ghastly unfunny comedy that didn't remotely sit right with the tone of the drama/thriller/horror elements?

I'd say it was maybe 20% the former, 80% the latter... though I'm 100% sure the filmmakers wanted the former to be the overall reaction the audience took away from it. A real "man's inhumanity to his fellow man"/"who's the real monster here?" type of twaddle.

(Oh wait, I forgot. Because subtlety is nonexistent in this script, right after Tovoli's death, when everyone realises they got the wrong man killed, Sheriff Brackett says out loud: "Now he's turning us into monsters." Thanks for the clarification, I hate it.)

The final nadir is reached in the film's last moments, when all hope is well and truly lost.

Up to this point, due to the pointlessness of everything that's happened, the fact Laurie didn't have anything to do, and everyone's character arcs at the end have been virtually unchanged from how they began at film's start (and even unchanged from how they were at previous film's end), Halloween Kills was bad, but it was skippable. It was a pointless studio cash-grab endeavour, but at least in the grand scheme of things, you could ignore it, and skip right onto the eventual Halloween Ends without having missed anything.

But of course, they just had to fuck that up, too.

Because the one and only absolutely imperative plot point that occurs in this entire movie is in its final minute, when - through a series of unnatural character decisions that make no sense (de rigeur) - Judy Greer's character is killed by Michael, who has just escaped from that failed lynch mob attack, and has returned for payback¹ against Karen after she lured him into that ambush by taking his mask, and brandishing it as a way to draw him into the trap. (I just realised as I was writing this that this plan was so goddamn dumb on so many levels, but fuck it, I don't want to waste any more time going into how and why, it just is. Trust me on this.)

Laurie's daughter, and Allyson's mother, has been brutally murdered by Michael... and the film ends with neither of them knowing it's happened.

It is a brazen display of disrespect for these characters. It wasn't earned, it wasn't shocking, it was just mean. And not in a good way, because I know some may think this seam of mean-spiritedness that runs through the film is a feature, not a bug, and is part-and-parcel of showing how evil Michael is. And again, on paper that could work. But it doesn't. It just feels like a cliffhanger cynically calibrated to entice audiences back for the final showdown when Halloween Ends ends this story.

But after all the shit this creative team has pulled with Halloween Kills, is there anything that Ends can do to redeem this dumpster fire?

I don't know.

I had faith that Green and McBride were onto something with their first Halloween, but they squandered that good faith horrendously here.

Could Halloween Ends do something - anything - interesting enough to wash away the stink of Halloween Kills?

Only time will tell.

But in the final analysis:

Halloween Kills is the worst movie I have seen in cinemas in all of 2021. Bar none. Even M. Night Shyamalan's Old, while also a massive failure, at least had some good ideas, some genuinely moving moments, and some shred of merit to recommend it, either as a so-bad-it's-good film, or as a better alternative to this.

Halloween Kills ranks up there (or should that be down there?) among the worst kinds of bad sequels that have been made in recent years - the ones where the original team once made something really good, only to return with a follow-up that makes you question whether they ever knew what made their own work so good in the first place.

Star Trek Into Darkness, Spectre, Jason Bourne, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and now, Halloween Kills.

Avoid, avoid, avoid.


¹ (Does this late-game turn towards Michael actually</i> having <i>a motive for killing someone invalidate my entire argument about him having no motive for any of the things he does, because his nigh-on Lovecraftian void of humanity defies human comprehension? Hmm. Who's to say...?)


About the Creator

Jack Anderson Keane

An idiot pretending not to be an idiot.

You can also find me on Twitter (for memes), Instagram (for the pictures), Letterboxd (for film reviews), Medium (for a Vocal alternative), Goodreads (for book reviews), and Spotify (for my music).

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