Thursday, October 21, 2021
Halloween Kills is the most unfortunate of sequels in that it could’ve been so good and winds up being part efficient slasher movie and part total garbage.
Come on. You have David Gordon Green and Danny McBride working as director and co-writers on this movie. Those are the guys who did Pineapple Express, a stellar example of mixing sinister shit with hilarious comedy. Pineapple Express feels like both a serious crime thriller and a buddy comedy.
Green’s 2018 Halloween balanced sufficient creepiness with some hilarious moments and harkened back the brilliance of the John Carpenter original. The jokes never took you out of the horror vibe, but they were pretty funny (the kid and his babysitter, the son and his dad talking about dancing). It was one of the best things about that Halloween, combined with the kind of look and sound Halloween fans want with these movies.
In Halloween Kills, Green still has the look and sound dialed in perfectly. This is, without a doubt, one of the best-looking films in the series. It sits firmly in the top three. When Michael Myers is killing people in this movie, it is horrifying, and it should be. If you took the murder scenes in this movie and placed them in their own separate place and just watched those, you would think you were dealing with one of the all-time great slasher films. When the movie is good, it is really good.
But, when it is bad…oh boy, is it ever bad.
After the events of the last film, where Michael was supposedly killed in a house fire, there’s an extremely well-done flashback to 1978, featuring a pristine mask and an effects driven Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance). It then jumps back to 2018 and, of course, Michael is very much still ticking. There are some brutal, absolutely horrifying kill scenes in the first half hour or so. At this point, Halloween Kills looks like a solid sequel at the least.
Then, instead of comedy, Green goes for politics in trying to depict a serious mob uprising as the town of Haddonfield decides enough is enough. Halloween canon like Tommy Doyle (now played by Anthony Michael Hall) and Lindsey (Kylie Richards) show up as scarred, PTSD sufferers who want Mike’s head on a stake. They rile up a crowd at the hospital (echoes of the original Halloween 2), which culminates in a final street fight that feels a little like the ending of Rocky V.
There’s a repeated chant of “Evil dies tonight!” that sounds an awful lot like “USA!” There’s a moment where a person has a choice of jumping off a building or facing an even worse kind of death inside the building. There are moments where those fireman alarms, the ones that indicate a fighter in distress, are going off. It’s a lot of 9/11 and COVID battle parallels, and it is way, way lame. Horrible dialogue, horrible acting, and seriously bad plot choices.
Christ, you have Green and Danny McBride, the Pineapple Express guys. Make that mob comedic on some levels. Pay McBride a little extra to be in that mob. Add some dark comedy, like the Ash and Evil Dead series. Fans don’t want attempts at total seriousness in their Halloween movie. All shreds of dark comedy, and I mean all of them, have been replaced by dumb monologue meanderings on the origins of evil, and Anthony Michael Hall sweating a lot. It’s not fun. It’s the exact opposite. It’s awkward and just damned awful.
Halloween Kills is a true oddity. It has some of the year’s best looking and sounding film moments mixed with very worst picture of the year drama. Another cut of this film that removes the hospital subplot altogether, with Danny McBride and Bruce Campbell replacing Anthony Michael Hall, is in order.
The film made $50 million at theaters, a nice haul considering it was released to streaming on the same day as its theatrical opening. The big haul virtually assures the final chapter in the trilogy, which is scheduled to shoot in January. Hopefully, Green gets back on track and finishes strong.
If you have Peacock, don’t waste your time at the theater with Halloween Kills. That is not money well spent.