Halloween Kills

Halloween Kills ★★

"Maybe not tonight, maybe not tomorrow, but the boogeyman is coming for you."

David Gordon Green continues his new trilogy in gory, poorly scripted fashion with 'Halloween Kills,' returning to moments after the events of the previous installment as Laurie is rushed to the hospital and Michael quickly begins his escape from the basement of her burning home. The film is jam-packed with references and treading old ground, mostly to its detriment, to the point where characters find themselves in the exact same situations they did 40 years later, with much more gruesome results. It feels a bit cheap to me, very uninspired and removing me from the experience over the fact they couldn't inject something more original instead.

John Carpenter's return is mostly excellent, too - that new theme is so fantastic - but there are jarring moments that don't mesh whatsoever, like a particular moment where Michael begins his descent down a stairwell and this almost folksy, fantasy-type music begins to blare. The cast is fairly good, albeit one that employs way too many bit players awaiting their horribly painful deaths, offering nothing but a few embarrassing one-liners and a pretty gory fate. The hilariously underrated Jim Cummings makes a fine, albeit short performance as a flashback Haddonfield police officer and one of my favorite Mad TV stars, Michael McDonald, plays the older gentleman of a gay couple who now live in Michael's old home - that fact alone seals their fates.

Michael's physical acting here is one of the biggest highlights - both original star Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney excel here, massively imposing and terrifying in their stature and dominating movement style. He's virtually unstoppable, as always, only able to be defeated when he offers the rare opportunity. It's a delight watching him tear through scores of police officers, mob citizens and firefighters, even if the film delves more into brutal 'Friday the 13th' territory - even more so than Rob Zombie's remakes, surprisingly - and is light on the subtle scares and overlong sequences of tension before he pops up to strike. They're still there but nothing on the level of some earlier installments that were constantly, impressively scary.

I think with a much better script and a stripped down cast, this could've been a lot better sequel and midway point of this new trilogy. Most of these one liners and vague debates of Michael being "not human" and "pure evil" grow embarrassing and stale quick, as you count the time until another citizen of Haddonfield is viciously slaughtered and you're left with one less annoying character to worry about - the finale is excellent in that respect and at least gives me some final second optimism for how the story will close it. It seems to no longer be Laurie's story anymore, as unfortunate as that is, and I seriously hope the final installment is much better and gives Jamie Lee Curtis more to work with than vague thoughts and lounging in a hospital bed.

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