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The sequel to 2018’s Halloween revival (itself a direct sequel to the original, 1978 Halloween, the influential and perfect slasher classic) picks up exactly where the last one left off, with masked murderer Michael Myers escaping a burning house to continue his Halloween night killing spree. Halloween was all about Michael Myers terrorizing the Strode family, while Halloween Kills widens the aperture to include the whole town of Haddonfield.
Jamie Lee Curtis returns once more to her iconic role of Laurie Strode, the teenage babysitter who survived his 1978 spree. She’s now a grandmother who has lived her whole life waiting for Michael to return and try to finish her off. Judy Greer plays her daughter, Karen. Anthony Michael Hall joins the cast as Tommy Doyle, one of the kids Laurie babysat who now leads the vigilante mob looking for Michael. Behind the camera is acclaimed, versatile director David Gordon Green, who wrote the script with Scott Teems and Danny McBride (yes, that Danny McBride, from The Righteous Gemstones and a million other hilarious things.)
Here’s the short version: It’s Halloween season, so what else are you going to watch? During the Christmas season, you’re supposed to watch Christmas movies. During Halloween season, you watch Halloween.
If that’s not enough to convince you, how about this: Halloween Kills is a crowd-pleasing horror sequel that will satisfy fans of the franchise – and horror movie fans in general. David Gordon Green knows what works about Halloween, and he just delivers it over and over again.
And that thing that works is Michael Myers, with his blank, impenetrable face, popping out of the darkness to kill somebody, or just watching from a distance, waiting. He’s so strong and so quiet that he’s right up on the border of human and supernatural, and he’s lethal in any situation. If you’re someone who enjoys a creative horror movie kill, Halloween Kills has them in spades. You’ll be shouting “look out!” followed by “oh, damn, he really got ‘em” for the whole length of the movie. Nothing here quite tops the human jack-o-lantern from Halloween 2018, but Michael Myers taking out a whole squad of firefighters with their own tools. And there are fun victim performances from recognizable actors like Scott MacArthur, Michael McDonald, and Lenny Clarke. It’s also cool that some actors from the original are reprising their characters all these years later, including Nancy Stephens, Kyle Richards, Charles Cyphers, and Nick Castle as Michael Myers.
The plot, admittedly, is not very deep or all that important. Michael Myers is on the loose in Haddonfield, killing just about anyone he comes in contact with, just as he did 40 years ago. When the town finds out he’s on a killing spree, they assemble into an angry mob led by people who remember his first spree and try to find and kill him. The Strodes, meanwhile, are trying to recover from their injuries and stop the townspeople from killing the wrong guy. There’s something a little timely about people rushing to mob justice, but it’s not too heavy-handed.
It’s very much a middle chapter that sets up the endgame, and as such won’t make a ton of sense if you haven’t seen the 1978 and 2018 Halloween movies. The conclusion to the trilogy, Halloween Ends, is slated for next year.
Halloween Kills is a worthy entry in the Halloween franchise. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s an above-average slasher movie that will get you in the spooky season mood.
If your partner likes scary movies, watch it with them. If not, find some horror movie-loving friends and have a party. You might even want to dress up!
Halloween Kills is available on the premium tier of the Peacock streaming service, which costs $4.99 per month.