Halloween Kills is a movie that is of its franchise, through and through. The latest return to Haddonfield features plenty of slashing, familiar characters, and, as usual, absolutely no explanation for the phenomenon that is Michael Myers.
Throughout the franchise, we’ve come to know the man in the dark overalls and white mask fairly well—at least to the extent that one can know an enigmatic, immortal, invulnerable killer who doesn’t speak and travels only by taking leisurely strolls.
We know, for example, that Micheal Myers faced abuse as a child and suffered from mental illness. This culminated in the tragic murder of his family, followed by an extended stay in a mental institute, where he met his psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis.
We know he escaped as an adult and returned to his hometown for Halloween, and then he killed people for reasons(?). Dr. Loomis followed to warn the town and stop the murders, but ultimately failed to do so.
Offscreen, presumably, Michael Myers has made some sort of warlock pact with a powerful demon in exchange for inhuman strength and immortality.
In Halloween Kills, a direct sequel to Halloween (2018), the abused child turned killer turned psych patient turned demigod continues to stack bodies in Haddonfield.
After a brief flashback from 1978, we see Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) with her daughter (Judy Greer) and granddaughter, rushing to the hospital after trapping Michael in Laurie’s house and setting it on fire.
We also meet Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall), a child originally played by Paul Rudd in the first Halloween movie. He’s all grown up now, a man who still carries the weight of childhood tragedy and longs for revenge.
To nobody’s surprise, Michael Myers escapes the fire at Laurie’s house and we are treated to a violent sequence of murders as firefighters arrive on the scene and get cut down one by one.
The body count in this movie is high, and we say goodbye to several returning and familiar characters from previous Halloween movies.
Fans of the franchise will not be disappointed in the latest iteration of Michael Myers; the rest of us, however, are left with a movie that presents a few interesting questions without answering them and suffers from awkward pacing as it attempts to follow too many characters at once.
One of the more compelling aspects of this movie is Tommy Doyle’s recruitment of other Haddonfield residents to fight Michael Myers, leading a violent mob under the mantra “evil dies tonight.”
Where the movie could have explored the effect of fear on a small town and the dangers of mob mentality, instead we get a brief glimpse in the form of one scene, where the mob chases and kills an innocent man, but faces effectively no consequences.
The highlight of the movie also seems to apologize for its own internal logic; Tommy’s mob finally catches up to Michael, surrounding him and assaulting him relentlessly. As we watch the scene unfold, we hear Jamie Lee Curtis deliver a monologue that vaguely explains how Michael Myers is still alive after all this time, implying that he isn’t human and is sustained by the deaths he causes. The fight turns and the seemingly-defeated Michael Myers ends a few more lives in Haddonfield before credits roll.
Overall, if you want to know whether or not you’ll enjoy this movie, you need only ask yourself if you have enjoyed other movies from the Halloween franchise. Halloween Kills is as good as the franchise has ever been, and if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll find it. For anyone coming into the movie cold or as a simple horror fan, it can be upsetting to see a movie approach something profound and then fumble it. It’s worth remembering, however, that this movie doesn’t promise anything more than a bloody slasher worthy of its name, and in that, it succeeds.
Austin Weiford spends too much time thinking about movies and tv shows. You can find him on Twitter, read more of his writing, or listen to him ruin your favorite movies on his podcast, Better Movie Club.