Here we are again. Reaffirming what Malevolent Dark has been saying for years. The Halloween franchise has a depth problem. it really does, and frantic attempts at sequels will not change that. We now have the second act of the recent Halloween revival, Halloween Kills (2021) as damning evidence of our case. The truth of the matter is that this franchise has been dead since 1981.
Any attempts to resuscitate it will require more than Kenny Powers can muster.
The Real Reason that Halloween Sequels Suck
Malevolent dark will let you in on a little franchise secret. It’s a secret long discovered by the original director of the franchise, John Carpenter. The story of Michael Myers carries about as much water as cheese-cloth with a hole in it. Seriously. The goal here is not to utterly destroy a revered horror icon. We simply seek to tell it how it is. The sooner we all realize it, the easier it will be to manage our disappointment.
When the franchise decided to rekindle the story in 2018, they also chose to ignore any previous attempts to develop a deeper narrative surrounding Michael Myers. They stripped Michael Myers of a motive. Without a motive, Michael Myers simply fails to carry subsequent films. Michael Myers becomes the poster child for one dimensional slashers.
Retconning a Legacy
There is no lazier move in the game than quietly ignoring reels upon reels of film in order to relaunch a franchise. Halloween (2018) did just this. The producers simply ignored everything except the 1978 original material. After pruning decades of material, all that remained amounted to anemic fan service.
The next lazy move involved dusting off the “Sarah Conners” trope by making Laurie Strode a survivalist badass. Eyes rolling hard.
All in all, the resulting movie wasn’t horrible, but it was also painfully irrelevant. The film was supposed to appear like a cathartic finale, but actually became the launching point for a trilogy of films. Had Michale Myers burnt alive in the Laurie’s fortress of implausibility, they would have done other than to land at the exact place that the retconned Halloween II landed.
Halloween Kills (2021)
Halloween Kills kicks off exactly where its predecessor left off. Laurie Strode escapes the burning shell of her home while Michael Myers lies trapped in the cellar. Immediately, director David Gordon Green struggles to find something new to say about Halloween.
One technique Green employs is to set up the “Who is the real monster? Him or us” storyline. He does this by introducing Anthony Michael Hall as Tommy Doyle. Tommy would eventually lead a mob of Haddonfield’s finest while shouting “Evil Dies Tonight”. Green slow-plays this plot device to a predictable outcome later in the film.
Another technique involves finding any historical collateral from the original film in a strained attempt to establish bonafides. He does this with such candor that it is immediately clear that the director is setting up meat for the slaughter. This bundle of throwbacks include Sheriff Bracket and Dr. Loomis’ former assistance. He then stretches when they introduce Cameron’s father, Lonnie Elam.
But Wait, There’s More
Further confusing the film, David Gordon Green and the writers weave retcon tales of a young deputy Hawkins. At one moment Myers struggles with his partner and Hawkins takes an ill advised shot and shoots his partner in the throat. In another moment that he regrets, he prevents Dr. Loomis from performing a ‘Fatality’ on Myers with a bullet to the head. Before they even complete the setup, this plot filler writhes on the ground and gasps for air.
Finally, in one of the more profound instances of self-induced injury, Deputy Hawkins informs Laurie Strode that Michael isn’t after her. Michael just happened to be in the neighborhood that night. For the duration of the film, Jamie Lee Curtis struggles with her own irrelevance to an enterprise that she built her career on.
Halloween Kills a Bunch of People… Poorly
Back to the beginning, Michael Myers patiently waits as Laurie Strode’s house crumble in flames around him. A Laurie screams as she hears the fire brigade rushing to put out the flames. Upon arrival, one of the firemen inconveniently, or conveniently if you are David Gordon Green, falls through the floor and into the basement with Myers. Details withheld, thus begins Michael Myer’s ascent from the basement.
Once freed from the flaming confines of the home, Myers confronts the firemen in a ridiculous slaughter that strains credulity. One by one the firemen walk into certain doom, much like branches into a wood-chipper. What’s worse is that Green replays this same ridiculous slaughter at the end of film as Myers dismantles a street mob screaming “Evil Dies Tonight”.
Apart from the mass slaughters, and to be fair, Halloween Kills does have a few descent kills that will keep slasher fans interested.
Finally, an Easter Egg Worth Finding
For all the lame historical tie-ins, one stands above the others. All three Silver Shamrock masks make an appearance in the film! Our love for Halloween III is well documented. Despite our love for the masks, this marks the one throwback that didn’t feel so contrived. It was simply a nice tip of the cap to the most maligned entry in the Halloween archives.
Halloween Kills – A Mess of Epic Proportions
It couldn’t be more clear that the producer of this film did not have a plan. To be fair, the deck stacks against them. The saga of Michael Myers is NOT the the Lord of the Rings. There is no rich mythology to tap into. What’s worse, any mythology that was there was discarded like so much trash. Accordingly, this film suffers mightily. It becomes very clear, very fast that this film is nothing but filler. Sometimes filler is okay, but let’s not pretend that it is anything but.
For those fans that just can’t get enough of Michael Myers, possibly this film offers some thrills. Just don’t expect anything profound or compelling along the way.
We were not fans of Halloween (2018), so this film already had an epic hill to climb. Our conclusion is that Halloween Kills at best fails to provide anything at all to move the franchise forward. At worst, it drags the franchise backward and then paints it into an inescapable corner.
We already know that the third installment is titled Halloween Ends. We can only hope.
Halloween Kills (2021) - Kills My Love For Halloween - Malevolent Dark
Director: David Gordon Green
Date Created: 2021-01-01 00:00