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Review: Halloween Kills – “A total shambles, but I loved it”

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Michael Myers (aka The Shape) in Halloween Kills, directed by David Gordon Green. ‘Halloween Kills’ © 2021 UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

Halloween Kills is, in many ways, a total shambles.

For a film that was pitched as the middle section of a planned trilogy, it feels totally lost at sea. It somehow manages to pick up right where Halloween (2018) left off, whilst simultaneously feeling like it’s from another dimension.

I have to say, on the whole, I loved it and I’m more than happy to die — likely impaled — on that hugely bloody and contradictory hill.

Don’t get me wrong, I stand by it being a mess. It is tonally all over the place at times and in trying to be ambitious (by standard slasher structure, at least), it ends up convoluted and at odds with itself.

Yet it gets so much right and when that happens it absolutely soars. Myers stood with that slight head shift? Check. Moving like a shark, remorseless to his next target? Check. At times, it’s like the greatest hits.

Growing up on John Carpenter films the original is Horror royalty to me. From the day I discovered Dad’s VHS, I was lost in the still images on the back cover. What looked like a ghost, made from a bedsheet. An attack in a closet. Everything about it was that little bit more adult. That little bit out of reach.

As I grew up and John Carpenter relinquished the reins, my interest waned. Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch became my most-watched and, until my recent rewatch, I couldn’t tell you what was ‘Curse Of’, ‘Return Of’ and anything in between.

That rewatch does show up that the series as a whole has always been absolutely bonkers. B-movies parading as horror royalty on their namesake. Mostly tawdry re-runs, with the occasional good idea.

Halloween (2018) took some of my favourite good ideas — namely how Laurie Strode will be, some 40 years later. Still traumatised, but street smart.

H20 covered this 20 odd years ago, mind. So I had high hopes that ‘Kills’ was going to take this idea — and the idea of what legacy that night in 1978 & 2018 would leave — and run (or fast walk) with it. It spectacularly bungles that element and I think that’s why you’ve seen a swathe of one-star reviews.

They’ve mostly got fair points. Messy. Poor characterisation. Shoddy structure. A mob taking on Myers has huge potential, but two films have now bungled the idea.

I can’t argue with much of the criticism.

But! What they seem to miss is that, as I said earlier, when it soars, it soars.

You want a nostalgic hit of that night in 1978? You’ve got it. In fact, have Jim Cummings (who I adore), somewhat randomly stealing the opening scene, too. So much of the first 10 minutes is phenomenal. Yet there are warning signs, even then, that David Gordon Green doesn’t quite know how to stitch it together.

Already, on a second play-through, it doesn’t play as well. We jump timelines and storylines in a really unnecessary way — making everything feel clunkier and more disparate than it was going to be already.

But when GG gets it right, he absolutely nails it. Whether it’s a fight out on the lawn, or — quite chillingly — those images of Michael Myers standing with a house ablaze behind him. The images feel iconic and respectful to 1978 in the very best way. Some cameos and links back. The right amount of respect.

I’ve seen it twice now, and I’ll watch it again before my Peacock subscription ends, which is testament to how it flies by.

But I’ll roll my eyes as much as I fist pump the air and for Halloween Ends they must raise the bar again.

What should’ve been a momentums push into the finale, feels more like a limp, at times. Thankfully it’s a limp because Myers has stamped on someone’s ankle, and likely impaled them with something. Because, if we’re honest, that’s why you’re watching.

In that regard, it more than delivers.

I can’t wait to have discussions with those that liked it, that disliked Rob Zombies take. Because I struggle to see how you can like one and not the other.

Maybe he was on to something all along…..

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