Evil dies tonight.
Halloween Kills is a 2021 slasher film directed by David Gordon Green, written by Scott Teems, David Gordon Green, and Danny McBride, produced by Miramax, Blumhouse Productions, Trancas International Pictures, and Rough House Productions, and distributed by Universal Pictures. The film stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Andi Matichak. It was not nominated for any Academy Awards. This is the twelfth film in the Halloween franchise, although the third in the Final Timeline. It was preceded by Halloween and will be followed by Halloween Ends.
"He's the essence of evil." -Laurie Strode
After leaving Michael Myers to burn in her house, Laurie Strode, her daughter, Karen, and her granddsaughter, Allyson, are rushed to the hospital. When Michael miraculously escapes the fire, his murderous rampage through Haddonfield continues. The return of the Boogeyman send the town into a craze as they start an angry mob to hunt down and kill him once and for all.
Horror / Michael Myers / Themes of Fear and Evil / Score / Strode Women / Surprising Story Elements / Ending / Ties to the Original Halloween / Sidelining Laurie / Subplots / Overstuffed / Comedy Breaking Tension
The Halloween movies just get scarier and scarier, don't they?
Halloween Kills is a brutal movie with inventive violence and a terrifying main antagonist. Michael Myers has never been scarier than he is in this movie. But I will talk about him later. Besides the wondrous kills, the atmosphere of this film is just so dark and so bleak. It almost felt like the depressing world of A Quiet Place. This is a world in which evil rules, and that's very evident in the movie. Beyond that, none of the characters are confident that they can beat Michael, which makes the film somehow scarier. He is legitimately unstoppable, and there's something about that that really makes me shiver.
And this movie solidifies Michael Myers as the greatest horror movie villain ever. He is at his most merciless, menacing, and violent. The characters talk about him a lot, and it's an interesting way to tackle the character. Michael doesn't really have a ton of screen time until the last fifteen minutes of the movie, but he has a presence throughout that's incredibly unsettling. You see how his character affects all of our other characters. It really utilizes him as a character instead of a killing machine.
And, yes. Halloween Kills has running themes throughout the film. It talks a lot about fear and evil, which are the things that Michael Myers feeds off of. The characters are all scared and realize how inhumane Michael is, which makes these themes very prominent in the movie. The catchphrase throughout the film is "Evil dies tonight!" which runs parallel to these themes of evil and fear. Even in the closing lines of the film, Laurie really pays the themes off by stating something about Michael that sets up Halloween Ends.
And it's a Halloween movie. So you have to talk about the score. The film doesn't really use the traditional theme song all that much, and when it does, it sounds different than usual, which I thought was really cool. It uses some more of the sound effects and music tropes present in the other films rather than Michael's iconic theme itself.
The trio of Strode women are really great in this movie, too. They all balance each other out. Laurie is limited by her injuries throughout the film, even though she wants to go and fight Michael. Karen acts as the voice of reason. She wants both Laurie and Allyson to stay safe, putting herself out there in the process. And Allyson is a teenage girl that experienced her friends and dad being murdered firsthand. So she immediately goes out and wants to hunt Michael Myers down.
The film also has some extremely surprising moments. It went in directions I did not expect. The first ten minutes of the film takes a very different route than I thought it would, but I really liked it. And it does wander off from the usual slasher template. Of course, there are still tons and tons of guts and blood as well as the slasher tropes that Scream makes fun of, but it does take the characters and story in a different direction than I expected. And I really, really liked that.
The ending is also amazing. It leaves off on a huge cliffhanger that makes me super pumped for Halloween Ends. It does the classic Empire Strikes Back ending, where we are at the darkest point in the series. The last few shots even remind me of The Empire Strikes Back. At first, it seems like it's going to be a lackluster ending that doesn't really satisfy. It does something extremely obvious and follows it up with a shocking scene that is an absolute stab in the heart.
The film also really ties back to the original Halloween from 1978. It brings back characters from that film as well as having really smart parallels that I enjoyed. Things that happened in 1978 matter in Halloween Kills. If you have not seen the original Halloween, you have to watch it before Halloween Kills. You won't understand a lot of what's going on if you have not seen that movie. Also, the first Halloween is great. And I love that the film acknowledges it.
Easily the biggest problem with Halloween Kills is the sidelining of Laurie Strode. Jamie Lee Curtis does not have near enough screen time in this movie. Honestly, I wouldn't even call her the main protagonist of this film. She's simply not in enough of it. And the parts that she is in, she's laying down in the hospital. Now, of course, you can't have her run off and fight Michael right after she's been stabbed. But she should do something. And her character feels kind of pointless in this movie. I know she will have much more to do in Halloween Ends, but she's the protagonist of the Halloween movies. She has to be in more of it.
The film also has a few subplots that feel unnecessary. There's a certain subplot involving another escaped patient from the mental institution that I just did not like. It felt forced and out of place inside of Halloween Kills. The subplot is there for character development, but that's the only thing it really does. And that is not the way to write a subplot. The plot itself isn't developed. It's just used as a metaphor for something that changes our characters.
Halloween Kills is also really overstuffed. There's a lot going on in this movie. You have almost an ensemble cast of characters, with each one having a different location in this movie. It does a lot of plot-hopping in the middle act of the film. Characters will disappear for long stretches of the film and you will be wondering what's going on with them. Now, the plot lines do converge in a great third act, but still. It's got a lot going on.
Halloween 2018 had this problem, too, but Halloween Kills uses comedy to break tension some time. The biggest example of this is with the two Johns. There is a gay couple named Little John and Big John that are used as comic relief inside of the film, but they also don't really service the story and they break tension with their comedy. They are absolutely hilarious and one of the funniest things in a horror movie, but there are times when you don't want them to be funny and they are.
Analogy and Final Score
Halloween 1978 was a Thanksgiving dinner. It revolutionized the use of cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. In this case, the cranberry sauce represents the slasher genre. Halloween 2018 re-ignited the cranberry sauce while not serving up as good of a serving of turkey. Halloween Kills gives us delicious cranberry sauce while also serving up a turkey that is as good, if not better, than the original Halloween's turkey.
Halloween Kills is one of my favorite horror movies and easily one of the best slasher films ever.
I'm going Sweet here. Age range is 18+.
SWEET N' SOUR SCALE
Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad) Moldy (Terrible)
Fun Factor: 9.5/10
Directed by David Gordon Green
Rated R for strong bloody violence, scary images, language, disturbing themes, thematic elements
Released on October 15, 2021
1 hour and 46 minutes
Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode
Judy Greer as Karen Nelson
Andi Matichak as Allyson Nelson
Anthony Michael Hall as Tommy Doyle
Will Patton as Officer Frank Hawkins
Robert Longstreet as Lonnie Elam
Kyle Richards as Lindsey Wallace
Charles Cyphers as Leigh Brackett
Scott MacArthur as Big John
Michael McDonald as Little John
Dylan Arnold as Cameron Elam
James Jude Courtney as Michael Myers