“Halloween Kills” is once again written and directed by David Gordon Green and is the sequel to the previous 2018 Halloween film. Following immediately after the ending of the last one, Michael Myers escapes from Laurie Strode’s (Jamie Lee Curtis) trap to continue his reign of terror over Haddonfield. Injured and taken to the hospital, Laurie fights through the pain as she inspires residents of the town to rise up against Myers. Taking matters into their own hands, the Strode women and other survivors form a vigilante mob to hunt down Michael and end his reign of terror once and for all.

When it comes to how an audience member will feel about this next installment in the iconic franchise, it’s more than likely going to come down to what you’re wanting out of a Halloween movie. If you’re just there to solely to see Michael Myers brutally murder a bunch of innocent people, then this is definitely the movie for you. However, if you’re wanting a little more meat on the bones in terms of story and want to see Jamie Lee Curtis’s Laure Strode go toe-to-toe with her infamous rival, then you’re going to be leaving feeling a little disappointed in what this film has to offer.

I personally was definitely in the latter camp in terms of my reaction to this movie. This movie feels like the studio wanted David Gordon Green to create a trilogy out of the franchise and he knew what he wanted to do with the beginning and end of it, but was stuck on what to do with the middle portion. This entire story is pure filler setting up what will hopefully be an iconic face-off between Laurie and Michael. There is very little character development from anyone and in terms of plot, there really isn’t any. Once the next film, “Halloween Ends,” comes out next year and you can watch all three back-to-back, maybe this will find its purpose, but as a singular film on its own, it’s lacking in a lot of aspects.

Jamie Lee Curtis’s Laurie Strode started this franchise back in 1978 and is one of if not probably the most iconic Screen Queen in cinematic history. She’s the embodiment of feminism and has never really been afraid to stand up to Michael and give it to him the best she can. One of the best parts of any Halloween film, and especially the 2018 one, is when Michael and Laurie face off. Unfortunately Laurie spends the entire film in a hospital bed and probably only has about 10-15 minutes of screen time in total. I understand that her character just got badly injured and is much older than she was in the first film over 40 years ago, but Laurie is a badass character so seeing her restrained to a hospital the entire film is just disappointing to watch.

Laurie’s screen time is instead replaced by an angry mob filled with Haddonfield citizens and characters from Halloween’s past. I can see where Green and the rest of his screenwriting team were trying to go with this “mob mentality” theme and message throughout this film, but it doesn’t land all that well. It feels very surface level and it somehow simultaneously both doesn’t go deep enough into exploring it and isn’t subtle enough in depicting it. It really got obnoxious at times and made the characters we’re asked to root for feel very unlikable.

There are some comedy elements here, more so than most Halloween films, and the jokes do produce some laughs, but they don’t always work.

Even when they do work, they do take away some of the tension and almost always the jokes take place in the middle of tense scenes.

There are also plenty of jokes that absolutely do not land well and I heard quite a few groans and people in my theater laughing at the jokes, not because of them.

Like I said, if your sole purpose for watching a Halloween movie is to see Michael Myers kill a bunch of people and the gore and violence that comes out of that, then man are you in for a treat this Halloween season. This is probably one of the bloodiest Halloween movies to date and has one of if not the highest kill count by Michael ever. He is brutal with his kills and Green rarely hides any of the murders from the audience.

There is one scene where Michael slides a knife into the bottom of someone’s eye and it looks incredibly real. There are some really creative kills here with my favorite involving an LED light probably being a top 10 kill of any horror film of all time. The kills are undoubtedly great and there are some thrilling scenes, but they more so work separately as individual clips and don’t really come together as a cohesive narrative.

If you’re any type of a fan of this franchise, definitely check this out for the sole reason that it is the next installment of the franchise, but your enjoyment of it will entirely depend on what you are wanting to get out of it. Unfortunately this one didn’t do it for me. “Halloween Kills” is currently playing in theaters and streaming on Peacock for fans to check out.

Jordan Wooodson can be reached at jwoodson@thecabin.net

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