THEATRICAL REVIEW: Gory sequel Halloween Kills slashes all its substance

After three reboots, one remake, and untold sequels, Michael Myers should undoubtedly be played out. But director David Gordon Green’s reimagining and direct sequel to the 1978 classic original hit all the right notes in 2018.

It was gory, featured a worthy plot, a resurgent turn from original star Jamie Lee Curtis, and callbacks to make franchise stalwarts grin.

So the fact my anticipation for Halloween Kills was wasted on this unworthy sequel feels like a cruel joke.

While this sequel boasts some interesting ties to the original film, it also does little to make those stories – or their threads – pay off in the end.

Part torches-and-pitchforks chase of Myers, part waxing poetic meditation on what makes Michael such a monster, neither idea is particularly appealing.

Myers works best when he’s on the hunt, not being hunted, and this film’s attempt to turn the tables on The Shape only serves to make us root for the villain. But what’s really unconscionable is the attempt – wrongly – to humanize Michael Myers, a figure who is so damn scary because he almost seems otherwordly.

The kills are, in a word, spectacular. I will give this film that. When it does get to slashing, it does it in style. But there’s just a bit too much exposition. There is too much going on, and director Gordon Green can’t decide where he wants to go.

He, Danny McBride and Scott Teems combine for a number of vastly different ideas that never convalesce into a cohesive whole.

Jamie Lee Curtis – the strongest actress on-hand – is given literally nothing to do, and the film is buoyed by a supporting turn from the fantastic Judy Greer.

But shifting a large focus to Anthony Michael Hall – yes, Mr. John Hughes movie 80s icon himself – is a fatal mistake. He gives one of the worst performances of the year as a grown up Tommy Doyle, and all I did the entire runtime was pray for him to meet his demise at Myers’ hand.

The fundamentals of this gore-fest are entirely wrong, and it commits some cardinal franchise sins here I can’t even begin to discuss without giving away big spoilers.

Suffice to say, I hope Gordon Green course-corrects with trilogy-ender Halloween Ends, because this one was a monumental disappointment.

2/5 Stars

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