Halloween Kills

Halloween Kills ★★

went into this honestly feeling kinda generous because i bought into the 2018 film's very mainstream simplicity more than i think others did; the recreation of the scope compositions and basic economy and grisliness worked for me, the way it honed in on the fated confrontation of laurie/michael but one that's been stewing in rage and isolation for 40 years (and the rippling familial repercussions of that), etc. but i was lost almost instantly with this one. it essentially sidelines the strode family drama and almost drops laurie entirely (a mistake the original H2 made as well, somehow zombie was the only one to get this right with his go at a sequel) so that it can do a deeply stupid and dull, half-baked remix of the "bad" Halloween sequels its trying to erase/replace???

you have the same night continuation in a hospital of H2, you have the town-wide reckoning with the history of michael (including starting a panicked militia) of H4, you have insane attempts at years-later callback lore of characters you forgot from the first film of H6 (apparently they even tried to get paul rudd back for this???) which is all sloppily melded together into the moronic nothingness of watching characters you don't know (half of them have to shout each others names at each other while they're being killed) either get some kind of moralizing comeuppance for being trigger happy or get simply brutally killed by michael who is mostly just walking around i guess. with a title like Kills you would guess that that's what works but sadly even the gore started to lose impact for me after awhile 1) because its not as effectively shot/cut as you'd hope 2) it's happening to characters you don't know let alone have any vested interest in half the time 3) everything stitching its violent setpieces together was so laughably conceived.

who's the real monster? michael myers or mob justice? obviously michael myers?? next question?? somehow the movie thinks this is a deep thematic concern and assumes you think that as well even though it makes no sense up against the supposed pure, metaphysical evil of myers the movie keeps hammering at you while characters are literally saying things like "michael myers has infected you with grief and trauma for 40 years!" (has he? hasn't there been 40 years of peace and quiet?) or "michael is the fear that divides us" or "it appears we are the monsters now" while mournful music plays over the (spoiler?) mistaken suicide of an innocent mental patient the entire town including civilians, doctors, cops, kids, literally everyone thought was michael. (not even as ugly as H4 where they literally gun a man down by accident.)

there are so many ham-fisted and hilarious Morally Dramatic cues directed at characters who are practically faceless and are driven by some sort of farcical psychological impulse the movie doesn't even try to develop or understand beyond depicting as obviously bad, while also not having it get to the point where it rivals the pain or destruction of the on-screen death montage that michael is doing in the cross-cutting. it's hard to overstate how insane the cognitive dissonance in this truly is. it's barely an idea for a movie let alone an actual movie. a better movie would actually give the mob not just sympathetic detail but logic and get swept up in the gradual hysteria with them, but that would mean needing to write characters and be thorny enough that the premise would no longer make a good press junket soundbite about how michael takes on MAGA or something.

idk maybe i remember gordon green and mcbride's last stab at this as more thematically sound than it was but every piece of character work being attempted here had me rolling. the sheer ridiculousness of how quickly they all lose their minds because the script requires them to and how little it ends up mattering by the end (where we end up in the exact same place this film started at but now with the reasserted knowledge that michael, though a formidable physical threat, is obviously much more than that in a way no human evil could compete with, which duh) AND how seriously the characters are forced to discuss these insanely stupid events as if they do make emotional/psychological sense because you have to remember these aren't the lame Halloween sequels of the past (and we want to provide fan-service for while also ignoring?), no these ones are About Things. even if they aren't About those Things very well, if at all.

anyway, not good, im going to assume because they just didn't know how to write themselves out of the decent ending they already came up with for their late sequel on the last go, with the strode family coming out victorious but scarred, together. however i will confess to still appreciating how green has gone about recreating the visual-sonic vibes of these movies (i didn't actually hate the look of the flashback sequences like it appears some others did) and there are a few nasty kills worth witnessing (the opening bit with the firefighters and that one dude getting his eyes poked out especially), but at that point i was genuinely wondering why i wasn't just watching a Friday the 13th kill compilation youtube video. wouldn't have to sit through the boring, self-serious nonsense to get to that stuff.

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