Movie franchises matter more than movie stars, even when they’re anchored by soulless killers.
The 2018 “Halloween” refresh honored that reality. Sure, the third act disappointed, but director David Gordon Green’s film efficiently restored Michael Myers to the active duty list.
That made Green’s “Halloween Kills,” the second movie in a proposed trilogy, more than just any ol’ sequel, at least on paper. Yet, ultimately, “Kills” is just that, and not a very good one.
Pointless, plotless and overflowing with generic kills, the film feels like a lazy cash grab. Even cinematic serial killers deserve better.
“Halloween Kills” ostensibly picks up exactly where the 2018 ended, except we’re treated to a weak, unnecessary flashback first. It’s 1978, again, and we re-live the events of the original film with a reverence reserved for heads of state.
It’s just a slasher film, gang. We don’t need to treat every peripheral character like royalty.
We do get to see the late Donald Pleasance again as Dr. Loomis in those flashbacks, either via old film clips or by digital innovation. It reminds us we’d rather be watching the 1978 classic one more time than this.
When we finally pick up the action in real time, Laurie Strode and family are getting whisked to the hospital to mend wounds opened in the last film. Meanwhile, fire fighters are racing to her house to douse the blaze Jamie set to reduce Michael Myers to a cinder.
You know what’s coming next, and it’s a glorious peek at the monster’s fury.
Well, the key characters arrive at the hospital, meaning Curtis’ Laurie is essentially out of the action. The main drama becomes the Haddonfield “mob” out to certify their new battle cry.
“Evil dies tonight.”
It’s like they overheard the marketing department’s pitch on the film itself and took it to heart.
We spend way too much time with Tommy (Anthony Michael Hall), who had a brush with Michael 40 odd years ago and now wants revenge. So does the town, a development which the script lazily turns into an attack on their moral character.
Hey, at least it’s more interesting that Michael slicing and dicing random people without a hint of the scares John Carpenter assembled the first time ’round.
“Halloween Kills” is as dopey as most horror entries, with head-scratching moments piling up all over the screenplay. But where are the laughs? The 2018 film offered a few tension-relieving yuks, the kind that make genre movies memorable.
There’s little of that here. The script, once again penned by Green and Danny McBride (with Scott Teems), lacks humor, nuance and characters worth a darn. How the same creative team could rally for a sequel that packs little of what made the last film sparkle is movie magic in reverse.
Judy Greer is wasted as the one Haddonfield resident trying to calm the mob down. And Will Patton, also recovering from Michael’s handiwork, gets a limp backstory the film never needed.
Of course there are Easter eggs and fan service moments, and at times they’re the only things holding the film together.
Michael Myers remains a fascinating figure, from his Shatner mask to his slow, unwavering gait. He’s starred in clunkers and classics alike. Too bad “Halloween Kills” falls in the former category.
HiT or Miss: “Halloween Kills” forgets everything memorable about the 2018 reboot, preferring to follow the slack sequel formula to the letter.