Despite the new Michael Myers film killing it at the box office with $50.4 million this past weekend, the terror harkens to classic played out horror cliches. Halloween Kills opened last Friday in theaters and on NBC’s streaming platform Peacock.
Myers comes in swinging, his knife that is and once again defeats all those who come up against him. The film asks for us to dangle in suspended belief quite often, especially when the masked madman defeats a slew of firemen with axes, countless guns, is constantly getting stabbed himself and survives a blazing fire. But isn’t this why we watch Halloween films, for the ridiculous narrative of a mysterious killer who no one can seem to kill?
If the viewer hasn’t seen the original Halloween or the 2018 Halloween, it might be slightly hard to follow as this one takes place immediately after the 2018 film. Jamie Lee Curtis’ reprises her role as Laura and we find Curtis alongside her daughter Karen played by Judy Greer and Andi Matichak as Allyson the granddaughter, thinking they defeated Myers in a cabin fire. Of course he survives because why not? At least that’s what most of the film felt like, an extended killing spree with no understanding of motives from the antagonist Myers.
It’s gore galore right out of the gate or fenced Midwestern suburbia, Michael spares no one in his path. The director David Gordon Green, ramps up the carnage. In a scene inside Michael Myers old home, he brutally murders a couple who had taken over his old murder house. Big John, played by Scott MacArther gets stabbed in the armpit and without hesitation, Myers pushes his thumbs into Big John’s eyeballs. I suggest covering your eyeballs if blood and guts makes you squeamish because there is no shortage of bloodbaths.
Certain parts of the film made it feel like the writers were out of touch but since the ridiculousness of everything in the film was so extreme, it could’ve been deliberate. There were a couple of pathetic lines such as when the character Lonnie Elam played by Robert Longstreet talked about scoring peyote with Allyson’s dad back when they were young. He even goes on to say they took it with a shaman on Lake Cherokee. Let’s cut to the eye roll. Maybe it was cool to exploit the tribal practice of the indigenous Southern American and North Mexican tribes in the 1960’s but this type of careless writing doesn’t have a place in modern cinema. Peyote is a sacred tribal practice not a drug to score, it’s time to drop the ignorant bit in the trash.
Another horror cliche we can throw in the trash is that mental patients are evil. Can this narrative die yet? Granted the film turns it into an accident, that a giant mob ultimately leads a mentally ill man to jump to his death. Initially, he was only looking for help and rightfully went to the hospital and since no one really knew what Myers looked like, they mistook him for the masked killer. This was all because a few scenes earlier Tommy Doyle, played by Anthony Michael Hall, promises the crowd of scared townspeople that “evil dies tonight.” It’s no spoiler to say it doesn’t. This is a trilogy and you can bet Mr. Myers will brandish that knife again during Halloween Dies in 2022.
After many people in the town of Haddonfield become overwhelmingly impacted by this one man, they spiral into a frenzy and become senselessly chaotic, which I wish I could say didn’t mirror actual events (coughs January 6th). At this point we finally realize that maybe Michael Myers isn’t a human. After every pitchfork to the back, knife to the chest, you could bet this guy is going to get right back up. Which led Curtis’ character to point out his seeming immortality. “I always thought Michael Myers was flesh and blood just like you and me but a mortal man could not have survived what he’s lived through. The more he kills, the more he transcends into something else, impossible to defeat. Fear. People are afraid. That is the true curse of Michael.”
The movie follows the old horror format that leaves many wanting more. Michael Myers is an infamous character in film, the love his groupies have for him has never died and new fans seem to mysteriously lurk in as steadily as his slow psychotic stride. I wouldn’t say the film is campy because the actors do deliver and the gore is grossly believable. It is hysterically over the top but I think it’s just what the Michael Myers stans will enjoy. If you’re not a full fledged fan, don’t expect too much more than a classic horror film with little to no understanding as to why or how our leading man is so mysterious and murderous.
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