The middle part of a trilogy often has a difficult hurdle to overcome. It can’t simply repeat the plot points of its predecessor but can’t wrap up the story in any kind of finite way. And this is where Halloween Kills excels. Much like the original Halloween 2, this movie continues the ‘night he came home’ immediately following the events of Halloween 2018. And that premise is essentially the plot of the movie. We see Laurie and her family struggle with the physical and emotional fallout of their encounter with Michael Myers while the survivors of the 1978 ordeal join with other citizens to hunt down the Shape. Ted Hollister, look out.
As Michael brutally makes his way from Laurie’s burning compound to his childhood home, he leaves a string of dead bodies in his wake. Like the ’78 Myers, this version often has a playful take on his victim’s circumstances. From the Judith Myers tombstone in bed with Annie in the original to the arrangement of the couple living in his house to match a photo of them, this version of Michael strays—in a good way—from the rigid, mindless hulk of the latter sequels of the 80’s and 90’s.
I see criticism of the amount of screen time that Jamie Lee Curtis has in this outing. While I somewhat agree, I don’t think she was intended to be the lead of this movie. Michael Myers played that role in this film. This was his movie in every way.
The pre-credits ’78 recreation and it’s follow-up later in the movie featuring Officer Hawkins’ backstory adds the biggest twist to the lore of that Halloween night. It not only shows how Michael was originally captured, but it also adds a shocking revelation that Loomis tried to kill Michael and was stopped by Hawkins. It could’ve all ended right there, but once again Loomis is thwarted. The appearance of Loomis as non-CGI actor produced a more than adequate recreation of Donald Pleasance, while bringing in an important part of Halloween history.
The only part of the movie that seemingly dragged on longer than I would have preferred was the hospital scene. Haddonfield Memorial acts as a base for the citizens of the Illinois-based burg but is never a hunting ground for Myers. The purpose of these scenes was to establish the monster of the movie. Not the Shape himself, but the mob that Laurie has inadvertently created in her own vendetta against the boogeyman. The death of the escaped Smiths Grove/Warren County Sanitarium patient illustrates how the monster can kill without a single swipe of a butcher knife.
The return of classic Halloween characters—Marion, Lindsey, Lonnie, Brackett and Tommy were welcome, but in most cases felt forced. Do they all just hang out together? Was Marion even from Haddonfield in the original? The fact that all of them are killed early on, save for Lindsey who just disappears, seems that it only allows cameos for all but Tommy (now played by Anthony Michael Hall).
The final analysis of the motivation for Michael is that he doesn’t care about any of his victims—including Laurie. He only cared about getting home to look out his window on All Hallow’s Eve. But the question is—why now? Was the introduction of the mask by the podcasters in Halloween 2018 akin to lighting a match or throwing a switch? Perhaps that will be answered in the final installment, Halloween Ends. But it is clear after the conversation with Hawkins that Laurie’s whole motivation for the past 40 years was all in her head. And that is perfect. Her single-minded vendetta against Myers wasn’t wrong (after all, he did come home again), but it did prove deadly for her family. When it was revealed that Michael had escaped, Laurie, Karen and Allison could’ve booked the next flight to anywhere and Myers couldn’t have cared less.
And finally, the most shocking scenes, for me, are those coming at the end of the film. The analogies to Frankenstein are subtle. The mob hunting the monster. The overzealous protagonist. The monster who keeps coming back for more. Reviewers are saying the brutal attack by the Haddonfield mob confirms Michael is supernatural ala Freddy or Jason. I disagree. While he is severely injured, I don’t think it’s any more so than in the other sequels. After all, between 4 and 5 it took him a whole year to heal up. And the final reveal of Michael in his sister’s room and the apparent murder of Karen is completely unexpected. In the first viewing, I thought Karen was going to discover something about Michael, Judith or the house that would give more credibility to what Michael was seeing out the window—but no, he was waiting for her in the shadows.
So, was Halloween Kills a good movie? Absolutely. Was it better than its predecessor? I'm not sure I can answer that yet. There's a lot to like here. It’s clear the shape is coming back for one more outing with Laurie. The rumors say there will be a time jump to present day and the ending will be a twist. Could the real Michael Myers have actually died in ’63? Was all this in Laurie’s head? Did Judith actually survive? Will Dr. Loomis return again? Was Haddonfield built over an ancient druid burial ground? Who knows? But I can’t wait to find out!