By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

The Halloween slasher saga continues, and does so with an interesting, but not as solidly conceived sequel as the previous installment. Director David Gordon Green’s approach to his follow-up movie seems like it aims to please the gore and stylized killing fans, but can’t quite seem to have a complete grasp on a particular message that the movie could/should deliver. The result is a film that is entertaining in the ways that horror movies should be, but one that reflects a struggle to advance the lore in some powerful ways.

When we last saw the characters, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), her daughter Karen (Judy Greer), and Laurie’s granddaughter and Karen’s daughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) had trapped Michael Myers, aka The Shape (James Jude Courtney/Nick Castle), in Laurie’s basement and proceeded to incinerate him and the entire house. Of course, the cunning killer manages to escape. As a result of this violent battle, Laurie suffered a serious knife wound and has been rushed to Haddonfield’s hospital. With Michael on the loose and the people of Haddonfield in serious danger, Michael’s survivors from 1978, Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall), Lindsey Wallace (Kyle Richards), Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens), and Lonnie Elam (Robert Longstreet), discover that the attacker from years ago has returned and continued his path of carnage that has left them traumatized ever since. With the town of Haddonfield in an uproar, a mob mentality snowballs among the people of the town, wreaking further havoc and chaos.

Written and directed by Green, who co-wrote the film with Scott Teems and Danny McBride, Halloween Kills is a solid movie overall, but gets messy when it comes to what it aspires to accomplish. Though Green and his co-writers want to make a statement on humanity and how trauma can corrupt said humanity, the filmmakers don’t successfully convey a completely coherent moral to their story. That is not to say that the movie isn’t highly watchable and riveting in a lot of moments. The movie does deliver some gnarly kills, solid suspense, and enough decent contributions to the Halloween lore to keep fans invested in this chapter and longing for another. Green and cinematographer Michael Simmonds give the movie a gorgeous look and Halloween founding father John Carpenter delivers another incredible score to help remedy this movie’s shortcomings.

And most of the cast performs quite well. Jamie Lee Curtis obviously has the perfect grasp of her iconic character and shines beautifully. Returning actors Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, and Will Patton also have much passion for the material and give heartfelt performances. It is definitely wonderful to see both Kyle Richards and Nancy Stephens reprise their roles as Lindsey Wallace and Marion Chambers from the original movie. Though a newcomer to the franchise, Anthony Michael Hall performs fervidly as the adult Tommy Doyle.

To compare this movie to sequels in other franchises, I would have to say that Halloween Kills is the Back to the Future II of the Halloween saga. While the film shows some bold and interestng choices on the part of the filmmakers, it doesn’t quite accomplish what it predecessor(s) does and definitely leaves one longing to see what they have planned for the conclusion. I still recommend this movie for all the Halloween fans out there, but certainly encourage them to temper their expectations.

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