Nutshell Review: Halloween Kills
PG Score: 7.5/10
Halloween Kills was released in theaters on 10/15/21 and is available for streaming on Peacock.
Following an impressive debut in the hallowed slasher saga, Director David Gordon Green (Joe and Prince Avalanche) again finds success at the helm. Boasting a brutal body count of biblical proportions and a steady diet of callbacks to the classic that started it all, Halloween Kills keeps the franchise’s blood pumping.
The sequel picks up immediately after the events of Halloween (2018) with Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) believing she has finally ended Michael Myers’ reign of terror. When he makes it clear he is far from finished, a group of other survivors including her daughter, Karen (Judy Greer), and granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak), join the fight to extinguish Michael’s evil existence once and for all.
John Carpenter, who is the director/co-writer of the 1978 original, once again functions as an executive producer. The revered mastermind’s fingerprints are everywhere as the nostalgia runs deep within the latest installment. The frequent nods to the source material are handled with care and manage to avoid a gimmicky aftertaste for the most part. Kyle Richards, Nancy Stephens, and Charles Cyphers all reprise their roles from the very first film. Seeing the actors return as their characters from over 40 years ago is a joy to watch and adds a layer of authenticity to Halloween Kills.
The breakneck pacing allows the small-town slaying to unfold virtually uninterrupted. However, this comes at a cost as the newest outing is light on scares, and the stalking sequences that the older movies were known for are few and far between. While it lacks the suspense that many longtime fans adore, it counters with an onslaught of creative, graphic executions. Michael unleashes a massacre on a scale previously unseen in a Halloween entry, and the results are gleefully grisly. Furthermore, the atmosphere is quite intense throughout thanks to the masked madman’s ruthless and relentless rampage.
Some of the dialogue and conversations come off as cartoonish, which creates unintentional humor. While this does offer some welcomed comic relief, it also disrupts the tension. Fortunately, the double-edged sword swings to the positive end of the spectrum more often than not. The most significant negative is a Jamie Lee Curtis shortage. Partially due to her injuries sustained in the prior film, Laurie Strode is sidelined for much of the 105-minute runtime and sorely underutilized. While the damage is mitigated by the reappearance of characters from the ‘70s and entertaining new additions to the cast, her reduced screen time still takes a toll.
An Exciting Revival
David Gordon Green continues to prove his moviemaking mettle by faithfully reviving the famed franchise. Placing entertainment value at the forefront, Halloween Kills doubles down on the mayhem and paves the way for what should be an enormously satisfying conclusion next October.