- Film & TV
- 15 Oct 21
HALLOWEEN KILLS Directed by David Gordon Green. Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Anthony Michael Hall, Judy Greer, Andy Matichak. 105 mins. Out now.
The Halloween franchise has had a somewhat chequered 21st century history. Rob Zombie had a couple of, er, stabs at reviving it, neither of which set the world on fire. Somewhat unexpectedly, David Gordon Green hit paydirt with 2018’s retcon outing Halloween, which received positive reviews, and also grossed a colossal quarter-of-a-billion dollars on a budget of $15 million.
The inevitable sequel, Halloween Kills, should also find favour with horror aficionados, even if it has something of a place-holder feel: the Gordon Green era has now become a trilogy, with the final installment – Halloween Ends – due for release 12 months hence. Central to the appeal of Gordon Green’s Halloween was the involvement of both the original film’s iconic heroine, Jamie Lee Curtis, and franchise creator John Carpenter, who contributed a characteristically bravura score alongside son Cody.
Thankfully, the Curtis/Carpenter dream-team are back in situ for Halloween Kills, which has much to recommend it. The story alternates between the events of 1978, when the vaguely supernatural Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) carried out his first killing spree in Haddonfield, and the present day, where Myers has returned to terrorise the town’s inhabitants.
Among them, of course, are Laurie Strode (Curtis) – hospitalised after an attack in the previous film – and her daughter Karen (Judy Greer), somewhat unfortunately named in the current cultural moment. Once again, the movie reminds us that Michael Myers is one of the all-time great cinematic villains.
A chilling evocation of unholy evil, utterly devoid of any semblance of soul or humanity, Myers strongly recalls Dublin’s five-in-a-row team under Jim Gavin. He also appears to be attending the same physio as the evergreen Zlatan Ibrahimovic; fully 43 years after first surfacing, Myers still moves with remarkable agility.
Myers’ various killings – including one accomplished via strikingly imaginative use of a fluorescent light tube – are horror filmmaking at its best: atmospheric, suspenseful, satisfyingly gory. Elsewhere, one of the biggest shocks come from realising that the burly Tommy Doyle, a Haddonfield resident who leads the fight against Myers, is played by Anthony Michael Hall, unrecognisable from the geeky teenager he portrayed many moons ago in The Breakfast Club. (One of the great “what-ifs” of ’80s movies is Stanley Kubrick’s original plan to cast Hall in the Matthew Modine part in Full Metal Jacket).
However, the beating heart of the film, and the franchise, remains Curtis, who again excels as the tough but emotionally – and physically – scarred Laurie. In the debit column, there are a couple too many scenes where the townsfolk gather to hell variations on “Let’s kill this bastard!”, and the denouement firmly kicks for touch ahead of next year’s no-doubt lucrative finale.
Nonetheless, it’s a welcome dark pleasure to again see that flattened William Shatner mask, fittingly in the week Shatner became the oldest person ever to travel into space. See you this time next year for the final grisly push.
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