Directed by David Gordon Green
Rated R (language/grisly images/some drug use/strong bloody violence)
When it was announced in 2017 that the talented director David Gordan Green (“George Washington,” “Pineapple Express,” “Stronger”) was going to reboot the aging “Halloween” franchise, he had what sounded like an inspired idea: Make a new sequel to John Carpenter’s 1978 film and pretend like all of those other lousy sequels and remakes never happened.
As a result, 2018’s “Halloween” erased the entire previous canon, and the results were surprisingly good. Jamie Lee Curtis looked like she was having the time of her life playing the middle-aged and chronically paranoid Laurie Strode, the original almost-victim of psycho killer Michael Myers. The 40-years-in-the-making sequel was cleverly plotted, inventively directed, and wisely chose not to take itself very seriously.
With “Halloween Kills” Green has made the sequel to the sequel, and one has to wonder: Did he learn anything when he pressed the reset button three years ago?
The new film picks up seconds after the last one ended with Officer Hawkins (Will Patton) bleeding from everywhere after being sliced open by Michael Myers’ demented psychiatrist, Dr. Sartrain. Meanwhile, Laurie Strode (Curtis) believes mistakenly that Michael has been burned alive. Spoiler alert: He has not.
From there, the plot pretty much sticks to the basics: Michael Myers wants to kill people, these people do not want to be killed, but Michael kills them anyway. The classic three-act structure of functioning cinema is reduced to a big swollen blob of strategizing, screaming, running and stabbing… not always in that order.
Part of the reason for all of the bloodshed at the hands of Michael is that the residents of Haddonfield are apparently the thickest community in America. Of course, the characters cannot observe the world of “Halloween,” but have these ding-dongs ever seen a horror film? Don’t they know that decapitation is the only way to ensure that Jason or Freddy or Chucky won’t spring up again like they have 500 times before? Haven’t they heard of a light switch?
Now that I think about it, why have the good people of Haddonfield continued to live there all this time? You’d think a mute serial-killing hometown celebrity who cannot be stopped might negatively impact property values and standardized test scores.
This sort of thing may not matter to horror movie apologists, but the fact that the filmmakers couldn’t write their way out of such obvious holes speaks to the creative vacuum in which this film lives.
Finally, the Universal marketing department doesn’t want you to know this, but Jamie Lee Curtis is hardly in the film at all, and when she does appear, she has one boring conversation after another while recovering in her hospital bed. As a poor substitute, we’re stuck with Anthony Michael Hall and Kyle Richards, two actors I would take a nasty delight in seeing disemboweled on-screen.
To my great disappointment, one of them survives, and it’s not the one who was in “Sixteen Candles.” Can’t this movie do anything right?
Jed Blaugrund is an English teacher at West Ranch High School, and a resident of Stevenson Ranch. Before becoming a teacher, he graduated from the USC School of Cinema/Television and worked for more than 20 years in the film business.