The 1993 movie The Fugitive and its sequel U.S. Marshals ruined movies for me. Despite having trouble capturing the protagonist both movies displayed the efficiency of a government run manhunt. Helped by some real life cases featured in documentaries and mini-series I often find myself having a hard time accepting the ease of which a subject of a manhunt in a movie is able to move around freely. Especially considering the technological changes that have been made these past 30 years. It’s this element that bugged me the most when watching Halloween Kills, the sequel to the surprisingly successful reboot of the Halloween franchise with 2018’s Halloween.
Just like 1981’s Halloween II, Halloween Kills picks up right where the previous movie ended. Michael is trapped in a burning house and Laurie is being rushed to the hospital after being stabbed by Michael. Firefighters rush to the residence not knowing evil lurks withing the fire. Thinking he’s an innocent person caught in the inferno, they free Michael who immediately begins to continue his reign of terror starting with the first responders who came to his aid. He is evil personified after all.
These corpses are quickly discovered by police who immediately put out an alert. Within minutes it’s on the news and most of the town is aware of the danger walking the streets of Haddonfield. A group of angry town’s people form a lynch mob to hunt down Michael and stop him for once and for all. Among them are survivors from Halloween night 1978. People like Tommy Doyle and Lonnie Elam who were kids back then and still hold a grudge as adults. But for over an hour of this movies’s running time nobody seems to be able to find Michael Myers and alert the others.
While the actual size of the fictional town of Haddonfield is never mentioned, it always felt that this was a relatively small town. Mostly because everybody seems to know each other, like you often see in movies and TV shows that take place in tight knit communities. The fact that Myers is able to walk down the streets of Haddonfield undetected until the final act requires a large amount of suspension of disbelief to me. There is one moment halfway through the movie that a small group of people who are actively looking for him run into him by chance, but they fail to call in for reinforcements let alone notifying others of his whereabouts.
You only had one job people!
You might think I’m nitpicking at this point. This is a slasher movie after all, so what would you expect? But there is one basic rule when writing a slasher movie: you have to seclude the group of characters you’re going to kill off from the outside world. That’s why writers limit the locations a movie takes place. 1978’s Halloween took place in two houses, Halloween II in a hospital. Halloween IV took the similar approach of having Michael roam the town, but it wasn’t until the final act of the movie people became aware of what was going on and at that point Michael was already inside a house picking of residents one by one while looking for his niece.
Halloween Kills is basically a setback when it comes to the choices people make in slasher movies. Nobody calls the cops or other reinforcements and everybody goes upstairs to check out that strange sound. In a country with the highest gun ownership among its citizens, the mob attacks Myers with baseball bats and metal bars. Only one guy has a gun and he’s terrible at shooting. Jason Goes To Hell might be a terrible movie, but at least the SWAT team that kills Jason in the opening scene was armed to its teeth and seeing Jason get shot up like that was cinematic gold.
It’s saying something that Halloween Kills makes me actually write something positive about Jason Goes To Hell.
But it’s not all bad. I was entertained throughout the movie. There are some nice inventive kills and plenty of Easter eggs for the observant viewers in the audience. There are some bold choices made here like sidelining Laurie for the entire movie as she’s in the hospital. This also a not too subtle nod to Halloween II in which she was also in the hospital the entire movie.
But overall Halloween Kills feels like a filler episode for the final installment of director David Gordon Green’s trilogy. This is most evident considering that once the credits roll, nothing much has changed in the advancement of the overall plot. Laurie is still in the hospital, Michael is still alive. Everybody who was introduced in this movie is dead. Aside from the final kill in this movie, it looks like it’s going to be perfectly possible to watch Halloween Ends without watching this movie and feeling you’re missing something.
Halloween Kills is not the worst Halloween movie, but at this point it does feel like it’s the least memorable Halloween movie. I never liked Busta Rhymes having a kung-fu fight with Michael Myers, but as ridiculous as Halloween: Resurrection was, it at least was a memorable movie. Just not for the right reasons. When it comes down to the bottom line, Halloween Kills is just okay and nothing more.