This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
ᴊᴏᴇ ᴍᴄᴋᴇᴏᴡɴ’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
We've reached a tipping point in franchises, where fan service and nostalgia seem to be the dominant tone. I remember a time when sequels used to come out and we'd crave somebody to come along who would understand the original and pay respect to it.
A fine example - keeping to all things Carpenter - would be 2011's The Thing. A horrible, unnecessary extension to the 1982 classic, in which the decision to move from practical effects into a CGI fest summed up the entire flaw with the film - "you just don't get it".
But in recent years, we've seen more and more films appear that seem desperate to prove to us that they do indeed "get it". Films like Blade Runner 2049, in which Denis Villeneuve is very consciously blending the old nostalgia into his new story.
Another example for me would have been 2018's Halloween. It was clear that everyone involved had an affection for the original 1978 slasher, but it was also a film that wanted it's cake and eat it too. Out went all of the sequels and in came a new story that erases everything in between. This is a trick that this series has pulled before with H20 and I've never been a fan of it personally. As shite as the sequels are - and most of them really are - they each have their fans, and the idea that you simply wipe out huge chunks of stories, entire significant characters from the franchise, always seemed less fan-servicey than perhaps intended.
Anyway.. this isn't a review of Halloween, it's a review of Halloween Kills. But the run-up is significant. Because Halloween Kills suffers even more from the same mistakes that 2018's Halloween made. It takes the best part of 20 minutes to get into any original story here. First, we have a huge slog through reimagined events from the original night in 1978, complete with a computer-generated reacquaintance and cheeky "fuck you"'s to Rob Zombie's backstory-heavy 2007 version.
And I'll be honest, it's lovingly done. Seeing the 1978 version of Michael wandering around the streets of Haddonfield, as if it's some lost edit from the original film, is always going to spark that nostalgic buzz in you.
But the film doesn't stop there. What the writers of this film have clearly begun to understand is that the well wasn't all that deep with the original Halloween. So who can we dredge up this time? Well, we've got Tommy Doyle (again), Marion Chambers (again - remember H20 means "nada" here), and a whole host of other inconsequential characters including, hilariously, even the lad that Dr. Loomis scared off from the Myers house in the original - it's all so desperate to hang off the original's coat-tails.
But what happens is whenever you cut to anything original in this film, you're constantly reminded to compare it to a far, far superior film. The new story is filled with new unlikeable, foul-mouthed characters (seriously, I know this is rich coming from me, but where did all the swearing come from), and old, re-assembled characters that don't feel natural to the tone of the first movie.
First, the old... The biggest offender remains Laurie herself. I just can't stand this Rambo-Laurie that has been dreamt up for these reboots. It's not in keeping with the fragility and virginal innocence of her in the first film, and as much as I can appreciate that she would clearly have been affected by the events of Halloween 1978, I still think H20 did a better job with her character - the idea that she would still be jumpy and fragile, but with an ever so harder edge. But by 2018, she was essentially Sarah Connor.
And for a minute here, I thought they might actually have learnt from their mistakes. There's a chunk of the movie where Laurie is in a hospital bed, and if everything around it hadn't been so screechingly awful, I might have thought "oh that's nice, they're referencing Halloween 2." But no, eventually she's getting jacked up to the tits on some needle she just shoved in her arse, ready to go fight Michael again.
And if that's bad, Tommy Doyle is horrendous. This old asshole swinging his baseball bat around like Babe Ruth in Death Wish.. it's so fucking lame. I can see David Gordon Green and Co. all high-fiving their spliffs when they came up with the mob mentality angle, but Jesus Christ... the guy playing him has zero charisma, and it's never a good sign when I'm just waiting for Michael to ice the prick. In a long, long line of terrible characters in this series, I think I hate this guy more than anybody else.
Then there's the new characters... final confirmation of what an utter mess this film is. If you're trying to evoke the tone of the first film, it fails miserably. I mean, shockingly misses the mark. I know it's written by a team of writers who have worked on shit comedies in the past, but the attempts to inject that same kind of infantile trash into what is supposed to be at one with a classic cold, hard chiller, is a bizarre decision. All these new victims that are set up with crappy comic interludes like the couple arguing while she plays with a drone, or the stoner gay couple... what the fuck is this shit? I just want everyone in this film to be next on Michael's hitlist. Even the kids are fucking annoying.
This is all tempered by an apparently super-serious story that's supposed to be going on with Laurie's family. Not to mention we've still got this serial killer on the loose...
The whole thing is so disjointed. Nostalgia, comedy, drama, vengeance, fucking punchlines... It throws so much into the blender except two essential ingredients - likeable characters and a coherent story.
If you want to rewrite history and erase the sequels, fine. Can you just include Halloween Kills too.