This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Matthew Saponar’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
something felt off the second this began. 2018 did so, so good with balancing what it wants to present & activate from the original, and what's better relegated to lore-y dialogue.
but right out of the gate, we jump to the polar opposite of that, with an overly-sanitized, horribly cast fan-film flashback. i love thomas mann but what a weird casting choice. and don't even get me started on jim cummings, the single least interesting man working in film today.
my mutuals wyatt duncan & silent dawn had some really good takes on this and i highly recommend going to read theirs as they're much more coherent and poignant than my own, but i will be using some of their wordings bc they truly helped me surmise my incredibly messy thoughts on this.
but moving past the opening, i was willing to forgive it once michael truly showed up with the amazing new mask and got to work, and i nearly jumped out of seat and cheered when (what feels like nearly an hour into the damn movie) the strode girls showed up -- but then green has the audacity to demonstrate that we're going to work through an entire arc with this garbage flashback bs. such complete waste of time (as it just feels like green was scrambling to figure out how to push another 90 minutes until we actually get to the one where michael bites it)
albeit i did enjoy some of the gore gags, but they end up feeling so wasted the second we cut away from them, as all the victims are cardboard, nonsense comic relief. i really would've rather they just did a two-parter instead of a trilogy, that way we could condensed this whole movie down to just being the first act of 'ends' and not its own movie.
where is the casting director that found julian for 2018?? where is the writer that came up with michael killing the old lady & sparing the baby in that one? we have almost the exact same crew but come at the material with a totally different and upsetting sensibility.
truly baffled on where to pin this one down, and honestly kind of heartbroken they wanted to trade-off the perfectly likable characters they built in 2018 for simple gore gags. the strode trio actually fit into the vibe of the franchise, and worked with the previously established elements & characters like clockwork, and elevated 2018 beyond something just for horror fans.
the choice to have this run like a kill count youtube compilation instead of 2018's perfectly structured, heart-filled thriller is beyond me.
i mean, i'm not totally drawing a blank -- it's pretty clear they wanted this one to have people walking out in shock & awe at the brutality and high body count, but then why make its narrative so inaccessible to people unfamiliar with the franchise lore?
if the goal here is to strip you of your singular empathy we all have for michael, and to make us almost annoyed by him, then mission accomplished. i can sort of see that perspective with how much time they have devoted to the townspeople being outraged, that this one is supposed to get us in their headspace, but it feels so random to have that be the follow up to how they took on 2018.
i didn't hate all the stuff they did though, mobbing the hospital made for a truly amazing image and i love the darkness they prayed out of that, knocking the shit out of our main characters... a lot of that drew on that same idea i loved from 2018, making our characters vulnerable and have legitimate depth.
but then we conclude the arc of the mob by... almost literally having the screenwriter announce over voiceover "so sorry about this, but we need another movie"
intermission time, michael-heads! if you're still reading this shit, comment "evil dies tonight!" in the comments down below!
ok back to the review
almost forgot to mention two of the most upsetting moments -- killing cameron and karen. having cameron escape 2018 unscathed was one of my only issues with the framework of that movie, but the way they go about righting that here is just senselessly unpleasant, evoking that feeling of the girl who gets wrecked by the sea monster in jurassic world, like why do we hate him so much? and again! i wanted cameron to bite it as much as anybody, but damn his death is excessive.
similarly having karen die as a twist ending was so stupid too. i would've much preferred her just die to save alyson, they way they set it up is honestly pretty good there, but nope, they decide to move it to the very end, and feels so pointless and cheap.
so many of the choices are unsatisfying and weirdly mean through and though. idk what to make of this n this review is getting way too long! thanks!