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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

‘Halloween Kills’ Review: There Will Be (Copious Amounts of) Blood

After a dozen films – and 13 on the horizon – the once monstrous Michael Myers appears in theaters this weekend as jaded as the 43-year-old franchise indulging his bloodlust. The Halloween Murders, the mid-range film in the 2018 reboot trilogy directed by David Gordon Greene, is a lazy, narrative-impoverished mess in which characters are replaced with corpses and dialogues with slogans.

Green seems to be killing time here. While the previous installment cleverly reimagined Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), the brave nanny who surpassed Myers in John Carpenter’s original film as a traumatized grandmother, this latest exhumation turns her into a virtual witness. We find her just minutes after the end of the last chapter, bleeding in the back of a truck, racing away from her burning house and believing that her enemy has been defeated once and for all.

“Let it burn!” she yells at the firefighters, perhaps realizing that the number of emergency workers killed is about to skyrocket. After that, she will largely languish in a hospital bed in the hapless town of Haddonfield, Illinois, while her daughter and granddaughter (Judy Greer and Andy Matichak) will remain holding her bag – or, in this case, a pitchfork – when Myers inevitably returns. …

Plagued by idiotic statements (“He is the ultimate predator!”) And idiotic behavior (doors remain unlocked, brandishing an unloaded gun), “Halloween Kills” at times plays like an exceptionally bloody comedy. (I dare not laugh out loud when one character mourns the rise in murder rates, stating, “It was safe place, and now it is gone! “) And if Haddonfield seems significantly more varied this time, it has no apparent purpose other than to change the appearance and sexual orientation of its victims. It’s a shame, because the only characters I missed when the picture was finished were gay partners planning an enjoyable evening with Mary Jane and Minnie and Moskowitz (1971). Hope they already knew the ending.

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Awkward flashbacks of the original plot calm the uninitiated, and the characters we barely remember that they are being reintroduced to take risks, among those who are creatively killed. They are led by Anthony Michael Hall as adult Tommy Doyle, the child Laurie looked out for on Halloween in 1978 and now runs a support team for survivors of the chaos of that night. Within minutes, Tommy transforms his group into an enraged squad, gathering inconspicuous townspeople to hunt down Myers. As a crowd gathers – mysteriously – at the hospital, Laurie is forced to jump out of bed for a short while, stab herself with a painkiller syringe, and howl like a banshee. Contract completed, Miss Curtis!

As for possibly our most reborn cinematic psycho (played again by James Jude Courtney), he seems a little sadder behind his rapidly decaying mask. The success of any Halloween rebuilding depends largely on its ability to wire the insane magnetism between Myers and Laurie – a cable trampled by an amorphous band of vigilantes constantly shouting, “Evil dies tonight!” In light of the upcoming attractions, I can confidently predict that this is not the case.

Halloween Murders
Nominal R. Duration: 1 hour 46 minutes. In cinemas and on Peacock.

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