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‘Halloween Kills’ is what happens when no one knows what they’re doing, and that’s why it’s so fun

Entertainment

(WGHP) — Is “Halloween Kills” a frightening film with a well-written story and three-dimensional characters? Not really. It’s a bit of a mess.

But did I enjoy the movie overall? Most definitely.

OK. So the film isn’t even slightly ashamed of how silly it is, and that element will make or break “Halloween Kills” for most audience members, especially since the movie doesn’t go off the rails right away.

We open immediately after the conclusion of “Halloween” (2018) before flashing back to the night in 1978 when the original “Halloween” took place.

Deputy Frank Hawkins (Will Patton/Thomas Mann) makes a grave mistake in 1978 before Michael Myers is taken into custody and institutionalized for 40 years. In 2018, Hawkins is taken to the hospital with serious injuries and blaming himself for the violence unleashed on the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois.

The Strode family arrives at the hospital around the same time as Hawkins, and the emergency ward becomes a central location for much of the film.

Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is rushed to surgery while her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) learn that—surprising no one!­—Michael Myers is back and continuing his bloody rampage.

Honestly, I’m not interested in the plot of the “Halloween” franchise.

Writing the above paragraphs was only a bit more boring than sitting through the long sequences of exposition where screenwriters David Gordon Green (also director), Scott Teems and Danny McBride reintroduce numerous forgettable characters from “Halloween” (1978) before the schlock mayhem truly begins.

If I want genuine cinematic terror, I’ll turn to whatever A24 is up to. I watch goofy slasher movies like this to indulge in the spectacle and laugh at dumb-as-bricks characters making the worst possible decisions every step of the way.

This film has style and stupidity in spades whereas most other entries in this franchise only have one of the two. And, I say this as a total positive, “Halloween Kills” is one of the more blunt entries, which can be seen in how it uses side characters.

Take Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall) for example. He had an encounter with Michael Myers in 1978 when Laurie was his babysitter and never recovered emotionally. He deals with the decades of lingering trauma by whipping the entire town into a frenzied mob, chanting “evil dies tonight!”

The real fun of “Halloween Kills” comes from the back and forth of watching Michael Myers nonchalantly murder his victims in one scene then watching the mob become more unhinged and bloodthirsty in the next scene.

I’m tempted to say the message of the film is this: the capacity for evil lurks inside every person, and Michael Myers is an avatar for the worst impulses we all harbor when under the extreme effects of fear. However, I’m not sure the movie succeeds in conveying that idea.

In a scene where Laurie should have just looked directly at the audience, she tells Karen the chaos caused by the mob is Michael Myers’ masterpiece. A monologue towards the end is similarly direct about the killer’s goals, yet (light spoilers) also attempts to expand on what Michael Myers is, both literally and figuratively, and only serves to muddle the message.

Personally, the narrative inconstancies don’t really matter to me since I don’t expect any deep revelations about human nature from a movie where Michael Myers kills a side character by slapping a gun into her face.

Last Minute Thoughts:

Keep an eye out for Big John and Little John, the best side characters in any “Halloween” film.

“Halloween 3: Season of the Witch” is severely underrated. It’s the second-best film in the franchise after the 1978 original.

I still don’t know why David Gordon Green decided to direct three “Halloween” sequels, and I probably never will.

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