After their encounter with Michael, the Strode women, Laurie, Karen and Allyson head to the hospital. However, the fire department head to Laurie’s burning home. When it turns out Michael is still alive, the Haddonfield residents, led by Tommy Jarvis who encountered Michael 40 years earlier. But as they hunt for Michael as he continues his bloody spree, secrets about that fateful Halloween night in 1978 begin to surface…
2018’s Halloween film was a surprise. By ignoring all the sequels and being instead a direct sequel to the original it told an interesting story of a Laurie still suffering PTSD and haunted by her encounter with Michael 40 years before. When they finally came together on screen, along with Laurie’s daughter and grand daughter it was worth the wait. And to be honest, the ending itself would have been a worthy way to finally end the story.
But studios have other ideas.
2018’s Halloween, it turned out, was only the first in a new trilogy. 2021’s delayed Halloween Kills is the second part, with one more, Halloween Ends scheduled for 2022.
The opening of this follow-up throws in a surprise by revealing a character that everyone thought was killed in the first film is actually still alive. From there we have the first flashback to 1978, the night HE came home to find out where Michael went after falling from that balcony after being shot. It turns out he really did go home, back to his childhood home.
The film is written by Scott Teems, Danny McBride and David Gordon Green, with Green returning to direct and focuses between the residents of Haddonfield hunting for Michael, Michael slaughtering anyone who gets in his way and Laurie in the hospital. In some ways this is the big problem with the film (though there is another that I’ll come to). Laurie (as always played brilliantly by Jamie Lee Curtis), because of her injuries is reduced to being a hospital patient. As a consequence, her part in the film is much reduced than before. On one level, it’s understandable after her injuries, but it does weaken the film.
But because of this decision, other character have to step up. It’s left to Karen (again well played by Judy Greer) and Allyson (Andi Matichak) to, to a degree, step into Laurie’s shoes. But while Allyson wants to get involved in the hun for Michael, Karen tries to keep Laurie and in some ways herself out of the search. Laurie, because of her injuries, Karen feeling completely overwhelmed by events.
But even they are somewhat reduced here as the idea of the townspeople hunting for Michael takes a lot of the run time. Led by Tommy (Anthony Michael Hall) another who encountered Michael in 1978, the townspeople hunt for Michael but actually add very little to the actual story. It’s a shame because its an interesting idea, but needed to be developed much better than it is here. Only a sequence in the hospital where they think Michael has turned up works effectively in this regard.
The flashback scenes are quite fascinating, as they (along with aspects of the story from the 2018 film) suggest Michael actually has his own agenda, something most of the Halloween sequels tend to ignore. For them, it was Michael after any member of the Strode family. Here though the film suggests a different idea, which again, needed better development.
The film is peppered with the deaths of assorted, frankly disposable characters, from the slaughter of firefighters, to various townspeople, with the exception of a couple of deaths, one a truly shocking one even if you can see it coming, you don’t care for any of those who are killed.
Because of the idea that the townspeople are hunting Michael, because of the events now and in the past, we get cameos or small roles for characters who were in the original. As well as Tommy, we get Laurie, the nurse Marion, Lonnie and former sheriff Brackett, whose daughter was a victim in the original film. It’s a nice touch, with the original actors Kyle Richards, Nancy Stephens and Charles Cyphers reprising the roles, while actor Robert Longstreet plays Lonnie. It’s a nice touch.
But it’s really only in the final act that the film picks up the pace as events bring us back to Michael’s childhood home, as Allyson, Lonnie and Lonnie’s son (Allyson’s boyfriend) Cameron look for Michael.
But even here, there is a big problem (told you I’d come back to this!). One of the things about Michael is that he enjoys scaring as much as killing. As a consequence, most of his kills are simplistic to a degree, mostly with a knife. But here, much like in the Rob Zombie Halloween films, there’s almost a sadism in the kills. In some ways, this brings him closer to Jason in the Friday The 13th films. He also has become impossible to hurt it would seem. I won’t go into details, but watching the way Michael seems to shrug off any wound or injury he suffers again seems closer to Jason than to what Michael should be. Perhaps this is something that will be developed in the conclusion, Halloween Ends.
We shall see.
The soundtrack from John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter and Daniel A. Davies is terrific. The film is well shot, capturing both the look of the original film in the flashbacks as well as the present day scenes.
But by the end, you are left with the feeling that the writers and director have forgotten what made the original film so good, as well as their 2018 film. While it deserves a bit of credit for attempting to do something different with this film, sadly it doesn’t fully work. Instead what you are left with is a film that feels like one of those sequels they chose to ignore in their first film.
And that is a shame.
I really hope Halloween Ends will bring this story to a satisfying conclusion, a return to what made the 2018 Halloween film work well.
In the meantime we are left with a film that isn’t bad, but something worse.
A dull, if watchable film.
Rating: **1/2 out of 5