Laurie, Michael and David Gordon Green Return to Haddonfield
DIRECTED BY DAVID GORDON GREEN/2021
Halloween Kills starts with an extended cold open that flashes between present day and the immediate aftermaths of the 1978 original film. It satisfies the curiosity for those who wonder what happened to Michael the moment he runs off after being shot six times and falling from the second floor of a house, as this current timeline has erased the Halloween 2 (1981) storyline of Laurie being practically alone in a hospital and being tormented by her “brother.”
The beginning of Halloween Kills feels like the final nail in the retcon of the original Myers sequels, but it’s such a brilliant epilogue, ending with Michael standing in front of his childhood home surrounded by authorities and an ascending crane shot making him look small and lost, a symmetrical recreation of the opening shot of Halloween (’78) with young Michael being surrounded by his dumbfounded parents.
In this opening, we also learn that Will Patton’s character Frank Hawkins is not only still alive but has a past with Myers. He was involved with the huntdown of the embodiment of evil and his lack of ruthlessness caused Myers to continue and someone else to die, a mistake he’s always lived with yet hasn’t broken his trajectory to kindhearted sheriff.
After the title card and opening credit montage, which is as clever as the one in Green’s first entry, the themes of the film are laid out. On one end, you have Myers, a killing machine, and on the other side a forming mob of locals and callback characters from the original film. On the periphery of the story is Laurie, who is questioning her blunt approach of brutality applied to Michael in Halloween (2018) and Hawkins questioning his weakness.
Basically what you have is something designed to kill and becoming stronger because a divided community is destined to argue with each other instead of coming together. Sound familiar?
Halloween Kills is a grab bag of Easter eggs of references to the original sequels. The hospital setting in part 2, plus minor callbacks like a character swallowing a razor blade. You get the masks from the cult fave Halloween 3. And you get a major promotion of Tommy Doyle, who is in the original Halloween as a side character but is really fleshed out and played by Paul Rudd in the dreadful part 6.
The violence is very well directed by David Gordon Green, maintaining an over the top ruthlessness but never leaving the grounded reality of this world. The film is clever, exciting and at times hilarious.
People may have a problem with the direction they go with Michael, but the choices are less about him and more the response to him. Michael was never supposed to be anything but a catalyst to the terror and the other character’s reactions. The reason Rob Zombie failed in his films is he attempted to dissect a character who wasn’t made for dissection. You will hear from purists claiming this is not their Michael, but the direction Green takes Michael fits into the themes this film clearly lays out.
And some may feel it’s not a fully fledged film. It’s more of a middle act in a three act structure. That’s fair. Halloween Kills may just be the bridge between Halloween and Halloween Ends, but it’s a bridge of carnage that is made up of the brutally disposed bodies of Michael’s victims. It’s an almost two hour trailer for the final entry.
And that ties me over just fine until this all concludes.