“Halloween Kills”, the sequel to “Halloween” (2018), does kill as much as its very title suggests, and that is all. Still stuck in the same playground as before, the movie only merely follows the footsteps of many other countless slasher horror films which are simply occupied with killing and body count, and I often shook my head as observing the sheer waste of the talents associated with this maddeningly hollow piece of work.
The movie starts at the point shortly after the ending of the previous film. Finally working together, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her daughter and granddaughter managed to get their longtime boogeyman figure trapped in the basement of her house, and then they left her house as it is burning, but, not so surprisingly, the situation turns out to be far from over. A bunch of firemen quickly arrive not long after they left, and, of course, these unfortunate firemen soon come across that boogeyman figure, who is still quite alive and certainly ready for another killing spree.
As this figure keeps killing one person after another, the movie serves us numerous gory moments of brutal violence which make those Friday the 13th flicks look rather timid in comparison. For example, I cringed as watching the graphically barbaric moment of a poor old lady cruelly stabbed in her neck by a broken florescence lamp, and then I winced as watching how pitilessly and unmercifully the movie handles her final moment right after that.
Meanwhile, the movie also pays some attention to Deputy Frank Hawkins (Will Patton), who manages to survive probably because it is not that figure who attacked him in the previous film. As he is found in a very seriously injured condition and then sent to a local hospital where Strode is also sent, the movie gives several flashback scenes associated the 1978 film of the same name directed by John Carpenter (He serves here as one of its executive producers besides working as one of the co-composers, by the way), and we get to know a bit about how their town was more shocked and devastated even after the ending of the 1978 film.
Like Hawkins, many other people in the town still remember well that terrible night they had 40 years ago, and some of them turn out to be quite willing to take care of the matter for themselves when they hear that their boogeyman figure is still on the loose. Along with a bunch of town residents, they quickly form a vigilante mob and then search for wherever that figure is possibly stalking around, but, this is not much of a spoiler, that figure is surely more than a match for them as these folks do many stupid things which will lead to certain death in any slasher horror film.
While the town is quite more agitated as a result, Strode remains helpless and frustrated in the hospital due to her badly injured status. Karen (Judy Greer) tries to shield the ongoing situation from her mother, but she cannot stop her daughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) from joining that vigilante mob, and then things become quite more serious when the hospital later also happens to be swept by panic and fear just like the town.
As deliberately putting Strode aside, the movie attempts to explore several other characters who have been traumatized just like her, but the result feels quite superficial as they remain to be more or less than figures to be menaced or killed just like many minor characters in the story. As one of the key survivor characters from the 1978 film, Anthony Michael Hall tries as much as possible, but his fairly good efforts are mostly stuck in his one-note supporting role, and we only come to observe his character and other vigilante members without much care or concern as expecting them to be killed sooner or later.
The best part of the movie is still Jamie Lee Curtis, and she brings the same intensity and vulnerability to her enduring character as before, though her character is not particularly utilized well on the whole. In the scene between her and Will Patton, the mood becomes a little more introspective than before, and these two good veteran performers sell this scene better than expected even though it is basically another perfunctory moment to emphasize to us how unstoppable their terrifying boogeyman figure is.
In case of the other cast members of the film besides Curtis, Patton, and Hall, they do not have much to do except looking urgent or terrified, though I enjoyed the brief appearance of Jim Cummings and Thomas Mann in the flashback scene to some degree. Considering that how they click well together with Curtis in the previous film, it is a shame that Judy Greer and Andi Matichack do not share the screen with Curtis much this time, and it is all the more disappointing to see how the movie later comes to damage what was established and then developed fairly well among these three good actresses in the previous film.
While it is a slick genre product in technical aspects under the direction of director/co-writer David Gordon Green, “Halloween Kills” does not bring anything new or substantial to its franchise while inevitably opening the door to whatever will come to us next a few years later. Whenever somebody shouted “Evil dies tonight!” in the film, I chortled with more skepticism, and, folks, that was not a good sign at all.