Horror: ‘Halloween Kills’ | What Worked and What Didn’t

This past Friday saw the release of the second movie in the new Halloween trilogy. The first, coming out in 2018, was well-received by critics and fans alike so there was going to be a lot to live up to for the middle movie. Was Halloween Kills a suitable entry into the Halloween franchise? Did it live up to the lofty expectations set out by 2018s Halloween? Below we will look at what worked for the movie and what didn’t.

Spoiler Alert!

What Didn’t Work?

The Supernatural Element

Suspension of disbelief is going to be a natural part of any horror movie. With the new Halloween trilogy, it seemed that we were moving away from this. 2018s Halloween had a greater sense of realism attached to it and it was hoped that it would continue with Halloween Kills.

However, this was not the case. In the climax, Michael is surrounded by the townspeople and beaten severely, including getting a kitchen knife buried into the back of his neck. This should have put the man down for good but then there is some exposition that he feeds off the violence and it makes him stronger. This is a deviation from the realism of the 2018 version and it was not welcome.

The Mental Patient Storyline

Suffering from middle movie syndrome, Halloween Kills was stuck in a bit of limbo. It was not able to create any new stories nor was it able to wrap up the trilogy early. Thus we were given the completely unnecessary storyline with an escaped mental patient.

Leading to a climax at the hospital it seemed like the mental patient story may have led to a distraction for Myers to attack Laurie at the hospital. However, we were given more of a social commentary on mob mentality and how the people of Haddonfield had turned into monsters themselves. It was not needed for the story to move forward nor did it help to deepen any character development.

The Final Kill

Going into the second Halloween movie it was understood by many that one of the three Strode women was going to meet her demise. Laurie was needed for the final confrontation in the third movie and Allyson has final girl written all over here, so the ax fell to Karen.

Karen’s death will carry emotional weight with it going into Halloween Ends next year but it could have been done better. Taking place in the final seconds of the movie Karens’ demise was over in seconds and cut to the final credits way too quick. There was no big fight scene or emotional send-off for the middle Strode woman. It was a missed opportunity.

What Worked?

The Kills

With a name like Halloween Kills, it was expected that this movie was going to have some truly gnarly kills, and boy did it deliver.

The kills in this movie were brutal. The level of violence used with each kill far surpasses any in the franchise, Rob Zombie’s version aside. The amount of gore with each kill was surprising and it brought something extra to the movie.

Any fans of horror appreciate creative and violent kills in their movies. Halloween Kills was a movie that met these expectations.

The Score and Sound Design

One of the most iconic themes in horror came from the original Halloween in 1978. John Carpenter is a genius at developing terrifying background music and he was smartly brought in for Halloween Kills.

Building off his brilliant original theme, Carpenter brought his A-game for the movie. He tweaked his original score so that it still maintained the tense atmosphere that made the first so great.

Outside of Carpenter’s great theme, the sound design, for the film as a whole, was spectacular. There are prolonged scenes with just silence and heavy breathing that made you feel like you were in the movie. The sickening way with which the kills sounded was great and added to their brutality.

Terrific Supporting Cast

The people that surrounded the Strode women in Halloween Kills were fantastic. Anthony Michael Hall was great as Tommy Doyle, the boy Laurie babysat in the original. His anger and fear at Michael returning felt real and you could tell that AMH was having a blast playing the character.

It was also a great bit of fan service to have Kyle Richards and Nancy Stephens reprise their roles from the original movie. It added a layer to the movie series and maintain some great continuity from the 1978 installment.

Of course, the supporting cast that stole the show had to be Big John and Little John. The two men who occupied the Myers house were fantastic. They added a dark comedy to the movie that was unexpected but welcome. It is a shame that we won’t be seeing more of them going forward.

Fan Service To The Original

Horror movie fans are a passionate bunch. They love their movies and they are very protective of the history of horror. That is why it was great to see so much homage paid to the original version.

Bringing in characters, and in some cases, the original actors was a great way to get a reaction from the audience. Seeing Marion Chambers, Lindsay Wallace, and even Sherrif Bracket make an appearance was a fantastic nod to fans of the original.

The fan service didn’t stop at the characters as some lines from the movie were taken directly from the 1978 movie. It wasn’t overdone and it was another great way to sprinkle in some nostalgia for the horror movie fans in the audience.

The Writing

Building off things already mentioned the writing for the movie was top-notch. The dialogue was believable and it built tension between the characters perfectly.

There was also more comedy in this one than was present in the first movie. Comedy in a horror movie, especially a violent one like this, can be poorly received if not done well. The writers of the movie were able to sprinkle in some genuinely funny scenes that helped to round out the movie and add some depth to the story.

All in all, this was a serviceable sequel to the 2018 reboot. It did a great job of building the story towards the finale with Halloween Ends.  

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