Halloween Kills review: One of the most violent horror movies Hollywood has made in years
Not for the squeamish...
When the era of gornography effectively came to an end with the demise of the Saw and Hostel franchises (this year's Spiral tried to bring it back, but nobody cared), Hollywood horror turned back to ghosts and demons and possessions.
Looking at some of the best best scary movies of recent years – Hereditary, The Invisible Man, It Follows, The Conjuring, The Invitation – the scares have become more and more psychological. In some cases, even more emotional.
2018's rebootquel of Halloween did bring back some of that old-school slasher fun, with Michael Myers once again laying waste to anyone unfortunate enough to cross his path, but the kills were usually the payoff of some well-built tension.
That is not the case with Halloween Kills, which might arguably be the most violent high-profile Hollywood horror movie of the last decade.
The scare count is low, but if you're particularly squeamish, then this film is probably your worst nightmare.
A bit of advice before going to see this movie – do your homework.
You'll need to have recently watched both the 1978 Halloween and the 2018 Halloween, as Halloween Kills kicks off in media res at the tail end of both of these movies.
Initially picking up mere moments after Donald Pleasence shot Michael out the window at the climax of the original movie, it then brings us back to the present day, with Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) alongside her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) believing they've killed Michael by leaving him in their burning home.
One explicit slaughter of a fireman crew later, Michael is back on the loose, causing absolute panic in the town of Haddonfield, with the locals pushing the law to the side and deciding to bring about some vigilante justice. This group is fronted by some survivors of original Halloween massacre, including Tommy (Anthony Michael Hall), Lindsey (Kyle Richards) and Lonnie (Robert Longstreet).
That's without mentioning the return of Deputy Hawkins (Will Patton), or the five or six brand new characters this movie introduces, and it quickly becomes clear that this is all... well... a bit of a mess.
With Laurie spending most of the movie on a hospital bed, Halloween Kills goes most of its runtime without a central protagonist, flitting from one soon-to-be-murder victim to the next. Townsfolk are given just enough screen time to make their eventual ultra-violent demise a little more than totally meaningless, with the filmmakers clearly a lot more invested in the gooey prosthetics than, say, emotional arcs.
Which isn't to say that the film is entirely without merit or entertainment, but when the 20th or 30th innocent victim gets brutally murdered, it does become a bit blurry as to whose side the movie is actually on.
There is also the sense that with the arrival of Halloween Ends in October 2022 – apparently the final Halloween movie ever, but we've been told that before – that this is a case of spinning wheels until all the pieces are in place for that finale.
After injecting some IQ and EQ into the slasher formula with the 2018 reboot, it is a little disappointing that this sequel so quickly returns to the fun-but-brainless formula of previous entries.
Halloween Kills is released in Irish cinemas on Friday, 15 October.
All clips via Universal Pictures Ireland