Before I get into this week’s topic – let me just say that this post includes some spoilers for Halloween Kills. If you haven’t seen it and you don’t want to have some of it spoiled for you – I suggest you skip this one.
Are they gone?
Ok, good. We didn’t want them here anyway.
I didn’t want to review Halloween Kills as much as I wanted to talk about what it did right and wrong. You see, the 2018 relaunch/new timeline/thing was, quite literally, the best Halloween movie I have ever seen. Of course it is hard to compare it to the 70’s original, but that movie defined the tropes of the ‘unkillable monster kills kids’ genre, but with that said, it did what no other Halloween movie had done other than the original… it engaged me.
Now, I love slasher flicks, obviously – but the reason you just don’t see that many is because the genre is stale with a rare exception (See: Terrifier, The Strangers) and there doesn’t feel like much more you can staple on to the old classics of Jason and Michael. But Halloween turns itself around. It isn’t a movie about a monster hunting a woman – it is about a woman who is prepared to kill the monster. It’s Laurie Strode’s movie. She isn’t the final girl – she is the protagonist.
Halloween Kills, as the middle chapter of the preordained trilogy, had hard shoes to fill. How do you keep the two away from each other so you can get to the actual really real final showdown, but also continue to try and turn the genre on its head?
You show what the PTSD of this monster caused to the town, the collective character of Haddonfield. With literal pitchforks in hand, this is a story of a hundred people who think they are just like Laurie Strode. They feel guilt about surviving, fear over Myers’ inevitable return, pain at what they’ve lost… and collectively they try and face Michael — and inevitably, they fail. It really is a brilliant concept, and I bet a few passes around with great writers could have evolved it into a movie just as strong as 2018’s was, but it can’t help but lean into its tropes, bury itself like a hatchet into the skulls of its viewer, and misses every mark along the way.
Somehow, the first film subverts its tropes and has ascended to easily the greatest slasher film of the last decade – and yet, even with a brilliant take on a sequel, the most recent film can’t help but feel like it has taken a step right back into what made people bored with the slasher genre to begin with.
I hope the final act continues the trend of giving us a different story than the one we expect. We’ve seen slashers die before, hell, we’ve seen Michael Myers die a couple of times.. the key is to make us still surprised by the idea.