If there was one thing that the 2018 iteration of Halloween did right was to set a direct path that cut through the pantheon of now considered non-canon films. The character of Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), now older, had to deal with oncoming waves of trauma from 1978’s film. Considering that the “boogeyman” could still be out there, we got to see how that manifested throughout her family. Each generation of Strode women got to stand together against The Shape. It was refreshing to see three female characters stand tall against an iconic villain in a genre dominated by male protagonists who take the fight to danger. Given the unyielding nature of Michael Myers’s spirit as this bottomless pit of evil, Halloween Kills looks to expand its impact.

Kills begin right after the events of the 2018 film. The Strode women, Laurie, her daughter Karen (Judy Greer), and her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), presume themselves triumphant at the site of Laurie’s flame-engulfed host, but at a substantial cost. Laurie is highly injured and needs immediate medical attention. Director David Gordon Green and co-writers Scott Teems and Danny McBride are trying to achieve this time around, to show that Michael’s presence is a dark cloud on Haddonfield itself. With that, they reintroduce characters from John Carpenter’s 1978 original film like Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall), Lindsey Wallace (Kyle Richards), Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens), and Lonnie Elam (Robert Longstreet). Unbeknownst to them at first, everything that occurred with the Strodes Halloween night happened in a vacuum. Tommy tells the story in a local bar to some newcomers and townspeople before realizing Michael is on the prowl again.

Speaking of Myers himself, his actions live up to the movie’s title. Alive, despite the elaborate plan by the Strode women, he goes on an absolute rampage through the town. The murders are graphic, fully taking advantage of the R rating, living up to the slasher modicum. These kills have a particular viciousness to them – they are often not clean, and Michael either brutalizes his victims or leaves them alive just enough to suffer. Paired with his expressionless stature, Michael Myers becomes a malevolent angel of death upon Haddonfield. Not just directed at the Strodes, but to everyone.

Different viewpoints are the dominant storytelling device of Halloween Kills. Laurie Strode is mainly relegated to the hospital as she tries to recover from her wounds. She reunites with a wounded Deputy Frank Hawkins (Will Patton), and he tells his story about the night in 1978 through flashbacks. They both express regret about not killing Michael once and for all – specifically with younger Frank (Thomas Mann) letting his empathy get in the way to stop Dr. Lumis from firing the final shot. After that, both characters explain that Michael’s end goal is that of pure evil. Based on previous films, we know that. These two characters are being saved for the finale, Halloween Ends in 2022. But also, they are older with grave injuries. They don’t have the same semi-supernatural strength that Michael has.

While some may feel a bit let down that Laurie’s character is siphoned off, Halloween Kills prefers to look at the overall impact of Michael’s aura. The town of Haddonfield bands together – as anybody would, against a mass-murdering psychopath. Gordon Green shows how the legend and reentry of Michael Myers devolve everyone to indulge their more animalistic side. When you’re going against an apex predator, you do whatever you can do to survive. That has caveats, though, because you shed things like logic and empathy. In preparing for Michael, this town mob led by Tommy does some terrible things on the way. Fear has paralyzed this small Haddonfield town through generations. So, bringing characters back from the original film shows what progressed anguish does to you.

Amidst all the brutality and bodies that are left writhing in agony on Michael’s road of revenge, Halloween Kills tries to convey its overall message through many characters. The constant jumps and different perspectives will feel disorienting at points. It ends on a cliffhanger where it might be a little unsatisfying, depending on what you expect. Fans may be better served to watch 2018’s Halloween and Kills back to back because you’ll find a lot of themes could have been combined into one entity. A lot of the previous progression of the 2018 film gets stripped down. Kills is a callback to what the original endgame of these Halloween movies were at their inception. It’s a ferocious, fast-paced horror movie that’s aware it has one more story to tell.

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures