Matt: 'Halloween Kills' was a tough film to review. It is a sequel to the quasi-reboot in 2018, so a lot of it will be piggy-backing off of that. Jamie Lee Curtis returns again as Laurie, but much like in 'Halloween II' (1981), she is confined to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital for most of the film and factors in very little this time. It's almost like the producers were saying, "oh yeah, Laurie's still here...we'll get back to her in the finale". It was almost like a TV series where characters are forgotten for a few episodes then featured again in the end.

The producers again showed a masterful appreciation for the 'Halloween' series as a whole, including nice tributes to other films that came before it. James Jude Courtney was again ruthless as The Shape, moving way up my ranking of favorite Shape actors with each movie. The only performance I didn't care for was Anthony Michael Hall as Tommy Doyle. I don't know if it's because of how good Paul Rudd was as Tommy in Part 6 or just his overall take on the character, but it just didn't resonate with me. I realize Rudd was busy with 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife', but they could have cast someone more convincing in the role.

On the subject of the flashback scenes, most people seemed to love them, but I am in the neutral category. I feel they captured the scenery and setting of that original night, but tinkering with Dr. Loomis and the ending of the first film doesn't really sit well with me. I know every film after the original is not supposed to exist in canon, but this is Dr. Loomis we're talking about. The performance of the late, great Donald Pleasence is not something to be messed with, no matter how much of a look-alike you have on your staff. I guess I will reserve my judgment on this further until I see where they go with it in the end.

The kills in the film were fantastic, as expected in a movie titled 'Halloween Kills'. The story progresses at a breakneck pace as well, and really held you on the edge of your seat. The music, again by the master maestro John Carpenter (with Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies) carries the movie at times, and really maintains the feel of a 'Halloween' movie throughout. Michael himself transcended (thanks Laurie) previous portrayals, and by the end of the film, kind of became more of a Jason Voorhees style slasher. Perhaps it was intended that way, but I never viewed The Shape in the same vein. Maybe we'll get all the answers in the final film.

Another thing I don't get is why they cut the original ending that showed Karen getting sliced and diced and Laurie on the phone hearing Michael's breathing (an excellent throwback to the original film). Do they not have enough to open the final film with? I feel like the original ending would have been a much more effective cliffhanger knowing Laurie is leaving the hospital and heading to Michael. If they left it alone, I would have been thinking, "holy sh*t, it's going down now, I can't wait for the next one to come out!" Instead, I left the theater confused wondering what the hell I just watched. Again, hopefully the finale of this trilogy provides some much-needed clarity for me because this one was a step back from its predecessor. 6.5 out of 10.


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