Review: ‘Halloween Ends,’ starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Will Patton, Rohan Campbell and Kyle Richards

October 15, 2022

by Carla Hay

Jamie Lee Curtis and Michael Myers, also known as The Shape (played by James Jude Courtney), in “Halloween Ends” (Photo by Ryan Green/Universal Pictures)

“Halloween Ends”

Directed by David Gordon Green

Culture Representation: Taking place in 2019 and 2022, in the fictional Haddonfield, Illinois, the horror flick “Halloween Ends” has a predominantly white cast of characters (with a few African Americans) representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: Serial killer Michael Myers is on the loose again and will murder anyone who gets in his way.

Culture Audience: “Halloween Ends” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the “Halloween” movie franchise and star Jamie Lee Curtis, but anyone who sees this movie should brace themselves for a disappointing bore that fails in suspense and storytelling.

Andi Matichak and Rohan Campbell in “Halloween Ends” (Photo by Ryan Green/Universal Pictures)

There’s no other way to put it: “Halloween Ends” is a cesspool of bad filmmaking decisions. By now, most horror fans know that the “Halloween” move franchise (which began with 1978’s “Halloween,” directed by John Carpenter) follows the seemingly endless saga of masked serial killer Michael Myers (also known as The Shape), who somehow manages to survive after being shot, stabbed, beaten, and set on fire. Because indestructible Michael Myers has unrealistically escaped death so many times, the “Halloween” franchise now implies that he’s not completely human and there’s something supernatural about him.

In the first “Halloween” movie, Laurie Strode (played by Jamie Lee Curtis), who was a high school student at the time, was a survivor of his Halloween night massacre in the fictional Haddonfield, Illinois. Laurie and some of her teenage peers were babysitting on that deadly night. The Laurie Strode character has appeared off and on in “Halloween” movies ever since, with all reboots and sequels failing to live up to the groundbreaking and terrifying original “Halloween” movie.

“Halloween Ends” has been described as the third movie in a “Halloween” trilogy directed by David Gordon Green, beginning with the 2018 “Halloween” reboot and continuing wth 2021’s “Halloween Kills.” The 2018 reboot of “Halloween” was good enough to show there was potential to restore the “Halloween” franchise back to being critically acclaimed horror instead of the mindless schlockfest that the franchise turned out to be. “Halloween Kills” foreshadowed that the quality of the franchise was sliding back into idiotic territory. “Halloween Ends” is the proverbial nail in the coffin that solidifies the unfortunate pattern of filmmakers ruining the “Halloween” franchise with mind-numbing and silly stories.

“Halloween Ends” was written by Green, Paul Brad Logan, Chris Bernier and Danny McBride. (It’s usually not a good sign when a movie has at least four credited screenwriters, because the screenplay usually ends up having “too many cooks in the kitchen” syndrome.) How bad is “Halloween Ends”? Michael Myers’ killing spree doesn’t begin until nearly one hour into this horrific misfire. There’s not enough Laurie Strode and too much of a dull romance between Laurie’s granddaughter and an accused killer.

The movie begins on Halloween night in Haddonfield in 2019. A 21-year-old college student named Corey Cunningham (played by Rohan Campbell) has been hired to babysit a boy named Jeremy Allen (played by Jaxon Goldenberg), who’s about 9 or 10 years old. Jeremy’s parents (played by Candice Rose and Jack William Marshall), who don’t have first names in the movie, are going out for the night to a Halloween costume party. Corey is nerdy and socially awkward, but he’s also very responsible and has plans to go to graduate school.

Before the parents leave for the party, Mrs. Allen tells Corey that ever since the Michael Myers massacre that took place during Halloween the previous year (as shown in “Halloween Kills”), Jeremy has been very fearful, he’s been wetting his bed, and he’s been hearing voices. Corey tells her that’s a normal reaction that a lot of kids would have. What Corey also finds out is that Jeremy is a little bit of a spoiled brat who likes to get his own way.

Jeremy insists on watching a horror movie on TV with Corey. When the violence in the horror movie gets too intense, Corey decides that they should stop watching the horror movie, which he thinks isn’t appropriate viewing for a child of Jeremy’s age. Jeremy wants to keep watching the horror movie though and says he’s not afraid of the horror movie or Michael Myers.

Jeremy smirks to Corey: “Michael Myers kills babysitters, not kids.” (Apparently, Jeremy never heard what Michael Myers did in 2018’s “Halloween,” where a pre-teen child became a Michael Myers murder victim.) Jeremy puts up a little bit of fuss for Corey telling Jeremy what they can and can’t watch on TV.

The next thing Corey knows, Jeremy goes missing in the house, but Corey can hear Jeremy’s voice taunting him and laughing at him in the distance. Some sloppy film editing then shows Corey locked in an upstairs closet by Jeremy, who is standing nearby in the hallway but who refuses Corey’s demands to unlock the closet door. Corey kicks his way out of the closet with such force, it knocks Jeremy over the stairwell, with Jeremy falling to an instant death on the floor of the house’s foyer.

And what a coincidence: Jeremy’s parents come home just seconds after Jeremy’s fatal fall. When they open the front door, Jeremy’s bloodied and broken body is right in front of them. Jeremy’s mother wails and screams at this gruesome sight. Jeremy’s parents immediately think that Corey killed Jeremy on purpose. A panicked and remorseful Corey is arrested and proclaims that Jeremy’s death was an accident.

“Halloween Ends” then flashes forward to 2022. Laurie now owns a house in Haddonfield, where she lives with her granddaughter Allyson (played by Andi Matichak), who is Laurie’s only grandchild. “Halloween Kills” showed what happened to Allyson’s divorced mother Karen (played by Judy Greer), who was Laurie’s only child. What happened to Karen is also mentioned at the beginning of “Halloween Ends.” Laurie, who is now apparently working on a memoir, is shown in various “Halloween Ends” scenes typing on her laptop computer and reading parts of her memoir in ominous voiceovers.

Laurie says that that she bought the house as “a place to live with love and trust—not a trap, not a place to hide.” Allyson, who is in her mid-20s, works as a nurse at a local hospital. Laurie seems to be at peace with her past and is no longer hiding from Michael Myers. But there would be no “Halloween Ends” movie if Michael Myers (played by James Jude Courtney) were completely out of of Laurie’s life. It’s later revealed in “Halloween Ends” where Michael has been hiding in Haddonfield.

Meanwhile, Corey has had a rough time in Haddonfield because he’s a social outcast who is still thought of as a child killer by many members of the community. Although it’s not shown in the movie, it’s mentioned that Corey went on trial for Jeremy’s death and was found not guilty. Corey’s reputation was ruined anyway.

Corey currently lives with his parents and works as a mechanic in his father’s mechanic shop. Corey’s father Ronald (played by Rick Moose) is easygoing and compassionate, while Corey’s mother Joan (played by Joanne Baron) is domineering and impatient. Both parents firmly believe in Corey’s innocence.

One day, Corey is standing outside a local convenience store, when four teenagers approach him to ask him to buy them some beer. The names of the teenagers are Terry (played by Michael Barbieri), Stacy (played by Destiny Mone), Billy (played by Marteen) and Margo (played by Joey Harris). Terry is the leader of these teenage troublemakers.

When Corey declines the teens’ request to buy alcohol for them, they begin to insult Corey by calling him names such as “psycho babysitter.” Laurie happens to arrive outside and sees this bullying. The teens then begin to taunt Corey and Laurie, by calling them “the psycho and the freak show.”

Corey is holding a glass bottle of chocolate milk, and he gets so angry that he squeezes the glass bottle until it breaks, thereby injuring his hand. The teens just laugh and go into the grocery store. Laurie then takes out a knife and asks Corey if he or she should use the knife to slash a tire of the car that the teens used to get there. Corey then takes the knife and does the tire slashing.

Laurie insists that Corey go to the local hospital, where Corey happens to get medical treatment from Allyson. There’s an immediate attraction between Corey and Allyson, but Corey is too shy to act on it. Corey mentions that he’s a mechanic at the local mechanic shop, and he recently got a used motorcylce, given to him by his father. Allyson uses this information as an excuse to visit Corey at his job so that he can give her lessons on how to ride a motorcycle.

And so begins the most tedious part of “Halloween Ends”: the courtship of Corey and Allyson. This limp romance drags down the movie to the point where viewers will be wondering where Michael Myers and Laurie are. The misleading marketing for “Halloween Ends” makes it look like Laurie and Michael Myers are in most of the movie, but “Halloween Ends” actually takes a long and unwelcome detour into Corey’s world.

Allyson’s estranged father happens to be a Haddonfield cop named Officer Mulaney (played by Jesse C. Boyd), who acts like a stalker by showing up in the same places where Allyson is, and complaining that she never contacts him or returns his messages. Allyson is never happy to see him. Needless to say, Officer Mulaney (who has no first name in the movie) disapproves of Allyson dating Corey.

Laurie keeps an open mind about Corey, because she knows what it’s like to be misjudged. Some people in Haddonfield blame Laurie for causing Michael Myers to come back. There’s a scene where a wheelchair-using, mute, middle-aged woman named Sondra (played by Diva Tyler) and Sondra’s sister (played by Leila Wilson) happen to be in the same store parking lot as Laurie. Sondra’s sister angrily confronts Laurie and says that Sondra is “damaged” because of Michael Myers, and the sister berates Laurie for tempting Michael Myers back to Haddonfield.

As the romance between Corey and Allyson begins to blossom, there are hints that Laurie’s love life could also be heating up. In “Halloween Kills,” it was revealed that a Haddonfield cop named Frank Hawkins (played by Will Patton) was a young rookie on duty during the 1978 Halloween night when Michael Myers went on his massacre. Frank, who’s supposed to be about four or five years older than Laurie, has had a crush on Laurie ever since. In “Halloween Kills,” Frank and Laurie ended up in the same hospital room together, where they discovered their mutual attraction to each other.

Frank is still interested in dating Laurie, but she’s been more hesitant about getting into a romantic relationship with anyone. And so, for much of Laurie’s screen time, Frank is sometimes hanging around like a lovesick puppy who wants some sign of affection from Laurie. Is this a romantic drama or a horror movie?

Because “Halloween Ends” veers so far into being a romantic drama for much of the movie’s scenes, the tone of the movie is very disjointed and awkward. “Halloween Kills” character Lindsey Wallace (played by Kyle Richards), a survivor of Michael Myers’ 1978 massacre, returns in “Halloween Ends” as a good friend of Laurie’s. In “Halloween Ends,” Lindsey is a totally useless character who just stands around and looks sympathetic to Laurie. “Halloween Ends” gives Lindsey no character development or further insight into Lindsey’s life. Sheriff Barker (played by Omar J. Dorsey) from “Halloween Kills” also returns for a smaller role in “Halloween Ends.”

“Halloween Ends” has a yammering radio DJ character named Willy the Kid (played by Keraun Harris), from a local radio station called WURG “The Urge,” and his annoying voiceovers pepper some of the scenes with commentary about the legend of Michael Myers. As soon as this radio DJ character’s voice keeps showing up in the movie, you just know that sooner or later, Willy the Kid will be seen in person, and his fate is easily predicted. There’s also an unnamed, elderly homeless man (played by Blaque Fowler) who lives near some abandoned tunnels in Haddonfield. His purpose in the movie is also very obvious.

Because “Halloween Ends” takes so long for Michael Myers to actually appear, some viewers might be wondering during the first half of the movie if this is a “Halloween” movie spinoff, not a “Halloween” movie sequel. Curtis makes an effort to bring some gravitas and emotional resonance to her role. However, the rest of the cast members’ performances in the movie are mediocre and unremarkable. The scenes of Michael Myers on a killing spree have a “been there, done that” formulaic quality that look like tired retreads of previous “Halloween” movies.

Note to filmmakers of future “Halloween” movies: People want to see a “Halloween” movie to have mostly Michael Myers horror scenes, not lukewarm romance scenes that take up too much of the story and look like something from a bland soap opera. That’s why “Halloween Ends” not only fails to live up to the hype but it’s also a horror movie that lacks edge, originality and truly terror-inducing scenes. In other words, “Halloween Ends” is a ripoff and a complete waste of time.

Universal Pictures released “Halloween Ends” in U.S. cinemas and on Peacock on October 14, 2022.

Review: ‘The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,’ starring Nicolas Cage

April 19, 2022

by Carla Hay

Pedro Pascal and Nicolas Cage in “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” (Photo by Katalin Vermes/Lionsgate)

“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent”

Directed by Tom Gormican

Some language in Spanish with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place primarily in Los Angeles and Mallorca, Spain, the action comedy “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” features a cast of white and Latino characters (with a few African Americans) representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: Desperate for money, famous actor Nick Cage agrees to a $1 million fee to appear at a wealthy superfan’s birthday party in Mallorca, where he reluctantly gets in the middle of an international espionage case. 

Culture Audience: “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” will appeal primarily to fans of star Nicolas Cage and comedies that are satires of real people.

Nicolas Cage, Lily Sheen and Sharon Horgan in “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” (Photo by Katalin Vermes/Lionsgate)

It’s not the comedy masterpiece that some people have been hyping it up to be, but “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” has plenty of hilarious moments in spoofing Nicolas Cage’s public persona and action films. The movie has some genuinely inspired scenes before the film’s last 20 minutes devolve into stereotypical formulas seen in many other comedic spy capers. “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is also an above-average buddy comedy, with touches of family sentimentality to balance out some of the wackiness.

Tom Gormican directed “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” from a screenplay that he co-wrote with Kevin Etten. It’s Gormican’s second feature film, after he made his feature-film directorial debut with the forgettable 2014 male-friendship comedy “That Awkward Moment.” Gormican’s background is mainly as a TV writer/producer, with credits that include “Scrubs,” “Desperate Housewives” and “Ed.” At times, “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” veers into stale TV sitcom territory, but the movie has enough originality and charm to rise above its repetitive clichés. “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” has its world premiere at the 2022 South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival in Austin, Texas.

Cage has said in interviews that he initially rejected the idea of doing this movie. It’s a good thing that he changed his mind, because “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is easily one of the funniest comedy films that Cage has done in decades. In the movie, he plays two versions of himself: (1) main character Nick Cage, a present-day version of himself, and (2) Nicky Cage, a younger, brasher version of Cage, circa the late 1980s/early 1990s. (According to the movie’s production notes, Nicky’s physical appearance was inspired by how the real Cage looked in his 1990 movie “Wild at Heart.”)

Nicky has de-aging visual effects for his face, and he appears to Nick as a figment of Nick’s imagination, in moments when Nick is feeling insecure. Nicky’s blunt and sometimes crude conversations with Nick (which are either pep talks, insults or both) are among the more memorable parts of the movie. Nicky has a habit of yelling out “I’m Nick fucking Cage!,” in an elongated way, as if he’s a WWE announcer yelling, “Let’s get ready to rumble!” before a wrestling match. In the film’s end credits, the actor listed as portraying Nicky is Nicolas Kim Coppola, which is a cheeky nod to Cage’s birth surname Coppola. (Numerous movie fans already know that Cage is part of the famous Coppola movie family.)

In the beginning of “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” Nick is a world-famous actor in Los Angeles, but he’s currently not getting the acting roles that he wants. Nick has been struggling with being labeled a “has-been” who’s been doing a lot of low-budget, low-quality movies in recent years. (Real-life filmmaker David Gordon Green has a cameo as himself in an early scene in the movie where Nick tries to impress him with an impromptu monologue reading.)

When Nicky shows up and talks to Nick, it’s usually to remind Nick that his younger self would never have stooped to the level of the type of work that Nick is doing now. In one of the movie’s early scenes, Nicky is lecturing Nick about it during a drive in Nick’s car, with Nick driving. A defensive Nick snaps back: “Hello! It’s my job! It’s how I pay my bills. I have to feed my family.” Nick ends the conversation by telling Nicky, “You’re annoying!” And then Nick kicks Nicky out of the car.

Nick’s fast-talking agent Richard Fink (played by Neil Patrick Harris, in a cameo role) tells Nick about a job offer from a Nick Cage superfan in Mallorca, Spain. This wealthy fan wants to pay Nick $1 million to make a personal appearance at the fan’s birthday party. Nick says no to the idea, because he thinks that these types of personal appearances are beneath him as a “serious actor.”

However, because Nick gets rejected for a movie role that he had been counting on getting, and because he has high-priced divorce payments and other bills, a financially desperate Nick agrees to the birthday party job offer. Nick makes it clear to Richard that this personal appearance better not include anything involving kinky sex. Nick has no idea that what he thinks will be an easy gig will turn out to be a life-threatening, mind-bending experience for him and other people.

Nick isn’t just having problems in his career. His personal life is also messy. Nick has a tension-filled relationship with his ex-wife Olivia (played by Sharon Horgan), a former makeup artist whom he met on the set of his 2001 movie “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.” It’s revealed in “The Unbearable Wright of Massive Talent” that one of the main reasons why they divorced was because Olivia thought that Nick put his career above everything else in his life.

Nick and Olivia have a daughter named Addy (played by Lily Sheen), who’s about 15 or 16 years old. Addy is usually annoyed with Nick because she thinks he forces her to do things (such as watch movies) that are according to what he wants to do and his personal tastes, without taking into consideration Addy’s own personal wants and needs. For example, Nick has insisted that Addy watch the 1920 horror film “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” even though Addy has no interest in seeing this movie.

Addy also thinks Nick has been a neglectful father for most of her life. That’s why Nick and Addy are in therapy together. But as an example of Nick’s self-centered ways, a therapy session that’s shown in the movie reveals that Nick spends most of the time talking about himself, while Addy sulks in a corner on a couch. Their therapist named Cheryl (played by Joanna Bobin) has to listen to Nick ramble on about his career problems, while she tries to steer the conversation back to how to improve his personal relationships.

Nick is so financially broke, he doesn’t have a permanent home, and he’s living at a hotel. When he gets locked out of his hotel room due to non-payment, he calls his agent Richard to tell him that he’s taking the birthday party job. A self-pitying Nick also tells Richard that he’s going to quit being an actor. On his way to Mallorca, Nick has no idea that he’s gotten on the radar of the CIA, which has been tracking the activities of the fan who has hired Nick to be at the fan’s birthday party. The CIA has this superfan under investigation for being the leader of a ruthless international arms cartel.

Two CIA operatives who have been assigned to the case are named Vivian (played by Tiffany Haddish) and Martin (played by Ike Barinholtz), who are surprised and confused when they see Nick disembarking from the private plane that the superfan has chartered for this trip. Vivian, who has a take-charge and quick-thinking personality, immediately pretends to be an adoring Nick Cage fan, and stops him at the airport to take a selfie photo with him. It’s really a ruse to plant a tracking device on Nick. Vivian and Martin are generic and underwritten roles, so Haddish and Barinholtz don’t do much that’s noteworthy in the movie.

In Mallorca, Nick is taken to a lavish cliffside mansion, where he is greeted by several employees of this rich superfan, who is described as a mogul in the olive grove business. The fan’s name is Javi Gutierrez (played by Pasco Pascal), and he is so unassuming on first impression, Nick initially mistakes Javi for one of the servants, because Javi was the one who drove Nick to this mansion by speedboat. The two people in Javi’s inner circle who are the closest to him are his cousin/right-hand man Lucas Gutierrez (played by Paco León) and a savvy business person named Gabriela (played by Alessandra Mastronardi), nicknamed Gabi, who is Javi’s director of operations.

Nick soon finds out that Javi didn’t just invite him to make an appearance at Javi’s birthday party. Javi has written a movie screenplay, and he wants Nick to star in this movie. Javi is crushed when Nick tells him that he’s going to quit acting, so Javi desperately tries to get Nick to change his mind One of the running gags in “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is how Nick reacts to Javi’s attempts to befriend Nick and get Nick to read his script. It should come as no surprise that Javi makes revisions to the screenplay, based on a lot of the shenanigans that he experiences with Nick.

As shown in the movie’s trailer, Vivian and Martin recruit/pressure Nick to spy on Javi for the CIA. Meanwhile, things get more complicated with the kidnapping of Maria Delgado (played by Katrin Vankova), a teenage daughter of a politician who’s running for a high office in Spain. There are entanglements with a thug named Carlos (played by Jacob Scipio) and a group called the Carabello crime family. And it should come as no surprise that Addy and Olivia somehow get mixed up in this mess too.

Along the way, there’s some drug-fueled comedy that’s intended to make the most of Cage’s slapstick skills. First, Nick accidentally drugs himself with a potentially lethal dose of gaseous poison. Later, Nick and Javi take LSD together and have a bonding experience where they go through various levels of elation and paranoia.

Nick and Javi’s budding friendship is at the heart of the movie. However, there are also some standout moments involving Nicky, Olivia and Addy and how their relationships to Nick end up evolving. (Nicky spontaneously does something outrageous, when he kisses Nick, in a scene that will have viewers either shocked, roaring with laughter or both.)

Pascal is pitch-perfect in his role as Javi, who might or might not be the movie’s biggest villain. When secrets are revealed, they’re not too surprising, but one of the best things about “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is that it doesn’t make Javi into a meaningless caricature. Even though Cage is the larger-than-life central character in the movie, Pascal holds his own and can be considered a scene-stealer.

“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” has the expected stream of jokes about previous real-life movies of Cage. Among those that get name-checked or parodied include “Con Air,” “Face/Off,” “Moonstruck,” “Valley Girl,” “The Croods: A New Age,” “Gone in 60 Seconds,” “The Rock,” “Leaving Las Vegas,” “National Treasure” and “Guarding Tess.” Also in “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is a recurring joke about the animated film “Paddington 2” (which is not one of Cage’s movies) and how this family film sequel about a talking bear affects certain people who watch it.

Cage is a versatile actor who tackles his role in “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” with gusto. (He’s also one of the movie’s producers.) Cage makes this movie work so well because he’s fully on board with laughing at himself. Not too many well-known actors would risk doing a movie where they have to poke fun at their triumphs and failures, but it’s precisely this risk-taking that has made Cage one of the most interesting and unpredictable actors of his generation. “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” does indeed have massive talent, but this talent helps the movie soar instead of sink.

Lionsgate will release “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” in U.S. cinemas on April 22, 2022. The movie is set for release on digital and VOD on June 7, 2022, and on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray on June 21, 2022.

Review: ‘Halloween Kills,’ starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Thomas Mann and Anthony Michael Hall

October 16, 2021

by Carla Hay

Judy Greer, Jamie Lee Curtis and Andi Matichak in in “Halloween Kills” (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures)

“Halloween Kills”

Directed by David Gordon Green

Culture Representation: Taking place in 2018, in the fictional Haddonfield, Illinois, the horror flick “Halloween Kills” has a predominantly white cast of characters (with a few African Americans) representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: Serial killer Michael Myers is on the loose again and will murder anyone who gets in his way.

Culture Audience: “Halloween Kills” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in watching horror movies that care more about creating bloody murder scenes than creating any suspense or an interesting story.

Michael Myers (also known as The Shape, pictured at left) in “Halloween Kills” (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures)

“Halloween Kills” is an apt description for what this boring slog of a horror movie does to further destroy the already damaged “Halloween” franchise. It also commits the unforgivable sin of confining “Halloween” icon Laurie Strode to a hospital for most of the movie. Horror movie aficionados will find nothing scary about this cynical cesspool of lazy filmmaking, because “Halloween Kills” is just a series of gory murders thrown into an incoherent and flimsy plot.

The 2018 “Halloween” movie indicated that Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode character (the most famous survivor of mask-wearing serial killer Michael Myers) would return to the franchise as an active hero doing battle against Michael Myers, who is also known as The Shape. The movie also introduced Laurie’s estranged daughter Karen (played by Judy Greer) and Karen’s daughter Allyson (played by Andi Matichak) into the mix, to make this hunt for Michael Myers a multi-generational family mission. At the end of the movie, Laurie and Karen had begun to mend their relationship, with Allyson being somewhat of a bridge between the two.

In “Halloween Kills,” which picks up right after the 2018 “Halloween” movie ended, any expectation that Laurie, Karen and Allyson would join forces is shattered. The three women spend most of the movie apart from each other. And when they are together, they often bicker with each other about who should or shouldn’t go after Michael Myers, who has returned to his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois, to wreak more havoc on Halloween night. (“Halloween Kills” was actually filmed in North Carolina.) Meanwhile, men dominate in the planning of vigilante mob actions that play out in “Halloween Kills” in the most ludicrous ways.

David Gordon Green directed 2018’s “Halloween” and “Halloween Kills,” and he co-wrote both movies with Danny McBride. Jeff Fradley was the third co-writer of 2018’s “Halloween,” while Scott Teems was the third co-writer of “Halloween Kills.” It’s difficult to know if replacing Fradley with Teems is the reason why the quality of the “Halloween Kills” screenplay took a noticeable descent into moronic hell. The 2018 “Halloween” movie is by no means a classic horror flick, but it’s an exceedingly better film than the dreck of “Halloween Kills.” The director is chiefly responsible for how a movie turns out, so it’s disappointing that Green chose to coast off of the success of his “Halloween” movie and churn out such a formulaic and unimaginative dud with “Halloween Kills.”

Simply put: “Halloween Kills” wallows in the worst stereotypes of awful horror flicks. Characters go into a house alone to try and confront the extremely dangerous killer on the loose. When opportunities come to capture or kill the murderer once and for all, characters stand around talking to (or screaming at) the mute psycho killer Michael Myers, as if they think striking up a one-way conversation with him will suddenly turn him to a reasonable, law-abiding citizen. (In “Halloween Kills,” Michael Myers is portrayed by three actors: James Jude Courtney and Nick Castle in the 2018 scenes and Airon Armstrong in the 1978 scenes.)

And even though this serial killer is murdering people all over town, police officers and ambulances are mysteriously absent for most of the mayhem because almost all the imbecile characters in this movie usually don’t call 911. The nonsensical explanation in the movie is that the vigilante citizens think they can take Michael Myers on their own. Many of them think the Haddonfield police are incompetent. But that still doesn’t explain why the police aren’t showing up in force anyway.

And worst of all for a horror movie: There’s almost no suspense and nothing is truly terrifying. Gruesome? Yes. Scary? No. It’s very easy to predict who will die and who will survive in this movie. There’s also the predictable ending scene of someone who might or might not be dead. (It’s the most obvious way for a horror movie to set up a sequel.) The murders are done in such a monotonously routine way, it would be understandable for viewers to think that Michael Myers is sleepwalking. There is absolutely nothing creatively done in this movie when it comes to the plot, dialogue or action sequences.

“Halloween Kills” also squanders a compelling idea of reuniting many of the characters who survived the Michael Myers massacre that took place in the original 1978 “Halloween” movie. Several characters are introduced as having a meaningful connection to “Halloween” lore, but “Halloween Kills” won’t let viewers get to know these characters in a meaningful way. There are flashbacks in “Halloween Kills” that are ultimately a waste of time.

In one such flashback, which takes place in 1978 during Michael Myers’ first massacre in Haddonfield, viewers see a rookie cop in his 20s named Hawkins (played by Thomas Mann) and his older, more experienced partner Pete McCabe (played by Jim Cummings) on the scene. They are among the first cops to respond to this emergency. It’s enough to say that McCabe doesn’t make it out alive, but Hawkins does. In 2018, Hawkins (played by Will Patton) is still a Haddonfield cop, and he’s been wounded in this latest Michael Myers massacre.

Laurie is also wounded, because Michael stabbed her in the abdomen, as shown in 2018’s “Halloween.” She’s first seen in “Halloween Kills” bleeding profusely and in agony in the back of a truck with Karen and Allyson, as the truck speeds to the nearest hospital. It’s at this hospital that Laurie will stay for most of her screen time in “Halloween Kills.” She’s sidelined into being either being unconscious or, when she wakes up, being a cranky grandmother who thinks she knows best when it comes to who should go after Michael Myers.

And what a coincidence: A wounded Hawkins ends up being in the same hospital room as Laurie. There’s an almost laughable backstory put in “Halloween Kills” that Laurie and Hawkins had a flirtation with each other back in 1978. And so, in the midst of all the madness and mayhem with this latest Michael Myers killing spree, Laurie and Hawkins make goo-goo eyes at each other in their hospital beds, as they reminisce about their “could’ve been” near-miss romance. It’s an example of how off-the-rails this movie is in keeping Laurie mostly out of the action.

Besides Laurie and Hawkins, these are the other Haddonfield survivors from the original 1978 massacre who become targets of Michael Myers in the 2018 massacre:

  • Tommy Doyle (played by Anthony Michael Hall): In 1978, Laurie was babysitting Tommy and his sister on the Halloween night when Michael Myers went on his deadly rampage. Tommy’s sister became one of Michael Myers’ murder victims.
  • Lindsey Wallace (played by Kyle Richards): She was also a kid in 1978, and her babysitter was murdered by Michael Myers that night.
  • Marion Chambers (played by Nancy Stephens): She was the nurse of the late Dr. Loomis (played by Donald Pleasance), the psychiatrist who was treating Michael Myers when Michael escaped from the psychiatric institution on that fateful Halloween in 1978. (Stephens reprises her role that she had in 1978’s “Halloween” movie.)
  • Lonnie Elam (played by Robert Longstreet): When he was 9 or 10 years old, he had a near-miss encounter with Michael Myers on a sidewalk on Halloween night 1978. (Tristian Eggerling portrays Lonnie as a child in a flashback scene.)

“Halloween Kills” also has some other characters who encounter Michael Myers on Halloween night in 2018. Lonnie’s son Cameron Elam (played by Dylan Arnold) happens to be Allyson’s boyfriend. Cameron is also the person who finds a wounded Hawkins on the street. It’s one of the few times that someone in this movie has the common sense to call 911 for help. But that’s not what happens later in the movie when Lonnie, Cameron and Allyson foolishly decide to hunt down Michael Myers on their own.

Married couple Marcus (played by Michael Smallwood) and Vanessa (played by Carmela McNeal), who are dressed in Halloween costumes as a doctor and a nurse, meet Tommy at a local bar and quickly befriend him after he gets up on stage and talks about being a Michael Myers survivor. And there’s a gay couple named Big John (played by Scott MacArthur) and Little John (played by Michael McDonald), who work together in real estate. Big John and Little John happen to live in the house that Michael Myers used to live in before Michael was sent to a psychiatric institution in 1963 for killing his 17-year-old sister Judith when he was 6 years old. What are the odds that Michael will go back to his childhood home when Big John and Little John are there?

Michael Myers was supposed to be in his 20s in 1978, which means that he’s getting too old to have the type of superhuman strength that he has in these “Halloween” movies. He’s also been “killed” in several ways in various “Halloween” movies, but he still keeps coming back. All of that is explained in “Halloween Kills” when Laurie gives an absurdly bad monologue about how she’s come to the conclusion that Michael Myers is not human and he feeds off of people’s fear of him.

The “mob justice” aspect of “Halloween Kills” is idiotic and badly mishandled. Expect to see Tommy shout, “Evil dies tonight!” multiple times, as it becomes a rallying cry for the vigilante crowd. Just by coincidence, two psychiatric patients have escaped that night from a psychiatric institution that held Michael Myers. It’s a plot contrivance that’s set up for a silly “mistaken identity” subplot.

Even though the people of Haddonfield should know by now what Michael Myers’ height and general physical build should be (his body type hasn’t changed since 1978), the crazed vigilantes go after one of these escapees who’s considerably shorter and stockier than Michael Myers. Apparently, for this mob, any old psychiatric hospital escapee will do.

Karen is the only one with an iota of common sense to notice that this escapee doesn’t have Michael Myers’ physical characteristics. As the practical-minded Karen, Greer gives the best performance of this movie’s cast members. However, that’s not saying much because everyone’s acting in “Halloween Kills” is mediocre overall.

Oddly, there’s a lone elderly cop in uniform who gets swept up in the vigilante mob. His allegiances are never really clear. One minute, he seems to want to try to stop the mob madness. The next minute, he seems to be going along with the crowd. He doesn’t ask for backup from his fellow police officers. The only thing that’s clear is that he’s a terrible cop who should be fired and can kiss that pension goodbye.

There are many plot holes in “Halloween” that the filmmakers want to cover up with some cringeworthy dialogue and bloody action sequences. “Halloween Kills” has so much arguing and melodrama in a hospital, viewers will be wondering: “Is this a horror movie or a soap opera?” At one point, Laurie rips out her medical tubes and injects herself in the rear end with a painkiller. If you waited your whole life to see Laurie Strode give herself a butt injection, then “Halloween Kills” is the movie for you.

During one of her hospital rants, Laurie says to Karen about why Michael Myers is still on the loose and what Laurie wants to do about it: “The system failed … Let him come for me! Let him take my head as I take his! … You and Allyson shouldn’t have to keep running because of the darkness I created.”

But wait a minute, Laurie. “Halloween Kills” doesn’t want you to take all the credit for Michael Myers going on a rampage. Hawkins thinks Michael Myers is on this killing spree because of Hawkins. He makes a guilt-ridden confession that doesn’t make any sense at all for why Hawkins would be the reason for Michael Myers’ serial killings. There’s a badly written flashback scene involving a cover-up that wouldn’t be plausible in the real world because of autopsy reports and how bullet trajectories would be investigated.

It’s not as if viewers should expect a terrible horror movie like “Halloween Kills” to be realistic. But the movie just doesn’t offer a horrifying mystery, engaging new characters, or even twist-filled “hunt for the killer” chase scenes. It’s all so predictable, hollow and generic. “Halloween Kills” puts too much emphasis on a mindless and forgettable mob of people while sidelining Laurie Strode, the most memorable and iconic hero of the “Halloween” franchise. That’s the real injustice in “Halloween Kills.”

Universal Pictures released “Halloween Kills” in U.S. cinemas and on Peacock on October 15, 2021.

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