Halloween Kills

I hated this movie. I very rarely hate movies, but I very rarely see movies this aggressively bad. I don’t know how the director David Gordon Green looked at this film and thought “yeah, this is good. I’m going to release it to audiences.” Every bad decision that could be made was made in this movie, and I’m going to go over all of them.

In 1978, John Carpenter released one of the best horror movies ever. It defined a genre and holds up today. It was of course Halloween. After 30 years of sequels and remakes, David Gordon Green and Danny McBride decided to bring it all back to basics and make a stripped down direct sequel to the 1978 film. They brought back that film’s star Jamie Lee Curtis. They took away all the other elements that had built up over the years and refocused the story. Now, two years later they have unleashed a sequel to that film. Spoiler alert, they both suck.

David Gordon Green is a terrible horror director. He doesn’t understand horror at all. He mistakes brutal bloody violence for scares. He thinks jump cuts equal jump scares. He seems to think that more and more dead bodies will up the fear instead of just becoming monotonous. I’m going to hit each one of those points one at a time.

This movie is brutally violent. It kicks off with Michael Myers killing a dozen fire fighters with various implements. This is shot not like a horror scene, but like a showdown in a John Wick movie with boogeyman Michael Myers as the cool action star. It’s not scary to see a knife enter someone’s neck, or face, or stomach, or hand, or arm, or ankle, or eye socket. The murder itself isn’t the scary part. If the kill itself was frightening, then John Wick would be a horror film. Any action movie would be terrifying if faceless people getting killed was scary. The scary part of a slasher film is the threat of death. It’s the encroaching inevitability of the murder. A girl goes into the dark basement, and we’re all on edge because we know danger is down there. That’s fear building up. When the killer stabs her, that’s the shock of that fear bursting forth. Without the buildup or the dread, it’s just action. This is an action movie. It’s a brutal unrelenting action movie in which the bodies are not Nazi’s or henchmen, but everyday people in this small mid western town. Michael Myers isn’t a boogeyman here. He’s an action star.

There’s a moment in the film in which a man is searching the house. He enters a bedroom with a flashlight. He scans the darkened room. The camera pans across the room. Suddenly, there’s a squelching sound. The film jump cuts back to the man, Michael Myers is standing behind him. His knife is already in the man’s side. There’s no building of tension as to whether or not Michael is in the house. There’s no sense that he’s in this room waiting to pop out. And there’s no actual jump scare in this moment. There’s no loud musical cue. There’s no loud noise. It’s just a jump cut that is more confusing than frightening. Another moment has a man staring out a window. We know Michael is probably in the room. The camera lingers on the man’s reflection in the window. Suddenly, jump cut to a medium shot of Michael running. Cut to Michael and the man crashing into each other. This doesn’t work because of the jump cut. We don’t have a sense of where Michael is or what he’s charging at. The following shot does nothing to clear up the spacial geography of the action. It’s just a series of confusing and muddled jump cuts that imply action while leaving us lost in the dark room. It’s not scary. It’s just spatially confusing. I’m not scared. I’m annoyed because I can’t tell what’s going on.

Within the first five minutes Michael Myers brutally murders a dozen men. He then breaks into an elderly couples house. He murders the husband. The wife is cowering in the corner. He casually walks up to her and stabs her in the neck. Killing people is an easy and casual activity for him. Everyone he comes across, he murders. I lost count about twenty minutes in. After twenty minutes, I was so bored of watching people get eviscerated that it just become a numbing. I didn’t care. There’s a new character. I bet you they’re going to die. Oh look, they’ve died. Oh boy here are two more people. I bet they’re going to die. Gee whiz, I was right they’re dead. Here comes another person… When everyone is dying all the time it’s hard for any of the kills to matter. None of them stand out. It’s just a wash of dead bodies.

This movie is garbage. It is one of the worst directed horror movies I’ve ever seen, but it’s also one of the worst written. The script is truly terrible. No work was done here. Michael literally walks up to a woman and stabs her in the neck without a buildup of any kind. He just walks across the kitchen and stabs her. There isn’t a single scene that was written, staged, or shot with any amount of cleverness or invention. It’s like they tried to make it as dull as possible. Every line of dialogue is an insufferable pontification on the nature of Michael Myers’ evil, a whiny complaint about how much Myers has taken from them, or someone shouting “evil dies tonight.” The script is crap. It is how high off of its own mythologizing that it forgets to tell a story or build something narratively.

The movie has about two hundred and fifty characters. About two hundred and forty of them end up murdered. The only interesting characters of the bunch are Laurie played by Jamie Lee Curtis and Hawkins, played by Will Patton. However these two interesting characters are sidelined for the entire movie. They only get to sit in a hospital room and share crappy dialogue about how evil Michael is and what’s he’s done to this town. I swear they copy and pasted certain lines from scene to scene just to save time.

This is a garbage film. I have only hated three movies in my life. I love movies even the bad one. I hated this movie. I hope it fails and they never let David Gordon Green direct another horror movie ever again. Not my cup of tea. F-

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