Having been pushed back an entire year by the effects of the pandemic, Halloween Kills has remained one of the most hotly-anticipated horror sequels in a long time since David Gordon Green’s hybrid of sequel and reboot first landed in 2018 to score the best reviews the franchise had seen since John Carpenter’s original 40 years previously, while it also nabbed a record box office haul of $255 million.
As a result, expectations have been seriously raised for Michael Myers’ latest blood-soaked and very stabby outing, with all of the key creative players talking Halloween Kills up as a much more violent and vicious beast than its predecessor, which was hardly a quaint drama. The movie recently premiered at the Venice Film Festival, so the early reviews have started rolling in, but they’re a lot more muted than you might expect.
IndieWire‘s Ben Croll opines that the jarring tonal shifts undercut the narrative because “speeches about community healing just don’t land the same when Michael is making mincemeat of the town’s fire brigade with a chainsaw”, while Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman is much more blunt in saying “Halloween night may be Michael Myers’ masterpiece, but Halloween Kills is no masterpiece. It’s a mess”.
IGN‘s Rafael Montamayor praised the film as an entertaining slasher, but laments its status as the middle chapter in a trilogy; “It’s hard to recommend Halloween Kills as a standalone experience, but rest assured that when Michael is out on the hunt, Halloween certainly Kills“. HeyUGuys‘ Adam Solomons has much higher praise, offering that “for slasher fans and everyday moviegoers alike, Kills is a long-awaited entry to a franchise like no other”, with Discussing Film‘s Ben Rolph succinctly summing things up; “It takes the slash in ‘slasher’ up to a thousand and it’s all the better for it”.
Not quite what people are hoping for, then, but tepid reviews won’t stop Halloween Kills from taking a serious bite out of the box office when it arrives on October 15h.