Halloween the holiday is still two weeks away. But the movie franchise named after it is back this very weekend. On a special bonus episode of Film Club, critics A.A. Dowd and Katie Rife discuss the latest entry in this undying slasher saga, the middle entry in David Gordon Green’s reboot trilogy, Halloween Kills. And for their thoughts on the series as a whole, including the original and the remake, check out this week’s full episode of the podcast.
Here’s what Katie Rife had to say about Halloween Kills in her written review:
The line around the 2018 Halloween press tour was that the film was really “about” trauma, and that Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her lifelong mission to destroy Michael Myers was a love letter to survivors. If this argument was ever earnest—and this film calls that into question—Halloween Kills drowns it in what, if you peel back a few layers of moralizing and nostalgia bait, is a savage bloodbath à la the 1981 Halloween II. The problem isn’t that Halloween Kills is about nothing more than brutal nihilism; that’s a perfectly acceptable thing for a horror movie to be. It’s that it tries to be about so many things on top of brutal nihilism that it loses its grip early on.
Here, Laurie and her family plumbing the depths of their sadness is but one note in a discordant symphony, one where all the instruments are playing at once. The movie is trying to do so much, both thematically and narratively, that Laurie, her daughter, Karen (Judy Greer), and her granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak), end up becoming minor characters in their own story. Green and company might have meant well in having scenes where Karen shakes and sobs with grief, or Laurie seizes up in emotional agony when she discovers that, once again, she has failed to kill the boogeyman. But the tonal shifts in this movie swing so wildly and imprecisely that the actors’ wrenching performances end up coming across as phony—or, worse, as trauma porn.
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