Halloween Kills was given its premiere at the Venice Film Festival today, and with many fans already eagerly awaiting the return of Michael Myers in the sequel to 2018’s Halloween reboot, it would take some pretty dismal first reactions to dampen expectation. However, as the first reviews emerged, it seems that there is no fear of that as far as fans of the franchise are concerned, for the critics however it seemed to be a different story entirely.
YouTube channel Fandom Empire were one of the first to give an in depth spoiler-free review of the movie, which came directly from one of their sources who attended the screening and definitely didn’t hold back on praising what could prove to be an unlikely best movie in the entire forty-three year history of the franchise.
The report from the screening, which matched other reviews and comments to come from the screening, read, “There’s truly never been a slasher film that encapsulates and tackles all that Halloween Kills does. Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: this is Michael Myers film, but that doesn’t mean it comes at a sacrifice of the returning legacy characters. Michael Myers is brutal and an un-killable force. It’s a big film, it is truly an ensemble film, and stuns in its cinematography. Halloween Kills succeeds as an emotional, brooding and brutal slasher film. This is David Gordon Green’s Empire Strikes Back, it is his Dark Knight, it is Halloween Kills.”
Twitter user M – @tdsmatt – echoed this sentiment, saying, “HALLOWEEN 2018 is Laurie Strode: it’s messy but warm and likable. #HalloweenKills is Michael Myers, a coldly efficient killing machine slaughtering everything in its past. The level of carnage in this is frankly astounding. You’ve never seen a slasher movie on this scale.”
However, as the critics took over, the overwhelming show of love suddenly took a downslide. IGN gave a short overview that seemed to sum up many of the critical reviews with the comment, “Halloween Kills delivers deliciously gory kills and nods to John Carpenter’s original classic, but still feels like half a movie.” Variety certainly didn’t hold back with their review which said that the movie would “reignite nostalgia for mediocre slasher sequels.” While they praised Green for his first stab at the Halloween franchise with his 2018 movie, according to them, the sequel “fumbles the ball” when it becomes a “desperate, bottom line-fixated sequel.” They seal their version of events with a brutal slash of their own commenting, “After 40 years, that mask is more expressive than any of the actors in Halloween Kills.” Ouch, full decapitation right there.
As the Rotten Tomatoes reviews rolled in, it didn’t get much better. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter said, “The latest installment is like a latex ghoul mask so stretched and shapeless it no longer fits.” IndieWire‘s Ben Croll commented, “An almost elemental slasher outing unclouded by conscience, remorse or delusions of morality.” Then Robbie Collin of the UK’s Daily Telegraph hammered home with, “Halloween Kills certainly feels like more Halloween. But the game board is left exactly as it was found it in readiness for round 13; the only thing that advances is the body count.”
There were however some positive critic reviews who were happy to counter the negatives and join those first enthusiastic fan reviews in praising the movie for what it is. Ben Rolph of Discussing Film said, “[Halloween Kills] takes the slash in “slasher” up to a thousand and it’s all the better for it.” Jonathan Romney of The Guardian commented, “Forty years after John Carpenter made the defining slasher movie, director David Gordon Green has made a creditable stab, as it were, at reanimating the title.” And Asher Luberto for TheWrap said, “For all the deep and troubling psychoanalysis of this film, it’s also a textbook “Halloween” movie.”
After Halloween took over $250 million in 2018, it was clear that something special was building for fans of the franchise, and considering it had only been a few years since Rob Zombie brought his style to Michael Myers, there was always a question of whether the world needed another reboot. It seems that the answer was yes it did. It took Wes Craven to return to the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise with New Nightmare to make Freddy Krueger a force to be reckoned with again, and after 10 movies in the franchise, it seems that, for fans at least, Halloween and Halloween Kills are ensuring that thirteen is certainly not an unlucky number for Halloween Ends, which director David Gordon Green said at the Venice Film Festival panel is ready to go into production.
In the horror genre, there is a solid belief that you can’t keep a bad guy down, but is seems that this resurrection is one that perhaps horror fans and the franchise have been waiting 40 years for, even if many critics could have lived without it. Halloween Kills gets its general theatrical release on October 14th.