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More gory fun than methodical, 'Halloween Kills' is fine entertainment

This time, the formerly peaceful town of Haddonfield takes on Myers together, and that produces some scary fun for the audience
Credit: Universal Pictures

ST. LOUIS — Sometimes, the best way to reignite a flame is to mix the old school with the new school, and do it for entertainment value.

Confession: I don't adore the "Halloween" movies. John Carpenter was onto something with his unconventional creation in Michael Myers, the slower-than-ever but surprisingly cunning and deadly slasher. However, I only found the films to be fine. I mean, for crying out loud, just knock the guy over the head with a shovel--and then give him the Ned Stark treatment.

But, sequels followed and mayhem in the usually-quiet Haddonfield, Illinois town became stuff of cinematic legend. I get the flavor, but left David Gordon Green's 2018 sequel of distinct making (it essentially threw out the previous sequel to the 1978 original), "Halloween," disappointed and worst of all, bored by it all.

Where's the life in this unusual killing machine's tale? But also, don't tell us EVERYTHING about Myers and where it all went wrong? The fun can be taken out of the equation if things get too methodical. Every horror subject doesn't need a laundry list of "what we know" factoids to help find a clue when he kills six firefighters in a terrifying early scene during the latest sequel, "Halloween Kills."

Green's second stab at the material makes a more decent cut this time out. I hope this doesn't scare off the serious genre types who need every scary tale to be slowly thought-out, but this movie was fun. It's old school horror style being served up here, but this serving has better crust on its pizza. We find Jamie Lee Curtis' nearly-as-unkillable longtime nemesis of our main menace heading to the hospital after a brutal battle at the end of 2018's feature.

Along with her "finally believing" daughter (the super-reliable Judy Greer) and granddaughter (Andi Matichak) in tow, Curtis' Laurie Strode is laid up for the first part of "Kills." The opening fifteen minutes include a few surprising plot recalls and tosses a few easy twists on certain events from the original. Best of all, the film carries a much better pace this time out, refusing to waste too much time waxing about the wild mind of Michael.

Look, he's a messed-up kid. Traumatized and repressed as a youth, he can't help but return to his childhood home and do some killing every Halloween. The less time the characters think too much about the origin of this monster (do a true origin movie already!), the more fun can be had with a unique antagonist.

Credit: Universal Pictures

What "Halloween Kills" gets right is making our bad guy a versatile destroyer and simply pitting him against the entire town of Haddonfield, Illinois. He doesn't need a knife to knock your windpipe out, but he may just put his chef's knife through your eye and brain. You can shoot him, hit him with a bat, stab, and shoot him some more. He just keeps coming back.

Maybe, in next year's (in post-production) planned finale, some closure (he's an alien?) can be found. If not, the series still carries weight as long it doesn't try to pry too deep into the Myers methodology. Who comes to a horror film for that?

While Green tried to go deeper into the Myers psychology and history with his 2018 rendition, here he just pays homage to the 1978 original while adding his own fair share of blood and guts. Oh, you bet this film will make you jump a couple times at least.

The cast does a fine job here carrying well-worn, familiar material. Curtis just brings it full-throttle, pushing harder into one of her most famous roles with gusto. I took certain over-the-top moments as glorious displays of campy humor, so it played well with her "don't mess with my family" mother roar setup.

Greer gets more to do this time, and it really picks up the final third of the movie. Will Patton is good in everything, and that continues here in a pivotal role. As Myers aka "The Shape," Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney do great work. If anyone is the star, it's the bad guy slowly walking around town with vengeance.

Here's the thing. "Halloween Kills" gets better as it ages, which is always a good thing for a film, horror picture or not. I left wanting more, in a good way, and it will happen.