Cinema Dispatch: Trailer Talk (Halloween Kills)

Halloween Kills is owned by Universal Pictures and all the images you see in this trailer talk are the property of their respective owners

The Halloween sequel from 2018 (which was actually the THIRD sequel to the original  movie; fourth if you count the sequel to the Rob Zombie reboot) had a VERY clear path to a sequel which I thought was to its detriment.  For me, finishing off the series, at least as far as Jamie Lee Curtis’s involvement with it, in one final definitive perfect movie would have been preferable to… well pretty much what they did the LAST time they brought Jamie Lee Curtis back.  In H20, she definitively killed Michael Myers and ended the nightmare, but then they made a sequel to bring him back and it was the worst Halloween film; yes, even worse than either cut of Curse.  Well despite my protestations, Universal and Blum House are going ahead with the sequel and we have our first trailer to check out.  Let’s see what they’ve got for us aside from a very awkward title!

Now it’s hard to say how any of it will work until we see the movie, but what’s interesting is that they are pretty much following the ORIGINAL sequel formula which is to have it take place on the same night after Laurie is taken to the hospital and have most of the action take place there.  They sort of did that at the start of Rob Zombie’s Halloween II as a misdirection before jumping ahead to several months later, but here they seem to be playing it fairly straight which COULD work I suppose, but so much of this trailer feels like retreading what we saw in the last movie.  Laurie is determined to kill Michael Myers, the cops are completely ineffectual, and somehow Michael manages to find the rest of Laurie’s family.  There also seems to be a shift in Laurie’s character based on the dialogue in this trailer which is raising some red flags for me as well.  In the last movie she was the only one who REALLY understood Michael, not as a fascinating glimpse into the human psyche like the podcasters or Dr. Sartain and not as a mere annoyance to be dealt with like the Sherriff, but as a mere mortal who is capable of great evil.  Her references to him being THE BOOGEYMAN as a coy put down of the myth people want to build up around him is also a defense mechanism to try and keep herself above everyone else and therefore justify her survivalist lifestyle.  Here, she’s talking about how each kill makes Michael grow stronger; like he’s a freaking Highlander.  Perhaps the lines are worded differently in the final film, but it feels like we’re going down the same road that the latter sequels did in making Michael more than he actually is.

“You ever see his eyes? They’re black eyes… soulless eyes, like a doll’s eyes…” “I mean he does wear a mask.” “THAT’S NOT THE POINT!!”

Now that’s not to say there isn’t anything good to be found here, and some of the ideas they’re taking from the other films seem to be taking things in an interesting direction.  Sure, the masks from Halloween 3 are a cute callback, but what stood out to me is the idea of a vigilante mob going after Michael which is pretty much the ending to the fourth film, and there is some intriguing imagery at play here.  A city that’s been under the shadow of a killer like Michael finally gets a chance to lash out against him, and it could go all sorts of terrifying ways; especially if the mob starts to turn on each other as they fail to finish off Michael at every turn.  That at least feels like a fresh spin for the franchise and will hopefully be better executed than the Red Neck Platoon from the fourth movie which was more comic relief than anything else.  Aside from that, it looks like Judy Greer is going to have a much more active role in this film which is great as she was one of the best things about the 2018 film, and the violence is definitely turned up to eleven which they were more than happy to show us here.  The firefighters getting ruined by this old dude covered in burns will no doubt be as gruesome to see in the final product as it is ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS.  Seriously, after the first three dudes couldn’t finish him off, the fourth, fifth, and sixth guys thought that THEY had this?

ALRIGHT ALREADY! WE GET THE POINT!!

For me, there’s just too much repetition going on in this trailer from all angles, whether it’s from the 2018 film, we’re the 1981 sequel, or even the Thorn Trilogy with the allusions to Michael being supernatural and killing for a higher purpose.  It’s balanced out somewhat by a few ideas that will hopefully be fleshed out in the full movie and the sheer amount of gore they’re putting in this one to make it a big bloody spectacle.  I got almost everything I wanted out of the 2018 film and what little didn’t click for me certainly doesn’t seem to be rectified here.  If anything, the flaws are being exacerbated as Halloween seems to be falling into old habits, which is disappointing to see, but I sat through all the other Halloween films no matter how bad they were and I doubt we’ll be plumbing THOSE depths with this one here.  There’s enough talent behind this for it not to be a Resurrection or Curse style disaster, but considering how high the bar was set with the first movie it’s going to be hard for just another one of these to feel like anything more than a letdown.

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