The first reviews for Halloween Kills are now online, and they are something of a mixed bag. That might be a disappointing statement for fans David Gordon Green and Danny McBride's 2018 reboot of the Halloween film franchise, which served as a fan-approved love-letter to John Carpenter's original vision. However, based on a lot of the reviews (which you can get a sampling of, below) it seems that Halloween Kills makes the mistake of trying for the 'bigger is better' approach to making a sequel - and falls somewhat short of achieving that lofty ambition. Classic Halloween 2 stuff...
"Three years ago, David Gordon Green successfully breathed new life into the mythology of Michael Myers by building a story about the legacy of trauma and pitting three generations of women from the same family against the psycho-slasher introduced by John Carpenter in the influential 1978 horror classic," THR writes. "...But in this second part of a trilogy spun out of the rebooted property... Green has made exactly the kind of witless, worthless sequel that bled the franchise dry in the 1980s and '90s."
Discussing Film disagrees entirely, stating that "Halloween Kills is a non-stop, blood-rushing blast. David Gordon Green takes the brutality of his 2018 film and amps it up, breaking the dial in the process... no character, big or small, is ever safe. There are some absolutely gnarly kills that will become ingrained in spectator's minds. It's shocking to the highest degree. In terms of the film's scare factor, audiences will be undoubtedly biting their nails in anxiety. Green successfully keeps the viewer on edge as one anticipates the sudden arrival of Michael's cold knife piercing through his next victim."
Falling somewhere in the middle, The Guardian feels that Halloween Kills does the job that it needs to: "There's not a massive amount of innovation, but the significant new element is that the citizens of Haddonfield decide to hunt Myers down vigilante-style... which is where the film gestures at a parable about everyday Americans going rogue under the spell of collective hatred. No one actually dons a horned helmet, but we get the message." (To be fair, Halloween Kills was originally supposed to be released before the 2020 Election ever happened.)
"Fans of the Halloween saga are going to love Halloween Kills," Jumpcut says. "It ticks all the boxes – brutal, bloody deaths, and embattled Laurie Strode, and the trudging, persistent threat of Michael Myers, played again by Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney."
/Film gives credit for the attempt at innovation within the somewhat tired and worn Halloween franchise formula: "The film that results is something that feels entirely at home within the series' history and something that tries to journey down avenues unexplored in the previous 11 films."
In the end, it sounds like opening the floodgates and turning the tables to make the townspeople of Haddonfield all band together to fight Michael Myers will be an event that separates Halloween Kills from its predecessors. For better or worse.
Halloween Kills screened at the Venice Film Festival and will hit theaters on October 15th.