40 years after the fateful first killing spree – Halloween Kills is set on the same night as its predecessor Halloween (2018) – the matriline of Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) learn that their plan to trap and burn Michael Myers has not proved successful. Instead, the supervillain carries on in his attempt to obliterate the entire town of Haddonfield, where he grew up.

It is the second part of David Gordon Green’s trilogy based on John Carpenter’s characters from the 1978 film, with the last instalment Halloween Ends currently in pre-production. As such, most of the storyline is evident from the get-go.

Michael Myers is not an antagonist with a woeful origin story or conceivable motivation, rather he is a manifestation of pure evil and also continually referred to as the “Boogeyman”. He is merciless and unstoppable.

Instead of tapping into the time that has passed since the original instalment’s release, Halloween Kills is an archetypal slasher and feels like an old dog without new tricks. Aside from original characters returning, a handful of token black and gay characters are thrown into the mix but their existence adds nothing of value.

The most successful part of the feature is one that does not involve the masked murderer: out for blood, the riled up townsfolk crash the hospital in which survivors are being treated. The images are eerily reminiscent of recent news footage. The frenzy of the vigilantes is referred to as Michael Myer’s masterpiece.

Will fans of splatter and gore get their money’s worth? Absolutely! Possibly, this is the sole objective of re-hashing the old classic. It is impressive that Green managed to get Jamie Lee Curtis back on board to reprise the role that started her journey as “Scream Queen”. Yet, it would be too simple to dismiss it as a genre film without evaluating it like any other feature screening at the festival. Particularly considering Italy’s own prominent history with horror and 2018’s Suspiria, which proved a worthy Competition entry, Halloween Kills falls flat.

★★☆☆☆

Selina Sondermann

Halloween Kills is released nationwide on 15th October 2021.

For further information about the event visit the Venice Film Festival website here.

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