|Directed by||David Gordon Green|
|Edited by||Tim Alverson|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$90.9 million|
Halloween Kills is a 2021 American slasher film directed by David Gordon Green and written by Green, Danny McBride, and Scott Teems. The film is a direct sequel to 2018's Halloween and the twelfth installment in the Halloween franchise. The film stars Jamie Lee Curtis and James Jude Courtney, who reprise their roles as Laurie Strode and Michael Myers. Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, and Will Patton also reprise their roles from the previous film, with Anthony Michael Hall and Thomas Mann joining the cast. The film, which begins precisely where the previous film ended, sees Strode and her family continuing to fend off Myers, this time with the help of the Haddonfield community.
Jason Blum serves as a producer on the film through his Blumhouse Productions banner, alongside Malek Akkad and Bill Block. Before the release of the 2018 film, McBride in June 2018 confirmed that he and Green were originally intending to pitch two films that would be shot back-to-back and then decided against it, waiting to see the reaction to the first film. Following the critical and commercial success of the 2018 film, development on the sequel promptly began as early as October 2018. By February 2019, Teems was hired to co-write the script. The film's title was officially announced in July 2019, along with its sequel. Principal photography commenced in September 2019 in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Following a year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Halloween Kills had its world premiere at the 78th Venice International Film Festival on September 8, 2021, and was theatrically released in the United States on October 15, 2021, by Universal Pictures. It will also stream on paid tiers of Peacock for 60 days. The film has grossed $90 million worldwide against a production budget of $20 million, and received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the creative kills and performances, but criticized its screenplay and lack of innovation.
A direct sequel, Halloween Ends, is scheduled to be released on October 14, 2022.
On October 31, 1978, Deputy Frank Hawkins accidentally shoots his partner dead while trying to save him from Michael Myers. He also prevents Dr. Samuel Loomis from executing Michael. Forty years later, on October 31, 2018, after being stabbed and left to die by Dr. Ranbir Sartain, Hawkins is found by teenager Cameron Elam, who calls an ambulance. Hawkins regrets not allowing Michael's execution and vows to kill him.
Meanwhile, Tommy Doyle celebrates the 40th anniversary of Michael's imprisonment along with fellow survivors Marion Chambers, Lindsey Wallace, and Cameron's father, Lonnie Elam, all having encountered Michael in 1978. Firefighters responding to Laurie Strode's burning house unknowingly release Michael, who slaughters them with their own equipment. Laurie, her daughter Karen, and her granddaughter Allyson are taken to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, where Laurie undergoes emergency surgery, as Michael murders Laurie's neighbors before making his way back to Haddonfield.
Tommy, Marion, Lindsey, and Lonnie learn of Michael's killing spree through a wireless emergency alert. Bar patron Vanessa supposedly encounters Michael in her car, but the driver crashes and escapes unnoticed. Tommy forms a mob of vengeful Haddonfield residents to hunt down and kill Michael. Karen is informed that Michael is still alive and withholds that from Laurie to allow her to recover. Allyson reconciles with Cameron, her ex-boyfriend, and she joins Tommy's mob to avenge her own father's death. Laurie and Hawkins both awaken in the same room and reminisce about their former relationship.
While warning the Haddonfield community to stay inside their houses, Marion, Vanessa, and her husband Marcus are killed by Michael. Lindsey escapes and is found alive by Tommy, Lonnie, Allyson, and Cameron. The group map out Michael's path and his victims' location and deduce that he is heading towards his childhood home. Tommy takes Lindsey to the hospital and reunites with former Haddonfield sheriff Leigh Brackett, whose daughter Annie was killed in 1978, and informs Laurie about Michael's survival. Across town, Michael murders the current owners of his home as Laurie prepares to leave the hospital.
Lance Tovoli, a fugitive convict from Smith's Grove Psychiatric Hospital and Vanessa's car driver, who escaped alongside Michael when their bus crashed, arrives and is mistaken for Michael. Tommy's mob pursue him through the hospital before Karen realizes that he is not Michael. Despite her attempts to calm the mob and help Lance, he jumps out a window to his death. Laurie urges Karen to work with Tommy and Brackett to hunt Michael down. Elsewhere, Lonnie heads in alone to Michael's home and is killed. Allyson and Cameron rush inside and find his corpse before being attacked by Michael, who murders Cameron.
As Michael prepares to kill Allyson, Karen stabs him in the back with a pitchfork, steals his mask, and taunts him to follow her. She leads Michael into Tommy's mob, who swarm, attack, and seemingly kill him. When the mob disperses, Michael recovers and massacres the entire mob, including Tommy and Brackett. Back at Michael's home, Karen investigates while Allyson receives medical attention. Michael appears and stabs Karen to death in Judith Myers's old bedroom as Laurie stares out of her hospital room.
Also appearing in the film are Carmela McNeal as Vanessa, a bar patron; Ross Bacon as Lance Tovoli, an escaped convict from Smith's Grove Psychiatric Hospital who is mistaken with Michael, Omar Dorsey as Sheriff Barker, Haddonfield's current sheriff; Jim Cummings as Pete McCabe, Hawkins' partner whom Hawkins accidentally killed in 1978; Scott MacArthur and Michael McDonald as Big John and Little John, the Myers' house current owners, Brian F. Durkin as Deputy Graham, Haddonfield's deputy sheriff; Michael Smallwood as Marcus, Vanessa's husband; Lenny Clarke and Diva Tyler as Phil and Sondra, Laurie's neighbors; the Levesque Triplets (Andrea Levesque, Arianna Levesque and Athena Levesque) as singing triplets in the bar; Mike Dupree as a singing ventriloquist; and Elaine Nalee as a helpful neighbor from Tommy's mob.
Other actors also reprise their roles: Drew Scheid as Oscar, Cameron's best friend who was killed by Michael in the 2018 film, seen as a corpse and heard via a voicemail message; Jibrail Nantambu as Julian Morrisey, a young boy who escaped from Michael's killing spree in the 2018 film, seen only in a brief TV news interview; and Haluk Bilginer as Dr. Ranbir Sartain, Michael's psychiatrist in archive footage from the previous film. Dr. Samuel Loomis is portrayed by the film's art director, Tom Jones, Jr., and is voiced by Colin Mahan, reprising his vocal role as Loomis from the 2018 film. P. J. Soles appears as Lynda Van Der Klok in archive footage from the 1978 film; and Nancy Loomis also appears as Annie Brackett in archive footage from the Halloween II (1981), depicting her on a stretcher after her body is found. Bob Odenkirk has a cameo appearance in a photograph as Bob Simms, one of Myers' victims from the 1978 film. The producers were unable to secure the likeness of original actor John Michael Graham for the film and instead used a real high school yearbook photograph of Odenkirk after discovering their resemblance.
In June 2018, Danny McBride confirmed that he and David Gordon Green had originally intended to pitch two films that would be shot back-to-back and then decided against it, waiting to see the reaction to the first film:
"We were going to shoot two of them back-to-back. Then we were like, 'Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves. This could come out, and everyone could hate us, and we'd never work again. So, let's not have to sit around for a year while we wait for another movie to come out that we know people aren't going to like.' So, we were like, 'Let's learn from this, and see what works, and what doesn't.' But we definitely have an idea of where we would go [with] this branch of the story and hopefully we get a chance to do it."
In September 2018, producer Jason Blum said that "we will do a sequel if the movie performs". By October 2018, after the film's opening weekend, McBride confirmed that early development on a sequel had begun.
In February 2019, Collider exclusively confirmed Scott Teems was in talks to write the script, having collaborated with Blumhouse Productions on several projects in development. Teems had also written a story treatment for the film prior to the negotiations. Blum, Malek Akkad and Bill Block returned as producers, while Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer and Andi Matichak reprised their roles.
In June 2019, it was reported that a sequel would begin filming in September 2019, with Green returning to write the script and direct and Curtis, Greer, and Matichak reprising their roles from the 2018 film. On July 8, 2019, Bloody Disgusting reported that the studio was not only considering filming both sequels back to back, but also releasing both of them in October 2020. On July 19, 2019, Universal Pictures revealed the titles and release dates of two sequels were announced: Halloween Kills, set to be released on October 16, 2020, and Halloween Ends, set to be released on October 15, 2021. Green will direct both films and co-write the scripts with McBride, and Curtis will reprise her role in both films. Teems was confirmed as a co-writer for Halloween Kills, while Paul Brad Logan and Chris Bernier were announced as co-writers of Halloween Ends.
On July 26, 2019, it was confirmed that Nick Castle will return for both sequels for some scenes as Michael Myers with James Jude Courtney again playing Myers for the majority of the films. On August 26, 2019, it was announced that Anthony Michael Hall would join the cast as Tommy Doyle, a character portrayed by Brian Andrews in the original Halloween film. Paul Rudd, who played Doyle in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, was approached to reprise his role, but declined as he was unavailable due to his commitments to Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
On August 30, 2019, it was announced that Kyle Richards would reprise her role as Lindsey Wallace from the original film. Charles Cyphers was officially confirmed to return in October, his first role in a film since Methodic in 2007. On September 5, 2019, it was reported that Robert Longstreet would play Lonnie Elam, a character from the original film. On September 27, 2019, Nancy Stephens, who portrayed Nurse Marion Chambers in the original film and its sequels Halloween II and Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, was cast to reprise her role. Jibrail Nantambu is set to reprise his role as Julian from the previous film; while Victoria Paige Watkins and Brian F. Durkin joined the cast. In May 2021, it was revealed that Thomas Mann would appear in an undisclosed role.
On July 19, 2019, a spokesperson for Blumhouse Productions confirmed that Halloween Kills and its sequel Halloween Ends will commence production and filming in Wilmington, North Carolina at the same time. The movie commenced filming September 16, 2019. According to a film permit obtained from the city, there would be a news reporter scene giving updates on the events of the 2018 film. Filming in Wilmington on September 20 to 21 involved a car wreck scene. Additional photography included simulated gunfire scenes on September 27, September 30, and October 1. Additional filming occurred on October 16, 2019. Filming concluded on November 3, 2019.
Halloween Kills premiered at the 78th Venice International Film Festival on September 8, 2021. The film was originally set to be theatrically released on October 16, 2020 but in July 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was delayed to October 15, 2021. On September 9, 2021, it was announced that in addition to being released in theaters the film would also be streamed on paid tiers of Peacock for 60 days.
In the United States and Canada, Halloween Kills was released alongside The Last Duel, and was initially projected to gross $35–40 million from 3,700 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $4.85 million from Thursday night previews, the biggest for both an R-rated title and a horror film amid the pandemic, surpassing A Quiet Place Part II's $4.8 million. After making $22.8 million on its first day (including previews), estimates were raised to $50 million. It ended up debuting to $49.4 million, topping the box office and marking the best opening for an R-rated film amid the pandemic (nearly doubling The Suicide Squad's $26.2 million). It fell 71% in its second weekend to $14.5 million, finishing second behind newcomer Dune.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 39% based on 210 reviews, with an average rating of 5/10. The site's consensus reads, "Halloween Kills should satisfy fans in search of brute slasher thrills, but in terms of advancing the franchise, it's a bit less than the sum of its bloody parts." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 42 out of 100, based on 45 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it a 69% positive score, with 52% saying they would definitely recommend it.
Barry Hertz of The Globe and Mail was positive in his review, saying that the film was "brimming with odd decisions", but added: "there is something entertaining, or maybe just enjoyably puzzling, about what Gordon Green and McBride think a Michael Myers movie could or ought to be." Reviewing the film for TheWrap, Asher Luberto praised the return of cast members from the 1978 film and wrote: "Green seems less interested in rewriting the Halloween playbook than in giving audiences what they came for, from ghastly scares to a ghoulish score. It's a strategy that promises to make the series as immortal as Michael Myers himself." /Film's Marshall Shaffer gave the film 7.5/10 and said: "There's good reason to be excited for how Green will bring this all to a head in his grand finale. Halloween Kills manages to put a playful but petrifying spin on mythology without resorting to cheap self-referentiality." Brian Truitt of USA Today gave the film 2.5/4 stars, saying that it was "gruesomely brutal as a night spent with Michael Myers should be", but added that it "loses some of its skull-crushing effectiveness juggling rampant carnage and social commentary."
Owen Gleiberman of Variety wrote: "Halloween night may be Michael Myers' masterpiece, but Halloween Kills is no masterpiece. It's a mess — a slasher movie that's almost never scary, slathered with 'topical' pablum and with too many parallel plot strands that don't go anywhere." Kyle Smith of National Review criticized the violence in the film, writing: "the only element that excites more than it nauseates is the terrific score", and called the film "grueling, enervating, and dispiriting". David Fear of Rolling Stone wrote: "Kills comes incredibly close to erasing every ounce of good will that Green’s revolutionary redo built up. It murders the desire to ever watch another Halloween movie again." Brian Lowry of CNN said that the film was "odd on various levels, starting with the wholly misguided attempt to weave a half-baked message into its bloody mayhem", and wrote: "If the previous movie conjured a bit of excitement by eradicating everything that had transpired after the original, that sense of novelty has quickly worn off."
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film a score of 2/4 stars, describing it as a "thudding disappointment" and "an inconsistent, sloppy mess." Kevin Maher of The Times gave the film 1/5 stars, describing it as a "depressingly mechanical gorefest" that "has nothing to offer the sentient viewer". Clarisse Loughrey of The Independent gave the film 2/5 stars, describing it as a "lurching, directionless corpse of a film" that "relies far too much on the knowledge that it has one more instalment … in which to figure out what the whole blasted trilogy should be about." Linda Marric of The Jewish Chronicle also gave the film 2/5 stars, deeming it "a shambolic, risible mess which is further hampered by a total absence of genuinely scary bits." Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph also gave the film 2/5 stars, writing: "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."
In July 2019, the film was announced alongside a direct sequel titled Halloween Ends, which is scheduled to be released on October 14, 2022. While originally developed to be set on the same night as Halloween (2018) and Halloween Kills, the film will take place at least four years later in 2022 and will address the COVID-19 pandemic. Green described Ends as a "coming of age story" and "a more intimate movie" where "some of the characters... have processed the insanity of the circus of the massacre of 2018. And not only that, but they've also processed the world as it's spun so wildly in the last four years."
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