The requel from 2018 did so well both commercially and critically that they immediately decided to turn this new timeline into a trilogy. This middle child of the new Halloween movies suffers from an extreme lack of focus and some absolutely dire dialogue sprinkled throughout. Most of that gets made up for by the fact that this movie is just as gory and gorgeous as the previous film. For all the faults, including an abysmal tagline, the film still manages to do it’s job of setting up a finale that I’ll be looking at tomorrow.
Just like the original Halloween 2, which this movie actually uses some footage from, we start out right were the previous film left off. Laurie’s house is ablaze and the Strode women are in the back of a truck on the way to the hospital. Michael isn’t going to let a little thing like a burning house stop him, though, and when the fire fighters show up to put out the blaze; Michael has an amazingly choreographed fight scene in front of a burning building. Goddamn, it’s real good. This then makes the movie split into two different threads that we follow and that occasionally intersect. The first and worst is the tale of the survivors from the first film, led by all grown up Tommy Doyle played by Anthony Michael Hall. He hears Michael is back and decides to start a full on mob to hunt him down. The other thing we follow is Michael himself as he murders his way across Haddonfield on the way back to his family home. For all of this, Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie just sits in a hospital bed and occasionally opines on the nature of Michael Myers.
The waste of Laurie in this is downright criminal but it does at least tie into an idea that the previous film had which is that Michael doesn’t actually give a shit about Laurie Strode. For the first time in the series, he isn’t obsessed with murdering the Strode family and is instead much more like Busta Rhymes described him in Halloween Resurrection, “a killer shark in baggy ass overalls”. That realization doesn’t mean Laurie has given up on the idea that she has to be the one to end things but we’ll have to wait a whole movie to see any amount of interaction between the two again. However, even if you wanted to save the big confrontation for the finale, they could at least make Karen or Allyson matter more. Having all of the Strode women be sidelined for the film takes some of the emotional weight away from what’s happening. Maybe if they had gotten Paul Rudd to come back as Tommy Doyle like in the 6th film it would have been better.
As it stands, Laurie being replaced by Tommy as the main protagonist in this was a serious downgrade. Much as I love Anthony Michael Hall, they did not give him much to work with here. He mostly just wanders from place to place trying to get people riled up into a mob and when he finally manages to accomplish that goal, it turns out about as well as you might assume. The Michael Myers stuff in this film, on the other hand, is absolutely top notch. Every time he goes to a new house and finds some new victims; the film goes out of its way to make us really like the poor bastards that are about to get murdered. The kills in this are also absolutely some of the most brutal of the franchise. Where the Michael of the previous film was the most human we’ve seen him with taking actual damage and bleeding; the Michael here returns to his full unstoppable glory which the movie itself even comments upon. Except for a few scenes at the hospital, the movie never feels boring as the action moves at a decent pace even when it is accompanied by awful line and idiotic decisions.
This was still a pretty good slasher, even with the foibles and odd choices. It works to continue the trilogy on and you get to see some nasty kills on the way. If you already watched the 2018 Halloween, it’s worth the watch. Also, the flashback scenes to 1978 were great and got a guy that looks so much like Donald Pleasence instead of just Deep Faking him. So points for that.
Score: 3.5 out of 5