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HALLOWEEN KILLS: 2 ½ STARS. “Slash, slash, squirt, squirt, evil dies tonight!”

Keeping track of the storylines of the various “Halloween” movies and their sequels can be a mind-bending experience. Forty-three years ago the original John Carpenter-directed movie established many of the rules of the slasher genre, and spawned a prolific franchise that so far has churned out an additional 11 movies detailing unstoppable masked killer Michael Myers’ penchant for killing good looking teenagers.

There have been reboots, returns, prequels and sequel to remakes. Laurie Strode, the original film’s heroine played by Jamie Lee Curtis, has faked her own death, gone into hiding, decapitated, shot and stabbed Myers and yet, a new movie, “Halloween Kills,” featuring Strode and Myers, hit theatres this weekend.

Director David Gordon Green gets around the labyrinthine comings-and-goings of the mad masked killer by simply ignoring the movies made between 1981 and 2009. His 2018 film, “Halloween,” is a direct sequel to the 1978 film of the same name.

Confused? No need to be.

All you really need to know is that after an extended flashback to 1978, it’s Halloween night in Haddonfield, Illinois, and the action picks up minutes after the 2018 sequel. Michael Myers, the “essence of evil,” is in the basement of a burning house, trapped there by Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis), her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak). The nightmare should be over, but this a “Halloween” movie which means the nightmare will never be over. Myers manages to escape and, as he resumes his killing spree, Laurie, her family and some motivated townsfolk aim to end his reign of terror. “You and Allyson should not have to keep running,” Laurie tells Karen. “Evil dies tonight.”

The best horror movies are never about the monster or the killings. That’s the gooey, gory stuff that keeps us in our seats, ready to absorb the larger social messages woven into the script. “Halloween Kills” wants to make poignant, timely points about how anger divides us and fear keeps us apart, but, trouble is, “Halloween Kills” is not one of the better horror films.

Far from it.

It is brutal. Michael Myers is as unrelenting and remorseless as ever, maybe even more so. Green’s interesting POV shots of the victims coupled with nasty, squishy sound effects provide several memorable moments of gory glee that horror fans will enjoy. Slash, slash, squirt, squirt! Oh my! He’s got blood on his shirt!

The first half of the movie offers up rather inventive kills. It’s fun when Myers is onscreen, lumbering his way toward another victim. Unfortunately, it’s less fun when the vigilante mob endlessly chants “evil dies tonight.” We get it.

And everything else about the plot.

For such a simple story, they sure do waste time explaining the same points over and over. Add to that over baked dialogue—”Let him take my head,” Laurie sneers, “as I take his.”—and a too-long running time and you’ll be wishing it was already November 1.


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