RELEASED OUT NOW!
2021 | 18 | Blu-ray (4K/standard)/dvd/ download
Director David Gordon Green
Cast Jamie-lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Anthony Michael Hall
We turn to the Halloween franchise for tension and brutal murders, not social commentary. This sequel stumbles by trying to deliver both.
Kicking off moments after the 2018 revival’s conclusion, it confirms that Michael Myers didn’t die in the basement of Laurie Strode’s burning home. A murder spree that chalks up 31 victims follows. Jamie-lee Curtis’s character is left on the sidelines, confined to hospital. This makes sense – for once, here’s a hero who can’t just walk off being stabbed in the guts. But it’s still Laurie we want to see taking on Michael, not a tag-team of the franchise’s lesser lights (Tommy Doyle, Lindsey Wallace, Marion Chambers et al).
The Kills part works just fine: a fire crew slaughter is breathtakingly brutal; a fluorescent strip light stabbing wince-inducingly nasty. The problem comes when the film tries to “say something” about the mob mentality, as Haddonfield’s citizens band together to enact vigilante justice.
Hospital scenes full of bustling extras are a mess, and their chant of “Evil dies tonight!” soon becomes tiresome. “Now he’s turning us into monsters," declares former-sheriff Brackett, for the benefit of anyone who’s had the brain area which processes subtext surgically removed. Fingers crossed that when the trilogy concludes this Halloween it’ll be less on the nose and more thumbs in the eyes.
Extras The main draw is an extended cut adding four minutes of footage. An early sequence of Myers doing his hedge-peekaboo routine is a pleasing callback and several deaths are more gnarly, but the chief difference is an ending extended in corny fashion, as Laurie tells Michael “I’m coming for you!” on the phone.
There’s commentary on both cuts (tweaked accordingly) by director David Gordon Green, Curtis and Judy Greer (Karen); Curtis assumes moderator duties, prompting Green for interesting facts – of which there are many.
Six featurettes (totalling 32 minutes) see cast and crew discuss subjects like the kills, the Strodes and mass hysteria; basically one half-decent Making Of salamisliced. A six-minute piece on how they recreated 1978 Haddonfield for the flashbacks is the stand-out, revealing that no CGI was used to recreate Donald Pleasence’s Dr Loomis, just a lookalike crew member in subtle prosthetics. The DVD drops one featurette.
Three deleted scenes include a cameo for original Shape Nick Castle, and surely the most judicious trim in cinematic history: a mob chanting “Evil dies tonight!” another 27 times. Good grief. Plus: a three-minute gag reel; a kill-count montage.
Look out for a black and white photo in the TV news report: it’s Bob Odenkirk’s high school yearbook photo.
A fire crew slaughter is breathtakingly brutal