If you’re in the mood to watch Michael Myers graphically and gruesomely slaughter people for 100 minutes, then Halloween Kills is the movie for you. But if you’re looking for plot development, characterization or anything but a three-ring circus of tired horror tropes, you’re out of luck.

The second installment of the latest reboot series of the Halloween franchise from David Gordon Green and Danny McBride (the team who brought you Eastbound & Down, Vice Principals and The Righteous Gemstones — yes, seriously) is the inverse of the first Halloween film the pair made together. Like Rob Zombie’s version before these, the first film came across as a loving homage from a pair of dedicated fans. In fact, John Carpenter, the writer/director of the original 1978 slasher classic personally approved Green and McBride’s version after he and Blumhouse gained control of the rights. While this one picks up where the first one ends, it carries none of the cadence or craft that made that one a notable entry in the franchise.

While the performances are admirable and the kills creative, the lack of any real plot makes it easy to lose interest. A minor plot arc takes a stab at adding a little social commentary to the mix, but mostly falls flat on its face (if you’ve already seen the flick, both puns were intended). Even with OG scream queen and Laurie Strode actress Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role in the film, albeit in a way that’s mostly divorced from Myers’ murderous rampage, the movie seems like an unnecessary entry, a placeholder that fulfills a contractual obligation rather than adding any new elements. Hopefully, it just acts as a weak bridge to the next film in the franchise, Halloween Ends, which is slated to be released next October, because a strong start and a strong finish might be enough to save the trilogy.

Halloween Kills is now playing in theaters and streaming on Peacock.

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