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Halloween Kills: The Sleep of Reason Produces Michael Myers (Venice Review)

Halloween Kills: The Sleep of Reason Produces Michael Myers (Venice Review)

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Halloween Kills is a choral film that creates a bridge between the past and the present, and whose real protagonist (and antagonist) is the Crowd.

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Screened out of competition at the 78th Venice Film Festival, Halloween Kills is the second chapter of the new trilogy dedicated to one of the most infamous serial killers of the big screen: Michael Myers.

With Halloween (2018), director and saga creator David Gordon Green brought us from the past into the present without altering the dynamics at the core of the saga: set 40 years after the events of John Carpenter’s Halloween, the film saw the confrontation between Myers and Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) take centre stage once again. With Halloween Kills, we witness a veritable shift of focus, where Green offers us a “glimpse” of the future by creating a bridge between the past and the present.

Halloween Kills begins right where 2018’s Halloween left off, but the film opens with a flasback that takes us back to 1978 once more. This time, the protagonist isn’t Laurie, but the young Agent Hawkins (Thomas Mann), who was the first to arrive at the crime scene at Michael’s house, at the time. We then move back to Halloween night in 2018, in a pub, where a group of regular customers are celebrating, unaware of Michael Myers’ “return.”

New faces blend with faces from the past, and the latter recall with apprehension, and share with the “newcomers,” the morbid events that saw them be “protagonists” 40 years earlier: because Michael Myers didn’t just ruin Laurie’s life, but an entire community‘s. But it’s not yet another narrative device employed to remind the audience of what’s been happening in the story. As the tales from the past continue and old and new characters appear, it soon becomes clear to us that this film won’t be like the others.

Halloween Kills is a “choral” film, whose protagonist is first of all “The Group” and then “The Crowd”. An angry, dangerous, frightened mass. The film shifts its focus from Laurie and her family’s personal tragedy to that of a community that, for many years, has lived in fear – a kind of fear that has made them violent and uncapable of distinguishing good from evil. It’s no coincidence that Jamie Lee Curtis’ screentime is significantly lower than what we expected, and that she’s “passive” in most of her scenes, confined in the hospital room where she’s been checked into after the events of the previous chapter of the saga.

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Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween Kills (© Universal Pictures. All Rights Reserved.)

Halloween Kills lends itself to much discussion, moving the scene from Laurie’s home-trap to a hospital-trap, where an enraged crowd inevitably transforms from victim to executioner. Led by improbable leaders that incite it with clichés, Halloween Kills‘ “Crowd” is just as terrifying as Myers, because it is just as unmanageable and unstoppable as he is. To use Goya’s words, “the sleep of reason produces monsters,” and Michael Myers is the Fear that we all carry within us, and that we come face to face every day, when we look at ourselves in the mirror.

It’s a reflection that offers a new (even if not innovative) point of view on the matter, opening up interesting questions on what might await us in Halloween Ends, the last chapter of the trilogy. We’re left, however, with an aftertaste, as even if we understand David Gordon Green‘s intentions and the purpose behind Halloween Kills, this second chapter also partially reduces the impact of the first film’s conclusion, which becomes, at least in part, less effective.

Halloween Kills: Official Trailer (Universal Pictures)

Halloween Kills premiered at the 2021 Venice Film Festival on September 8, 2021. The film will be released theatrically on October 15.


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