SPOILERS! “Halloween Kills” is the direct sequel to the 2018 movie that is a direct sequel of the original. The previous movie was surprisingly brutal yet faithful to the original 1978 classic. This movie is reminiscent of the 1981 sequel beginning right after the event of the prior movie. The movie is just as violent as the last (more so in other places) and is not a bad addition to the mythos. But, it comes across as more of a bridge between the 2018 movie and next year’s “Halloween Ends”.
Something familiar, yet different
Similar to the 1981 sequel to the original, this movie picks up mere seconds after the end of the last movie. Laurie’s house is in flaming shambles. Michael Myers is trapped in the bunker…or is he? Fire trucks scream to the Strode compound at the behest of the trio of surviving women passing them on the way to the hospital. Rushing in there to be a hero, one of the firemen falls through a hole into the bunker, where Michael Myers was waiting and begins an impressive, and brutal sequence when he takes out every firefighter with everything on fire with the hoses also rating water down. Well done sequence.
One of the strengths of this movie that really is a nice touch is what they did with characters from the 1978 movie. They were able to bring back a few of them to be played by their original actors. Kyle Richards, Nancy Stephens, and were brought back to play Lindsay, Marion Chambers, and Leigh Brackett respectively. Also in a nice piece of continuity, some actors who had parts in the 2018 version are back to play the same roles. A nice way for it to be new and still get you invested.
One other major like I had was how they updated the Michael Myers mask. Anything after the second film from 1981were known for their horrible masks. The film in 2018 had a fantastic mask that seemed old and weathered, but still scary. the Michael Myers mask in Halloween Kills actually made it better. It actually showed battle damage after escaping the fire. The severe damage on the left side of the face made him that much more terrifying.
Good and Bad are but opposite sides of the same coin.
Just as there was plenty about this movie I liked, there was some stuff I did not. For instance, Michael nor Laurie were the main characters. One could say that neither Karen nor Allyson was. In my opinion, the main character was Tommy, played by Anthony Michael Hall. Nothing against him, he did well with what was given. A big part of this movie was not only Laurie fighting against Michael after what happened in the prior film, but the residents of Haddonfield were going to rise up. This seemed like a mix of Halloween 2 and 4.
However, they seemed to forget to put Laurie in that equation as she spends the majority of the movie in a hospital bed. But at least she had a roommate. Deputy Hawkins, play by Will Patton, seemingly survived his neck wound from the last movie. They do spend a few scenes together talking about what happened in the past and it was handled well, but it would have been nice to see more of them in the run time.
Another thing that seemed to not come across as well was the mob that became of the town once the movie got started. While Tommy did have good intentions in mind, they quickly outgrew what he could handle and practically shut down the hospital after they all assumed Michael would be there, but caused the death of an innocent man.
So brutal, it even took me aback
One thing I can praise more is the sheer brutality and some of the ingenuity of the kills in this. The first one was able to do this without delving into the grindhouse feel of the two Rob Zombie movies. This one amped up the blood factor and was able to find just this side of the grindhouse. With that said, it seemed as if the body count was padded. Characters were introduced just purely to have them slaughtered and disposed of.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Michael McDonald in this as I am a huge fan of his work in MadTV (I still quote Stuart more than a grown man should). However, when we see that he and his character’s husband/boyfriend/SO(?) was living in the actual Myers House, you knew he was not long for the world. And since the climax of the movie took place as the said house, you would be right.
In fact, this was where one of the deaths surprised me as right at the end of the movie, REDACTED was repeatedly stabbed by Michael, seemingly to death. Now with Deputy Hawkins having survived the last movie, could we see REDACTED come back? Sure. But this movie seemed to be a bridge setting up the inevitable showdown between Laurie and Michael in the next.
Middle of a long road with many paths
Overall, was this a bad movie? Not at all, I rather enjoyed it. Was it as good as the 2018 movie? No, this was lacking in parts. Am I still excited for Halloween Dies next year? Absolutely. Overall, in my personal ranking of the franchise, this falls somewhere in the middle. In fact, I will leave you with my personal ranking of the movies in the franchise. (Note: Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 is not on here as I have not seen it as of this writing)
- Halloween (1978)
- Halloween III: Season of the Witch
- Halloween (2018)
- Halloween H20
- Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
- Halloween Kills
- Rob Zombie’s Halloween
- Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
- Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers
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Movies n TV
The Beach House, a Film Review
The Beach House (2019) is a body horror film directed and written by Jeffrey A. Brown starring Liana Liberato, Noah Le Gros, and Jake Weber.
The Beach House (2020) is a body horror film directed and written by Jeffrey A. Brown. This film stars Liana Liberato, Noah Le Gros, Jake Weber, and Maryann Nagel. As of this review, this film is only available on Shudder.
Desperate to rekindle their strained love, Emily (Liana Liberato) and Randall (Noah Le Gros) escape to a beach getaway. They soon learn to find that family friends of Randall’s father, Mitch (Jake Weber), and Jane (Maryann Nagel), also had a similar idea. After getting used to each other, a mysterious fog engulfs the town. Unfortunately, they realize too late the danger they find themselves in.
What I Like
Body horror gets under my skin, and The Beach House certainly lives up to the standard. There’s something magical about creatures terraforming your body to their preferred environment, turning humans into nothing more than conscious prisoners in their own flesh. While I wouldn’t consider this film the most traumatic or unsettling example, it utilizes wonderfully grotesque scenes.
Aside from the body horror, the film drops a few Cosmic Horror–or Lovecraftian–vibes that go together perfectly. Another favored genre of mine, this combination ensures the odds are overwhelmingly against our human leads.
Beyond the grotesque, visuals might not overwhelm but certainly succeed in their goal. Several scenes provide an intentionally tranquil experience that contrasts with the grotesques and improves their effectiveness.
In terms of performance, each actor hits their mark. While some roles require less effort, each contributes to the plot as intended. The standout performance goes to Liana Liberato’s Emily, who acts as co-lead. She simply has the most to work with and lives up to the part.
Tired Tropes and Trigger Warnings
As “body horror” should indicate, this film will hit hard for the more squeamish viewer. While horror by nature has some amount of grotesque, body horror brings that grotesque to the next level. While I don’t particularly find The Beach House hitting harder than its competition, it certainly respects its chosen genre.
What I Dislike or Considerations
A few scenic montages may hit or miss depending on your interpretation. While I have my own theories, that speculation goes beyond the scope of this review. Many of these scenes overlap more philosophical conversations and musings that may annoy or add layers. This strategy seems a common practice in Cosmic Horror, which forces characters to rationalize the irrational.
It’s hard for me to understand how secretive or known this event is supposed to be in the film’s world. Individuals know something outside of the town, with evidence implying governmental knowledge. This information creates a contrivance–perhaps, even a plot hole–because the characters had to reach this isolated town without any opposition.
One of the visuals didn’t exactly grab me. While I won’t go into too much detail, an effect looked too visually similar to a common animal that barely survives rain. It’s hard to be threatened by that. It also doesn’t exactly match up with some of the other visuals. Even the creatures that look similar to it still look different enough to provide a more alien assumption.
There are moments when the infected chase our main characters by crawling at them. While the context works, with injured characters helping to sell them, I can’t help but find these scenes amusing as opposed to frightening. Yes, it’s certainly visually different from the plethora of zombies out there, but it’s also less frightening than zombies that leisurely walk to their targets.
The Beach House combines cosmic and body horror to create an uncomfortable film that tests its characters. For those who enjoy these genres, it will certainly entertain you, but I doubt it will frighten you. I imagine the mood to watch it again might strike me, but I’m not entirely certain it will stand the test of time. (3 / 5)
If this movie suits your fancy and you want more, Honeymoon seems an appropriate recommendation.
Movies n TV
Every Secret Thing, a Film Review
Every Secret Thing (2014) is a crime thriller directed by Amy J. Berg and written by Nicole Holofcener, based on Laura Lippman’s novel.
Every Secret Thing (2014) is a crime thriller directed by Amy J. Berg and written by Nicole Holofcener. This R-rated film stars Diane Lane, Danielle Macdonald, Dakota Fanning, and Elizabeth Banks. Based on Laura Lippman’s novel of the same name, the film adaptation is accessible through MAX and DirecTV.
When a little girl goes missing, Nancy Porter (Elizabeth Banks) spirals into an all too familiar tale. As pressure mounts, Alice Manning (Danielle Macdonald) and Ronnie Fuller (Dakota Fanning) become the leading suspects. The strained frenemies unravel under the attention and reminders of their shared past.
What I Like
The film unravels in a non-chronological structure but makes it easy for the viewer to follow. It helps that the age difference clearly divides the younger actors, who change actors. One casting choice resembles their older counterpart, and the acting reflects a strong direction for their shared role.
Unreliable narration remains expertly communicated with scenes that change perspectives depending on whose perspective we view them from. This choice adds a reason to view the film twice, providing extra ambiguity for some of these events.
The camera gets up close and personal to an uncomfortable degree, which almost certainly presses the actors’ performances. This choice places the viewer in the character’s perspective and limits us from others’ perspectives to add extra credence to these biases.
Every Secret Thing provides a spiraling mystery that unravels with several twists and turns. Assuming the novel provided the outline, this film executes these points and keeps a consistently engaging experience throughout the runtime.
Tired Tropes and Trigger Warnings
Child abuse and neglect remain the central plot points of Every Secret Thing. Little of this abuse appears in scenes, but there is no escaping the danger children are in throughout the film.
Self-harm and suicide are shown throughout the film (once in the case of suicide) through one specific character. It isn’t glorified or romanticized nor addressed with particular sensitivity. For those sensitive to these subjects, it might be triggering.
Racism, the assumed motive for the bi-racial victims, plays a small role in the film’s narrative. However, character motives remain more complex, but going further spoils some elements. This film decision does create the reality that bi-racial children are the victims of child neglect and abuse in the film with little additional context. It does invite uncomfortable speculation, but speculation it would be.
Sexual assault is another concern for viewers, specifically statutory rape. This issue seems particularly mismanaged, considering the survivor remains an antagonist. One can be both survivor of assault and an antagonist of a film without needing to discredit the assault. While little appears of this issue, and the manipulation angle can indicate a perspective shift, it’s hard to refute how the film wants to represent this attack.
What I Dislike
Loosely tied to the above point, one character seems mentally off and purposely so. This point doesn’t inherently create an issue, but there seems to be a choice to make this character a mastermind. Perhaps this is better addressed in the book, but the execution is far from perfect here.
A newspaper montage reveals essential information which feels oddly misplaced. Practically the entire setup for the film appears through this montage, which creates the necessity to read these headlines in the minimal time given.
As a horror, nothing but the events are haunting. Children being abused or kidnapped always haunts, but the terror of this remains secondary to the mystery. While the mystery is nice, this film won’t particularly scare the seasoned horror fan.
Every Secret Thing unravels a mystery of opportunism, selfishness, and deception. While the movie won’t haunt the viewer, it certainly unravels a mystery that shocks them. The nuanced and deceptive characters add a layer of engagement that creates a unique experience, but I doubt this movie will linger in my mind.
(2.5 / 5)
Movies n TV
Quid Pro Woe
We’ve now reached episode six of Tim Burton’s Wednesday. And after the last episode, this one did not disappoint.
We start with Wednesday attempting to contact Goody Addams. Last episode, if you’ll recall, Morticia explained the difference between a psychic dove and a raven. Since Goody Addams was the last raven psychic in the family line, it’s got to be her that trains Wednesday.
But her seance is a failure, and Wednesday is interrupted by a magazine note shoved under the door. It says to meet someone at a crypt for answers.
When she gets there, it turns out that her friends have put together a surprise birthday party for her. Before she can cut the cake, however, she has a vision.
Goody Addams tells her that she must find a specific gate. After some investigation, Wednesday discovers it’s the gate to the old Gates house.
Wednesday goes to investigate, but she isn’t the only one. She is nearly discovered by Mayor Walker. He is also investigating the Gates family, even though they’re all reported to be dead. He leaves a message for Sheriff Galpin and is almost immediately run over by a car.
This incident is enough to get Wednesday’s town villages revoked. Though this seems like an empty punishment since the whole school is on lockdown. Someone burned Fire Will Rain on their front lawn.
Wednesday isn’t one for believing the rules apply to her. She has it in her head that she’s meant to save Nevermore Academy, probably from whatever descendent of Crackstone who’s still around. So she has no problem lying to Enid and Tyler and convincing them to help her sneak off campus and explore the Gates house further.
This, of course, is an incredibly informative trip. The kids find a hidden altar to Crackstone, as well as the missing body parts from the monster’s victims. They also find evidence that someone’s been staying in the house. Someone who’s staying in what looks like a little girl’s room.
Before they can find anything more, the monster finds them. They barely escape, and go to the sheriff with what they find.
Of course, the house has been cleared out by the time Sheriff Galpin arrives. Furious that his son was almost killed, he tells Wednesday to stay away from him.
Because that always works, right?
Galpin isn’t the only one angry. Enid is fed up with the way Wednesday has been treating her. And so she leaves their room to bunk with someone else, leaving Wednesday alone.
This episode was well done. The discoveries at the house were exciting, and I’m almost sure I know who’s behind the murders at this point. Overall, this was a good ramp-up to the season finale.
Finally, this episode did something I was worried just wasn’t going to happen. And for that alone, it deserves praise.
Wednesday has been incredibly selfish and inconsiderate since the first episode. She’s been rude and demanding towards Thing. She’s ignored her friends’ needs and emotions while insisting they put themselves in danger for her investigation. She has respected no one’s boundaries, even while other people have at least tried to respect hers.
And now, it’s finally come back to bite her. All of the people who have been doing their best to show her kindness and support are finally done with her bullshit.
Yes, this is a good thing! Characters are best when they’re allowed to learn and grow. When they don’t come to us flawless. When they mess up and learn from it. Especially for a show aimed at kids, this is essential.
If you’d asked me at the beginning of the season if this character was going to experience honest character growth, I’d have assured you it would never happen. Much to my surprise, it’s happening. I hope that Wednesday is going to come out of this a better person. With two episodes left in the season, there’s plenty of time for that. (4 / 5)
October 16, 2021 at 1:33 am
I enjoyed it quite a bit, but it most certainly had the feeling of place-setting for the inevitable third film. It was a lot of backstories and contextualizing this new vision of what Michael is, and while I appreciate it, I think it tried to set up too many pieces and ultimately won’t deliver any of them until Halloween Kills.