Halloween KillsOverview -
For one of the most divisive films of the franchise since the Rob Zombie days, Halloween Kills dramatically increases the kill count while struggling to make something resembling a story stick. As the lead-in to the next and final installment, it suffers as a middle entry that doesn’t completely stand on its own two feet. Universal Studios delivers a solid Blu-ray release with a respectable image presentation, a great Atmos mix, and a nice selection of worthwhile bonus features. This film wasn’t for every fan - but if you enjoyed it, this disc is well worth adding to the collection. Recommended.
In 2018, David Gordon Green's Halloween, starring icon Jamie Lee Curtis, killed at the box office, earning more than $250 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing chapter in the four-decade franchise and setting a new record for the biggest opening weekend in history for a horror film starring a woman.
And the Halloween night when Michael Myers returned isn't over yet.
Minutes after Laurie Strode (Curtis), her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) left masked monster Michael Myers caged and burning in Laurie's basement, Laurie is rushed to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, believing she finally killed her lifelong tormentor.
But when Michael manages to free himself from Laurie's trap, his ritual bloodbath resumes. As Laurie fights her pain and prepares to defend herself against him, she inspires all of Haddonfield to rise up against their unstoppable monster.
The Strode women join a group of other survivors of Michael's first rampage who decide to take matters into their own hands, forming a vigilante mob that sets out to hunt Michael down, once and for all.
Evil dies tonight.
Universal Pictures, Miramax, Blumhouse Productions and Trancas International Films present Halloween Kills, co-starring Will Patton as Officer Frank Hawkins, Thomas Mann (Kong: Skull Island) and Anthony Michael Hall (The Dark Knight).
From the returning filmmaking team responsible for the 2018 global phenomenon, Halloween Kills is written by Scott Teems (SundanceTV's Rectify) and Danny McBride and David Gordon Green based on characters created by John Carpenter and Debra Hill. The film is directed by David Gordon Green and produced by Malek Akkad, Jason Blum and Bill Block. The executive producers are John Carpenter, Jamie Lee Curtis, Danny McBride, David Gordon Green and Ryan Freimann.
Bonus Features and Technical Specs:
- DOLBY ATMOS AUDIO TRACK
- GAG REEL
- DELETED/EXTENDED SCENES
- HADDONFIELD'S OPEN WOUNDS - Those who die at the hands of Michael Myers are not his only victims. We look at some of the returning characters, and why their past traumatic encounters with The Shape made them natural candidates to try and defend Haddonfield against him.
- THE KILL TEAM - It takes a big team to create a film the scale of HALLOWEEN KILLS, especially when part of the task is raising the bar for Michael's gruesome kills. We hear the people behind the mayhem discuss how they continue to push the franchise to new heights.
- STRODE FAMILY VALUES - Filmmakers and cast discuss the three generations of Strode women that have been terrorized by The Shape, and the roles Laurie, Karen and Allyson play in trying to vanquish his evil.
- 1978 TRANSFORMATIONS - Shooting new footage that matches the feel of the iconic 1978 footage is no easy task, and even takes a little bit of luck. We reveal some of the secrets of how filmmakers achieved these stunning sequences.
- THE POWER OF FEAR - The impact of Michael Myers' pure evil extends far beyond his victims. We examine how fear of The Shape changed the psychology of the people of Haddonfield.
- KILL COUNT
- FEATURE COMMENTARY - Director/co-writer David Gordon Green and stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Judy Greer
- Optional English SDH, Spanish, and French subtitles for the main feature
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
[Excerpt from our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review]
"This particular entry is at its best and most entertaining when Michael gets to do what he does best. If bloodletting and gnarly kills were a business, Michael is booming. I know a lot of people took issue with the brutality of this film but in all honesty, Mikey has been on that train for a while. Between jabbing needles in people’s eyes, boiling a nude woman’s face, claw hammers to heads - Michael has enjoyed killing in wildly inventive ways since the now non-canonical Halloween II. This film just offers a lot more of what we saw in 2018 Halloween. And I dug it for that. There are some genuinely pretty great suspense sequences that paid off with particularly bloody execution. Where these sequences don’t work is when Green and McBride work in some silly tone-deaf slapstick comedy with how people try to attack Michael and get themselves killed in the process.
Now available in a slightly longer Extended Cut with a “new” ending - Halloween Kills isn’t a better or worse movie than what you saw in theaters or on Peacock. It’s just a little more gore and a little extra slice at the end to lead into the next film. If you didn’t like the movie before, there’s nothing in those four new minutes that’ll change your mind. Personally, I think they should have used this new ending theatrically. I get why they didn’t but it’s what people needed to see. It doesn’t fix anything but it at least sets the tone for what’s to come."
For another take on the film, Read Our Theatrical Review
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Halloween Kills stalks around Blu-ray in a two-disc Blu-ray + DVD + Digital set from Universal Studios. Pressed on a BD-50 disc, the discs are housed in a standard two-disc case. The disc loads to trailers for other Universal releases before arriving at the main menu with simple basic navigation options on the bottom with the bonus features menu along the right side.
Before checking out this SDR 1080p presentation I’d just finished the 4K disc so admittedly that’s still in my brain so I’m trying not to let that color my view of this transfer. My main issue with this transfer is that it looks just a bit too bright. Some key shadowy sequences just don’t appear that dynamic and can even appear a bit flat at times. But that’s my only real issue here. Flesh tones are pretty good and relatively healthy. Primaries are in good shape with red getting ample attention. Details are in good shape allowing you to appreciate facial features, clothing textures, and production design. All in all a solid transfer, it holds up on its own despite the lack of dimension, but if you’re rolling 4K that’s absolutely the best way to go. It’s certainly better than my experience watching this on Peacock which really struggled with black levels and fine textures.
For a slasher that likes to go bump in the night, Michael Myers is treated to a pretty damn creepy and effective Atmos audio track. From one location to the next, the soundscape is appropriately active and engaging. Early in the film when first responders arrive at Laurie’s burning house is a terrific example of what this Atmos track has to offer. You get the roaring blaze encircling all of the channels with timbers falling overhead, firemen screaming in the front/center, and creaking cracking wood and wooshes of fire hitting the sides.
Dialog is clean and clear throughout without issue. The front/center and side channels do most of the heavy lifting with rears and overheads kicking in for incidental effects and atmospherics. Even sparsely used, there are still some great overhead effects - Michael stomping around upstairs during the 1978 flashback sequence or the mass of people running through the hospital.
John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter, and Daniel Davies’ score is worked into the mix perfectly with certain notes and beats kicking specific channels including the height and rears for extra mood. The score also triggers some nice rumble in the subs for those low dissonant tones.
- Audio Commentary featuring David Gordon Green, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Judy Greer
- Gag Reel (HD 3:12)
- Deleted/Extended Scenes (HD 3:12)
- Haddonfield’s Open Wounds (HD 7:15)
- The Kill Team (HD 11:02)
- Strode Family Values (HD 3:37)
- 1978 Transformations (HD 5:50)
- The Power of Fear (HD 4:28)
- Kill Count (HD 00:53)
Halloween Kills works really hard to be something more than it is. It tries to open things up and let in a lot of the extended family of characters and make them relevant, but it doesn’t have a story thrust to make that effort worth it. It feels very much like the film you watch so you can watch the next and hopefully better movie. While I did enjoy this entry, I am not in the camp that calls this the worst of the franchise, but I am reserving final judgment until Halloween Ends hits theaters on October 14th 2022 (if we're all still alive). Hopefully, that movie doesn’t blow it.
Fans of Halloween Kills can add a pretty damn good Blu-ray disc to their collection. If you’re rolling 4K you’ll want to pick up the Ultra HD disc for the best overall experience, but this disc is no slouch where it counts. Toss in an actively engaging Atmos track and a bunch of great bonus features including a really good commentary track and you have a worthwhile disc. Recommended
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