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Because the Halloween movies are part of a long-running horror franchise, it’s natural that a new entry like Halloween Kills will be received as part of that legacy—even as the movie intentionally picks and chooses what’s part of its continuity, what’s sneaky homage, and what’s brand-new. Halloween Kills is a follow-up to 2018’s Halloween, which itself is not a remake of the original 1978 Halloween, but a 40-years-later sequel that ignores the many other sequels (and the 2007 remake, and its sequel). The new sequel takes some cues from the “original” Halloween II, but it’s not a remake of that one, either; at times, it seems to be consciously rebuking some of that old sequel’s most famous elements.
To a lot of critics and fans, Kills reverts its 2018 predecessor into slasher-sequel mode: more (and gorier) killing, additional backstory (or is it retconning?), more vaguely supernatural power emanating from the unstoppable masked killer Michael Myers. And the film undeniably has all of those elements. But Halloween Kills is more interesting than it sounds, because it represents another left turn in the career of director/cowriter David Gordon Green.
Green also made the 2018 Halloween (and is about to make Halloween Ends, the final movie in this trilogy, slated for release next October). That was a left turn, too, in a filmography full of them. He started out doing soulful, Terrence Malick-esque Southern indies like George Washington and All the Real Girls; tried his hand at stoner comedy with the well-received Pineapple Express and the less-beloved Your Highness; did some movie-star-gone-indie portraiture like Joe and Manglehorn; made a couple of true-life dramas including Stronger; and then signed on for this Halloween trilogy. Green has made a rich and prolific career of baffling different factions of his potential supporters.
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