HOLLYWOOD—The boogeyman is back and he’s angry America. Yes, Michael Myers has returned once again in the 12th installment in the franchise, “Halloween Kills.” The sequel is a follow-up to the 2018 hit “Halloween” that saw the return of Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode to do battle with Michael yet again. “Kills” predecessor was a genius stoke of brilliancy in eliminating all films prior to the 1978 classic and fast forwarding 40 years later to pick up the pieces of Michael Myers bloody rampage on Halloween night.

This sequel continues the mayhem of 2018 in gruesome fashion and I don’t’ know quite how I feel about it. I’ve never been a fan of the slasher flick because it totally killed the horror genre as we know it in the 80s with the countless copycats. “Halloween Kills” has a narrative, but based on the title alone you know the level of brutality from our villain would be heightened and America it is indeed. Rather it with his infamous butcher knife, a broken light, you name it, Myers uses it in the worst possible way to dispatch of his victims after escaping that fiery basement where he was presumed dead.

The movie spoils that secret in its initial trailer America. Once loose, Michael goes on a bloody rampage that forces the residents of Haddonfield to unite in a mission to take down the boogeyman once and for all. That makes you wonder if everyone reunited why is it so difficult to take down a man whose hand was nearly blown off by Laurie Strode (Curtis) in the last film? Yeah just think about that people, because Curtis is NOT front-and-center this time around as she spends most of her time recouping in a hospital bed ala “Halloween II” the 1981 version. There are glimpses of “Halloween II” the 2009 version directed by Rob Zombie with the level of violence the villain portrayed in that flick, but this film is no way the mess that sequel was.

“Halloween Kills” is like Michael Myers unhinged. He’s mad, he’s ruthless and he wants his revenge and does so with unrelenting force. So much to the point some of the kills are just difficult to watch without turning your face from the screen slightly. I love that we get to see more of the Strode women as Allyson (Andi Matichak) and Karen (Judy Greer) have an even more active role this time around, especially Allyson who goes on the haunt for Myers with shotgun in hand. It’s as if the torch of Laurie is being passed to her granddaughter.

Director David Gordon Green brings in elements of the mob mentality, misinformation and questions about what transpires when you take the law into your own hands instead of allowing the proper authorities to do their job. There are many winks to the 1978 classic and the 1981 sequel as the audience sees the return of Lindsey Wallace (Kyle Richards), Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall) and Nurse Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens), who all do battle with Michael Myers 40 years later. Let’s just say the encounters are unforgettable with the boogeyman. We spend plenty of time in a hospital, we have winks to the past to find out EXACTLY what happened to Michael Myers after he was shot 6 times by Dr. Loomis and how that plays out with some of our characters in the present day.

Director David Gordon Green did indeed trade in suspense and storytelling for more blood, more gore and more mayhem this time around. Does it work, it depends on if that level of madness is your feast when it comes to horror. Me personally, I can do without so much visceral violence. At the same time, that is a wink to the carnage that is indeed Michael Myers, an unstoppable killer that never lets up.

However the big climax of the movie is intense and beyond satisfying for fans of the franchise as the stage is set for the finale, “Halloween Ends” that is slated to hit theaters in October 2022. So one thing is for certain, Michael Myers lives to deliver more terror, but who is left to take down evil once and for all, you’ll just have to watch “Halloween Kills” to find out.