Sitges Festival Day 6: More of the same, but more hilarious, with ‘Halloween Kills’

The serial killer Michael Myers is seen again by the pageant, three years after ‘Halloween night’. We also discussed the failed ‘Antlers’ and ‘Offseason’.

If there is an iconic character – along with Jason Vorhees and Freddy Krueger – that is Michael Myers. Born from the mind of the genius John Carpenter in 1978, and giving the starting signal to the subgenre known as ‘slasher’, the serial killer has once again passed through the Sitges Fantastic Film Festival with his latest film carnage: Halloween Kills. There are already 13 installments of the saga, becoming one of the longest in history. And as happened in its predecessor -that direct sequel to the first part released in 2018- Carpenter only exercises executive production and soundtrack composition tasks, to cede the witness behind the camera -again- to David Gordon Green. A filmmaker who has, at least, a curious filmography that ranges from the ‘indie drama’ (All the Real Girls, Undertow), to the most hooligan comedy (Superfumados, El kangaroo).

On this occasion, Green repeats in writing the script with his friend the comedian Danny McBride and joins the shortlist Scott Teems (replacing Jeff Fradley, who collaborated in the writing of that Halloween night). History places us in the past: when the police desperately search for the perpetrator of a massacre in a quiet neighborhood of Haddonfield (Illinois), until he is arrested, but not before leaving a trail of blood among the agents. Then, we go back to the end of the previous installment, when Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) escapes badly – along with her daughter and her granddaughter – from the dangerous masked murderer who tried to end her life in the late 70s. Michael Myers He has been locked in her house and it seems that he is going to be devoured by the flames that set the home on fire, but the firefighters enter there and release him. When escaping, the fearsome psychopath begins a massacre that will also cause the people themselves to lose their minds looking for him.

The film is a most hilarious ‘fan service’, in fact its title reminiscent of Machete Kills already gives us some clues about where the film is going. The most gore deaths are accompanied by the most absurd speeches by the protagonists and by an alienated town – seeking revenge – tired of stabbings and beheadings. Moving away from the more solemn tone of the previous part, Green signs a tape that is closer to the crazy Texas Chainsaw Massacre II and Happy Death Day than other ‘slasher’ to use. Another of the surprises that the film holds is that the character of Jamie Lee Curtis remains in the background, to give more prominence to the roles of his daughter and granddaughter. A joy that, even assuming more of the same, will not disappoint the followers of the saga in search of increasingly cruel, explicit and -why not- hideous murders..

‘Antlers’: Family Drama and American Folklore

We continue with another of the Festival’s highlights: the supernatural horror film Antlers: Dark Creature. A film that has suffered several delays in its premiere due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but that comes with the endorsement of having one of the writers of the moment behind it: Nick Antosca (creator of the Channel Zero and New cherry flavor series). The film opens with a trafficker who makes methamphetamine in an inactive mine, together with his partner, while their 7-year-old son waits for them playing outside. Something goes wrong, and they wake up a supernatural entity that owns the father and seems to absorb the energy of his son. From that moment on, the other living family member (a 12-year-old boy) will have to feed two loved ones who, little by little, are transforming into other little-human creatures. Suspecting that something bad is happening in the boy’s environment, his school teacher (played by a solvent Keri Russell) begins to indignant until he reaches a path that seems most irrational for his brother, the local sheriff (whom he gives life to a very overweight Jesse Plemons). Antosca’s script has most of the characteristic elements of its products: a family drama and American legends or myths. The problem is that in the hands of such an ineffective director as Scott Cooper (Black Mass. Strictly criminal), the film ends up becoming a feature film lacking in rhythm and emotion, despite the careful photography and good performances. A small disappointment, with some notorious drops in rhythm (which cause disinterest in the viewer on more than one occasion), which makes it go unnoticed at a Festival that has left us jewels like Mad God or The Innocents.

Mickey Keating drags the public into boredom (albeit very aesthetically) with ‘Offseason’

We close the chronicle with Mickey Keating’s Offseason. The American director, who began taking his first steps with the production company Blumhouse (making his debut behind the cameras: Ritual), has become «the pretty boy of indie horror». The filmmaker, who has already gone through the Festival with Carnage Park and Psychopaths (which seemed like an important nonsense in his day) has brought us what they have presented as his greatest immersion in horror cinema. The film presents us with a couple who access an island when the holiday season is over, through a bridge, since they have warned her that someone has destroyed her mother’s grave. In this place it seems to breathe an unhealthy atmosphere and little by little the two will realize that they have fallen prey to a local curse from which it will be difficult to escape. Despite being very esthetic behind the camera, Keating gives us a trifle devoid of rhythm and meaning. A film that seems to want to pay homage to Lucio Fulci from Fear in the city of the undead, but which remains a bad copy of Dagon. The cult of evil. The protagonist is wandering around the town overwhelmed, trying to find her boyfriend and escape from there, until she leads the viewer to the most absolute boredom, while trying to find plot coherence. Highlight -to bad- the ‘flashbacks’ starring the deceased mother who sometimes come to touch the ridiculous at levels of The Room (yes, the infamous feature film by Tommy Wiseau), in addition to some very shabby makeup effects. Keating fans – who are quite a few in the world – will have loved it, the one who writes is quite repelled by his work in general … and it won’t be because I don’t try.