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Halloween Kills (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Pandemic and simultaneous with streaming platform (Peacock) release be damned, Michael Myers still proved to be a killer shark at the box office this past fall. Despite a vocal minority seemingly perplexed by the film, it still waged on and almost made $100 million domestically at the box office, proving to be the second highest grossing film in the 12 entries and counting, 44 year old slasher series. It has arrived on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray, released on January 11th, with an extended cut of the film that features an alternate ending. Unlike its predecessor, there are a lot more featurettes and the like on this disc. Also setting it apart, it has a Dolby Atmos track to fill out your room and ceiling. You can order yourself a copy of this divisive Michael Myers terrorizes Haddonfield Halloween movie by using the paid Amazon Associates link following the review.

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Film

The nightmare isn’t over as unstoppable killer Michael Myers escapes from Laurie Strode’s trap to continue his ritual bloodbath. Injured and taken to the hospital, Laurie fights through the pain as she inspires residents of Haddonfield, Ill., to rise up against Myers. Taking matters into their own hands, the Strode women and other survivors form a vigilante mob to hunt down Michael and end his reign of terror once and for all.

I find myself a fan of Halloween Kills and truly admire its big swing and attempt to say something through the veins of the 12th entry in a long running stalk and stab picture. No, its not perfect, but its definitely one of the more interesting entries in the long running franchise and the annals of slashers over the decades. There’s also the factor of it being the middle chapter of some grander scheme. Nonetheless, it still functions as both its own complete film and an epilogue piece to the 2018 edition. Regardless of whether you enjoyed it or not, Michael will return and perhaps his next roster of corpses will be more to your liking.

Having seen the film three times now, my thoughts are relatively similar to where they were upon release. I shared them as a guest on Out Now with Aaron and Abe back in October. You can hear that conversation here:

Universal’s 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray release features an extended cut of the film. There are added lines of dialogue throughout, some more lingering on kills and a few scenes added back in. Some of which strengthens the film and gives it a bit more natural flare and fluid motion than before. Some of it feels a little repetitive or more than you need (Sheriff Brackett just flat out has bad lines no matter what). The alternate ending is a bit of a head scratcher as to why it was cut. The few extra details and moments really strengthens it and the overall film. It also leaves you with great excitement for what’s coming next while also having a little bit of uniform nature with the 2018 film. Regardless, its an interesting look, this extended edition, but I don’t think its going to sway anyone on either side of the fence about their thoughts on its overall quality.

Video

Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are taken from the standard Blu-ray disc, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Halloween Kills debuts on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray as a native 4K title having been finished with a 4K digital intermediate. And it looks quite lovely. Considering the entirety of the film takes place at night and in darkened homes and the like, it handles it with a delicate ease, showcasing depth and texture all about every frame. Its a sharp looking movie with good color and black level saturation.

Depth:  Depth of field is pretty rock solid here, be it a lot of this movie has a more claustrophobic nature to it. There is good separation of character and background with good confident camera movements showcasing it. Character movement is smooth and natural with no issues regarding any sort of motion distortion like jitter or blur.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep and rich with the natural look helping to bring a prime horror image to the screen. Details, patterns and textures are all varied and completed visible with no issues of any information getting lost in darkness or darker surfaces in the film. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are pretty strong here and well saturated. Colors on characters’ clothes really look plenty bold and filtering work is strong. There’s a good pop and glow, helped by the HDR with any sort of lights, displays, signage and the like throughout the film.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish. Be it natural things like freckles, wrinkles, stubble or bruising, cuts, scrapes and the like, everything is clear and discernible from any given distance in the frame. Make-up effects hold up quite swimmingly in the 4K image as well.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

Audio

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, Spanish 7.1 Dolby Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Audio

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Dynamics: Halloween Kills comes with the Atmos track the last one surprisingly didn’t have. And while it could seem overkill for a slasher, this one hits in all the right spots, doesn’t overdo it, but also surprises nicely in some areas. Its a well balanced mix that feels good a spacious, allowing the effects, score and vocals to weave and wander from scene to scene all feeling of importance but never stepping on one another’s toes.

Height: The ceiling channels helps build mood and ambiance while also assisting for accuracy in moments and having a few surprises of its own along the way.

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer has a nice bump coming from many of the action sequences in the film from impaling, punching, door slamming and more. The bass in the sound design really hits well too.

Surround Sound Presentation: There are plenty of good ambient atmospherics built in the rear and side channels in this mix. They also help with sound travel and unique points off-screen in big scenes with good power. Front channels bring some force and dance around as they portray some wonderful slashings.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras

Halloween Kills comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a redeemable digital code. The release features both the theatrical and an extended cut of the film.

Audio Commentary

  • With Director/Co-Writer David Gordon Green and Stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Judy Greer

Gag Reel (4K, 3:12)

Deleted And Extended Scenes (4K, 3:21)

Haddonfield’s Open Wounds (4K, 7:15) – This brief little featurette has David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, Jamie Lee Curtis and company talking the direction and challenge of making the follow up and the thematic through-line and desire to show the town’s reaction to it all. It goes over the “new” characters introduced in this one.

The Kill Team (4K, 11:02) – This piece goes over the kills and challenge to elevate and “beat things” (as Danny McBride says) that have been done before.

Strode Family Values (4K, 3:37) – Here we catch up with the Strode women and see how each performer approaches picking up right where they left off and the difficulty it brings.

1978 Transformation (4K, 5:50) – The opening sequence is divulged upon here and their ability to recreate it and re-contextualize things to fit their universe in this edition of the Halloween lore.

The Power of Fear (4K, 4:28) – And here’s a piece on the people of the town affected by the original’s events and the characters we focus on and their actions.

Kill Count (4K, :53) – A montage of kills that counts them as Michael slices and dices.

Summary

Halloween Kills provides the cored slasher goods to a ramped up degree. Where mileage may vary, David Gordon Green swings big with some strong ideas in a very loose fashion that doesn’t quite always work. Universal’s 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray set provides some decent goods in the extras department while also making for a pretty top tier presentation. Some fans may want to wait for the inevitable price drop, but for those picking up upon release, this is a pretty nice and full big studio release of a modern genre film.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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