This weekend, a pair of very high profile films have opened. One is a potential Academy Award player from Ridley Scott, who has another Oscar hopeful out later this year. It reunites Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, both as actors and writers. The other? Well, it’s a horror sequel (no shade to that, obviously). Yes, the former is The Last Duel, while the latter is Halloween Kills. Both got positive reviews from yours truly, but that’s not what we care about today. Of course, this means it’s time for an Awards Radar Community Question. You better believe we want your thoughts on both…
First up is Halloween Kills. The sequel to Halloween is meeting with a rather mixed reception. Personally, while it’s not up to the level of the first one, it still has horror sequel carnage en mass to display. Here is a bit from my review:
When David Gordon Green and Danny McBride unleashed Halloween on the world back in 2018, it was a surprise. After all, the property was dormant and seemingly used up. They found a way to distill the series down to only what works, which essentially was Michael Myers butchering people, Jamie Lee Curtis, and the classic John Carpenter score. By doing so, they made a nasty little delight, though not one initially set to continue the franchise. And yet, money talks, so here comes Halloween Kills, meant as the second part in a trilogy. Though it’s decidedly a step down from the last one, enough works here to warrant a recommendation.
Halloween Kills is essentially a 106 minute trailer for Halloween Ends, but that’s middle installment syndrome for you. If you wanted Michael to have hacked up more folks last time around, you’re in luck. Now, while this is mostly just mayhem, Green and McBride do try to bring up some new themes, in addition to the prior one of passing down trauma. Here, it’s mob mentality and fear elevating evil. They’re not always successful, but at least it aims to be more than just a throwaway sequel.
Next, we have The Last Duel. Affleck and Damon star opposite Jodie Comer and Adam Driver in this tale of Dark Age toxic masculinity. Some have been surprised at how well received this one overall has been, suggesting some extra potential awards possibilities. My review of the flick includes this bit:
On paper, The Last Duel should be a massive misfire. A Fourteenth Century set epic that takes on the #MeToo movement? Especially one largely made by men? Sure, that’ll work. In fact, this film probably should have been a spectacular disaster. Instead, the movie has a deft point to make, one that it hammers home with lucidity by the end. In serving as a vivid reminder that men were also trash way back in the Dark Ages, this is a largely successful work. Mixing a critique of toxic masculinity with period-set action may have been a risky high-wire act, but The Last Duel manages to pull it off. That alone is worthy of some attention.
If you’ve seen either movie, we’re eager to hear from you.
Thoughts on Halloween Kills and/or The Last Duel? Let us know below!