Principal Cast : Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, Rohan Campbell, Will Patton, Kyle Richards, James Jude Courtney, Jesse C Boyd, Joanne Baron, Rick Moose, Michael Barbieri, Destiny Mone, Joey Harris, Marteen, Michael O’Leary, Michelle Dawson, Jaxon Goldberg, Omar Dorsey.
Synopsis: The saga of Michael Myers and Laurie Strode comes to a spine-chilling climax in the final instalment of this trilogy.
After the effective reboot in 2018, and the garbage fire of a sequel in Halloween Kills, David Gordon Green’s slicked-up sequel trilogy comes to a conclusion in Halloween Ends, a confused slasher movie that tries to turn in a romance angle and a re-humanising of Michael Myers some three years after the ends of the earlier two films. While 2018’s Halloween was an effective relaunch to the post-traumatic-stress disorder of Laurie Strode and her eternal nightmare in Myers, the frankly awful plot of Halloween Kills ruined any anticipation I had had for this third film, and I’m sad to say that while the storyline here is marginally better, the multiple violent deaths quite effective, and Jamie Lee Curtis’ arc satisfactorily concluded, Halloween Ends isn’t a very good movie. It’s almost two distinctly different films smashed together, and neither are particularly interesting.
A couple of years after the events of Halloween Kills, Laurie Strode has come to terms with her life and now lives a normal one with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), writing her memoirs as a method of dealing with her past. Allyson works as a nurse, and comes to befriend, then seek romantic relationship with, local town pariah Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell), who was accused of murdering a young child he was babysitting as a teenager. Unbeknownst to everyone in Haddonfield, serial killer Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) is still alive, and living in one of the town’s sewers, where Corey, who stumbles upon his existence, decides to emulate this nightmare figure from the town’s past. This murderous rage against Haddonfield eventually leads both Corey and Michael to plunge the town into fear again, setting out on a rampage that will lead Laurie Strode to once again confront her greatest fear.
After countless iterations, revamps, reboots and sub-par sequels, the Halloween franchise finally comes to an end for Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode – now perhaps more than ever after the actress’ Oscar win for Everything Everywhere All At Once – and rather than go out with a bang, Halloween Ends simply whimpers into the shadows like Myers’ ability to jump-scare the shit out of cinema audiences for the last four decades. Ends is a rarity among slasher films, in that at least it tries for something a little bit different, and I guess if there’s a silver lining to the film’s insipid plot it’s that at least it didn’t try for the same formula the franchise has become a joke for over the journey. But in a despairing touch, even this jarring clash of plot lines – the romance between Corey and Allyson is badly fumbled by screenwriters who don’t appear to know what to do with the idea, really – the hugely anticipated showdown between Michael Myers and Laurie Strode, a titanic screen clash apropos of the great literary myths of old, is an absolute fizzer.
At the end of the day, all audiences want in any halfway decent slasher film is for a plucky hero or heroine to be pitted against a bloodthirsty, usually unstoppable and incredibly powerful villain, and in Michael Myers you have arguably one of cinema’s most iconic horror creations. The trouble is, modern film audiences also want character development, clever plotting and maybe some subgenre surprises along the way…. or maybe they don’t. Who knows, really, and definitely not the writers of this slop, a committee of franchise stalwarts in Paul Brad Logan, Chris Bernier, Danny McBride and the director himself, who make the fatal mistake of trying to add an adjacent plotline of misaligned romance to what is, essentially, the American nightmare. Sadly, despite four people having a crack at the film, Halloween Ends badly misses the mark and is frustratingly obtuse with some of its character decisions – a third act heel turn by one of the main players feels awfully convenient, as if the writing team just went “fuck it, make him a killer too” without any real reason behind the decision other than mimicking fellow horror icon in Freddy Krueger – the townsfolk have spurned him, so retribution is in play – and it doesn’t work.
The film’s secondary plot arc, the redemption of Laurie Strode, should have been the main storyline given all that Curtis’ iconic character has given us down the years, but Green and his team seem content to settle her into the subplot for some reason and neuter her effectiveness when the time comes for her and Myers to inevitably confront each other. There’s no build-up, no preamble to the showdown, no sense of showmanship or over-the-top setting at all; just Laurie, in her kitchen, with brute force trying to stop Michael Myers from butchering her. As inane as that is, at least Green and Co manage to cobble in some nice little kills to satisfy the bloodlust of the viewer. The film’s “clever” twist is that it tries to set up Corey as the main character instead – why you’d relegate Curtis’ Laurie Strode after all this time for no apparent reason is the film’s biggest failing – and while he’s a moderately interesting character he’s not the one we paid good money to come and see. We came for Laurie and Michael, we…. don’t get that? Plenty of throat slashing, body puncturing and general eviscerations occur, but somehow they all feel downplayed compared to the film’s insistently misplaced romantic angle, and the juggling of this dichotomy is more than Green’s directorial skill can accomplish effectively.
Although it’s not as outright putrid as Halloween Kills, Ends is a disappointing conclusion to what began as a promising reboot back in 2018. Had the formula been stuck to a little more closely, with Michael Myers carving his way through town and terrorising people without an agenda, and had the tepid (and frankly unromantic) romance subplot been cast aside in favour of a simpler, more gratuitous killing spree, and had they put at least some thought into the Myers-Strode showdown that concludes the film, Halloween Ends may have been a decent rebound to round out the trilogy. This is a film that doesn’t quite know what it wants to be, and so ends up becoming nothing much at all, really, riding on the coattails of the Halloween franchise brand and delivering an unmemorable, insipid slasher film that hardly ever goes for the jugular. Disappointing.