After a pandemic-led delay, we finally have the ‘final’ chapter in Laurie Strode’s modern ‘Halloween’ trilogy. 2018’s ‘Halloween’ reboot delighted eager horror fans who were rewarded with a clever and relevant story that honoured the original’s legacy – some 40 years later. Its success brought about ‘Halloween Kills’ in 2021, a clever but flawed sequel that (brilliantly) took place immediately after the events of the first film. Now that ‘Halloween Ends’ has arrived, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the franchise had done all of the hard set-up work already, so this finale should be plain sailing. Inexplicably, ‘Halloween Ends’ tries to do something radically different this time around and the end result is a mess that feels completely disjointed and out of place in this particular trilogy.
I’m not against trying new things in film franchises – it’s what keeps the property fresh and relevant to changing audiences. But to deliver something so leftfield after two successful chapters and an (apparently) clear direction where this story needed to go, ‘Halloween Ends’ is sadly a disappointing end to a 44-year legacy of horror, and a poor send-off for one of cinema’s best onscreen horror heroines.
I’ll keep this as spoiler-free as possible, so you can experience the disappointment first-hand. The story takes place 4 years after the events of ‘Kills’. Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) seems to have put the past behind her and has bought a house, is living with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) and is trying to embrace a ‘normal’ life as best she can in Haddonfield, Illinois. This is the first major problem with the film – Laurie just feels like a completely different character here. Nothing she does at the start of this film feels true to her character or her wider story-arc. She has spent her entire life preparing for Michael Myers return. Now that he is loose in her town (and don’t forget he has already murdered her daughter), she now decides to try and live a normal life? It’s an insane narrative leap to take.
The rest of the plot revolves around Corey (Rohan Campbell), a Haddonfield native who was on the cusp of attending college before a bizarre tragedy shakes his world one night (whilst he’s babysitting a neighbours kid). Now a town outcast, with a ticking timebomb relationship with an overbearing mother and anxiety aplenty, this apparently makes him catnip to an emotionally-challenged Allyson, who sees Corey as a kindred spirit who is living through a similar type of Haddonfield trauma himself. But whilst all of this is going on, in the outskirts of the town, something is still alive and wants to return to finish his mission. Michael Myers is back (again) and is set on a final collision course with Laurie.
I can’t go into any more detail, but let’s just say that the choices the writers make with this story are ludicrous – even within the concession of this being a slasher film. Bizarre narrative side-swipes, poor character development, a curious choice in settings and a lack of understanding on what makes the successful parts of this franchise tick, makes ‘Halloween Ends’ a baffling movie whichever way you slice it. And with supporting characters like Frank (Will Patton) and Kyle Richards (Lindsey) wasted here, its hard to find any substantial positives here. The finale (as a standalone sequence) works ok, and the end is watchable, but its too little too late to save this trilogy-ender from being a dud.
‘Halloween Ends’ really should have taken place immediately after the events of ‘Halloween Kills’. The narrative symmetry would have delivered a far more satisfying return for audiences who have invested a lot of time and effort into this story already. Now was not the time to go leftfield with the plot, and it’s proven to be its ultimate undoing. The finale is fine, but the rest is a mess that really should have tried harder. It’s a shame ‘Halloween Ends’ on such a dour note, the franchise and Jamie Lee Curtis deserved a lot more.
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, Rohan Campbell, Will Patton, Kyle Richards Director: David Gordon Green Writer: Paul Brad Logan, Chris Bernier, Danny McBride, David Gordon Green Certificate: 18 Duration: 111 mins Released by: Universal Release date: 14th October 2022