Directed by David Gordon Green, Halloween Ends brings a close to the trilogy of Halloween sequels that started with 2018’s Halloween. That film, a direct sequel to the original 1978 iconic slasher, ignored every other entry in the franchise. This was a new timeline for Halloween and the characters of Michael Myers and Laurie Strode. One that would end with this final film.
Written by Green, Danny McBride, Paul Brad Logan, and Chris Bernier, Halloween End stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, Rohan Campbell, Will Patton, Kyle Richards, and James Jude Courtney.
Before talking about Halloween Ends, it’s important to look back at not just the previous two films in this trilogy but the franchise overall. After all, it’s a bit of a mess. There are the two original Myers/Strode stories, Halloween 1978 and Halloween II. Then there are the ‘The Curse of Thorn’ movies, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers and Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.
In 1998, a direct sequel to the first two films only, would be released called Halloween H20: 20 Years Later. That film would then get a sequel, arguably the worst in the franchise to date, Halloween Resurrection. Five years after that, Rob Zombie would be handed the reins and deliver a remake of the original movie before following that up with his own sequel.
These are the movies that involve Michael Myers and don’t include the third film in the franchise, Halloween III: Season of the Witch. A ‘stand-alone’ horror that would have taken the franchise in a brand-new direction if it had been successful, which it wasn’t. (You can read our definitive ranking of the franchise here and our abridged timeline here).
It’s worth remember Season of the Witch. Not just because it’s a good horror movie but because Halloween Ends has more similarities with it, then might expect. No, Ends is not a ‘spin-off’ but it’s a brave attempt to try something new with the eponymous characters and exhausted storyline. A brave attempt that falters throughout and is inevitably abandoned in favour of giving an audience what it wants. Albeit, briefly and unsatisfyingly.
If there’s one thing Halloween Ends does well, it’s how it manages to not please anyone. However, does that make it a bad movie? We don’t think so. It’s certainly an improvement over the lacklustre Halloween Kills.
Beginning on the night he came home (for a second time) in 2019, we are introduced to Corey (Rohan Campbell) who is on babysitting duties. A series of unfortunate events results in him accidentally killing the child he is looking after. He is arrested but the death is ruled accidental and he walks free. Even though it makes him the second most hated man in Haddonfield.
Jump to 3 years later and the town is still reeling from the Myers spree. The shape vanished after the events of Halloween Kills and Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) is now living with her grand-daughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak). Laurie has found a way to move forward in her life and is even writing a memoir, while Allyson is working as a nurse. The latter harbouring anger and resentment to a town that has been corrupted by the evil of Michael Myers.
After helping Corey with some bullies, Laurie ends up introducing him to Allyson in the hope that they can connect and the pair hit it off. Allyson is immediately attracted to him and he enjoys the fact that she doesn’t see him as a monster.
However, after going to a party together, Corey is confronted by the mother of the child he accidentally killed and runs off into the night. While walking down the street, he is then attacked by the bullies and thrown over a bridge. Hurt, he is then dragged off by an unknown figure into the sewers. When he wakes, he finds himself face to face with Michael Myers. Who has apparently been hiding out down there for the past few years.
Myers attacks Corey but when he looks into his eyes, sees something in them that makes him release his grip. Corey is able to escape but ends up stabbing a homeless man to death afterwards. His first intentional kill and not his last. Yes, Myers sensed the same darkness he has, in Corey. Haddonfield has a new boogeyman but the original one isn’t quite done yet.
So, there it is, the aspect of Halloween Ends that is causing so much controversy. That the majority of the film focuses on the character of Corey and not Michael Myers. The film attempting to tell a nuanced story about pariahs, corruption and how evil is infectious. It’s both exciting and brave because there was no need to go in this direction. All Halloween Ends needed to be was a frantic, blood and guts, slasher-driven horror about the final showdown between Myers and Strode. It’s what most expected and it’s what most wanted.
The end of the movie will deliver that but the route to get there is messy, convoluted and unconvincing. This is Halloween Ends’ biggest problem. It just doesn’t tell the Corey story well.
For starters, the character isn’t that likeable and Rohan Campbell’s performance is iffy to say the least. Then we have his romance with Allyson, a fast-paced whirlwind experience that feels forced. So much so, that the character of Allyson has to seemingly forget major events of the past two films to make it work. Events like trusting her grandmother and remembering the death of her parents. Both of whom are barely mentioned in the film. Her character, while played well, is infuriating.
Evil dies tonight? Evil got forgotten about tonight.
When Corey does don the infamous mask, his killing spree is trite and underwhelming. Partially because it lacks impact and partially because his targets were all horrid in the first place. By making it personal, the random nature of Myer’s evil is lost and with it, the fear of The Shape. There’s also something hilarious about Corey and Myers ‘tag-teaming’ to kill too. Which is probably not what the filmmakers intended.
The concept of Corey’s evil coming from how he was treated and how the town itself has become a beacon of suffering is interesting. Had this been the start of a new series of movies, they’d be on to something but it’s not, it’s the end of a trilogy. Which brings us to Laurie and her final face-off with her boogeyman.
As delightful as always, Jamie Lee Curtis gets to play the character differently here. Gone is the hardened drunk who is just waiting for Myers to come back so she can finish him off. Here, she is attempting to finally move on and it’s sweet. It’s nice to see her smile and her budding romance with Frank Hawkins (Will Patton) is something worth watching. Even if there’s not enough of it. Moments when she is confronted by the horror of her past, blamed by some in the town, show just how great an actor she is.
It’s impossible to not be cheering from the rooftops when we finally get the big confrontation at the end of the movie. It’s just such a shame it’s over so quickly and so uneventfully. Gory and bloody, but just underwhelming. It’s also an ending that throws away the ‘supernatural’ implication that Halloween Kills ended with. Myers is just a man. An old and evil man.
The Shape is gone. The story is over. Halloween Ends. In messy, confusing and disappointing fashion. Of this ‘new’ trilogy, only the first really stands out so you have to ask yourself, was it even worth it? There’s no doubt that we’ve not seen the last of this franchise but maybe it’s finally time to close the door on this specific boogeyman.
Halloween Ends (2022)
Halloween Ends - 6/10