HALLOWEEN ENDS movie review

HALLOWEEN ENDS is directed by David Gordon Green; it’s the third in a trilogy of HALLOWEEN films he directed. The movie stars Jamie Lee Curtis, James Jude Courtney, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Michael O’Leary, Omar Dorsey, Rohan Campbell, Nick Castle, and Kyle Richards.

A few years have passed since the events of HALLOWEEN KILLS. Laurie Strode and her granddaughter Allyson have settled down together and moved on with their lives, with the threat of Michael Myers apparently gone. Allyson begins a relationship with an ostracized young man accused of killing a child he was babysitting several years prior, with the town having largely turned against him following those events. With this young man continually pushed to the breaking point by a resentful town and following a transformative experience, what will become of Haddonfield, and is the threat of Michael Myers truly over?

David Gordon Green deserves credit for reviving the HALLOWEEN brand; the franchise had largely been dormant since 1992’s not-so-great HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION, unless one counts to the two remake films made by Rob Zombie. Green made the decision to direct a reboot trilogy that ignored all HALLOWEEN movies other than the 1978 original; HALLOWEEN (the confusingly-titled 2018 movie) and its immediate sequel, 2021’s HALLOWEEN KILLS, literally take place on the same night, one right after the other, which had this Michael Myers fan geared up for its conclusion, HALLOWEEN ENDS.

Unfortunately, like many a film trilogy, an otherwise-stellar trilogy is derailed by a third installment that has absolutely no idea what it’s doing. Jamie Lee Curtis is back and as good as ever, but ultimately ends up feeling like a supporting character in a film that can’t resist introducing cliched, uninteresting new characters that feel like they’re ripped off from better movies. Even Michael Myers is reduced to second fiddle. In a movie series that revolves around him, that’s unforgivable. The third act feels like classic HALLOWEEN, but you’ve got to sit through two mediocre and generic acts to get to it.

I’ll give HALLOWEEN ENDS credit for what it does well, namely the performance of Jamie Lee Curtis in which she states will be her final performance as Laurie Strode (and I believe her this time around). Even if other elements of the movie are a mess, many aspects explored here, including her volatile relationship with her granddaughter and the other citizens of Haddonfield, come off surprisingly well. This is the defining role of Mrs. Curtis’ career, and if it’s the last time we see her squaring off against the evils that started with Michael Myers back in 1978, that aspect is at least good enough.

Sadly, Laurie and Allyson are often cast aside. And so is Michael Myers! After two solid films, these two play second fiddle to a less interesting lead character in the form of the tormented Corey Cunningham, bullied and cast out by an unforgiving town. This character’s arc follows every cliche in the book, and in more ways than one feels like a blatant rip-off of Arnie from CHRISTINE, right down to having the same last name! (All that’s missing is the killer car.) The story goes in bizarre directions that feel nothing like a HALLOWEEN movie, with one scene even having what I could best describe as a “buddy killing” that feels completely untrue to the character of Michael Myers and the atmosphere of this series.

The young man playing the role of Corey, Rohan Campbell, does surprisingly well with what he’s given, but one can’t help but wonder if this film would’ve been better if it had been made as something that wasn’t connected to the HALLOWEEN franchise. There was an attempt in the past to make the HALLOWEEN series into an anthology series revolving around the holiday with the flop HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH, and this film feels almost more like it would’ve been the product of that franchise, had it launched. Strangely, the opening credits are done in the same style/font of SEASON OF THE WITCH, which further makes one contemplate this.

HALLOWEEN KILLS was a solid follow-up to the 2018 movie because it brought back familiar faces from Haddonfield’s past, many of whom were integral to the plot. HALLOWEEN ENDS, however, wastes time introducing too many new (and largely uninteresting) characters, many of whom feel tertiary at best. The last installment in a series should develop existing themes and persons; not introduce new ones. The Haddonfield of KILLS felt like a tight-knit town united by a common enemy with a three-dimensional lived-in feel. The Haddonfield of ENDS isn’t a good place at all, with unsympathetic and unlikable characters. This is even more disappointing considering David Gordon Green was at the helm for the whole rebooted sequel trilogy! A few plot twists and changes to the formula aren’t bad, but ENDS tries to be a completely different movie and betrays the story of the previous two movies considerably. Even the conclusion to the Laurie Strode and Michael Myers storyline is too little too late, with much of the movie wasted in irrelevant places and plot points. And when it’s said and done, for these reasons, it’s a bit underwhelming.

HALLOWEEN ENDS is a bitter disappointment. Despite great casting, the trilogy goes off the rails and doesn’t feel at all like the conclusion this story needed. When I go to a HALLOWEEN movie, I want to see Michael Myers killing people, not some ostracized emo kid who feels like he belongs in a different movie. It’s not without a handful of redeeming moments, but overall it’s certainly near the bottom when it comes to the HALLOWEEN films (okay, it’s better than the one with Busta Rhymes, but that doesn’t exactly set the bar too high). We all know HALLOWEEN we’ll never truly end; they’ll inevitably reboot it eventually. In the meantime, don’t waste time going to the theater to see the so-called “final” installment. Wait for the streaming/digital release.


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