Movie Review: Halloween Ends
- 1h 51m
By Jason Koenigsberg
David Gordon Green’s re-imagining of the beloved horror franchise Halloween finally gets closure with his third film in the sequel trilogy he started back in 2018 with the aptly titled Halloween Ends. Although most people who have been around long enough probably know that in a few years time there will be money to make and this title will likely be as much of a lie as Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) or Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991). So the big question that needs to be answered, is Halloween Ends a satisfying conclusion for this new timeline of the franchise? The short answer, no, not at all, but it is not for lack of trying to do something different which is commendable since that is not something this horror franchise is known for. It just does not do a very compelling job at where it tries to be different. Halloween Ends a will likely go down in history as an interesting failure for the franchise.
The film opens up with some happy sounding music over the Universal and Blumhouse logos accompanied by a DJ speaking rapidly, not the usual ominous tones that most horror movies open up with. Then there is text telling the audience it is October 31, 2019, one year after the events of the previous movie and we see shots of children dressed in costumes trick or treating in Haddonfield. We are introduced to a well-to-do family with a child and their babysitter comes over. This scene goes on and on with these characters we have never seen before and do not care about but something eventually happens that plays into the plot of Halloween Ends and finally the opening credits roll.
The previous movie Halloween Kills (2021) basically celebrated the violence and gore of the franchise, Halloween Ends almost does a course correction for the trilogy with minimal violence and very few kills until the third act. In this movie David Gordon Green tries really hard to make a slasher movie into a melodrama. It is like a mediocre version of Ordinary People (1980) as a few family members deal with the recent deaths of their loved ones and then there is some graphic and intense violence near the end. He tries to make a statement about the long lasting effects of death and trauma on a family and a small town but does so in such a tepid manner none of these elements stick. A lot of the dialogue is about how our actions can effect others and change a community but it is so contrived and unnatural it is hard to believe that this came from the same creative team that showed so much promise with their Halloween in 2018 and then such nihilism and reckless abandon with Halloween Kills. This movie redacts a lot of the action and dialogue that happened in the last film, almost like it was an apology for the people who were unsatisfied with that movie. If you read the opening credits you will see that Halloween Ends has four credited screenwriters, plus most likely other script doctors were hired and did uncredited work on the film. I think that is the films biggest problem right there. Too many cooks in the kitchen, too many conflicting styles and ideas and the result is an uneven movie.
This would all be forgivable if the screenplay was not so poorly written. The first and most obvious mistake being that this movie introduces a major character in third film of this trilogy that we are supposed to care about and he is vital to the plot and the decisions our main characters make. This character happens to be a male babysitter, since it is 2022, movies must have role reversals playing on stereotypes and there needs to be a male babysitter. When the dialogue is not contrived to force characters to fall in love to advance the plot, it is stilted and unrealistic even in small moments. So much of Halloween Ends is filled with young and old characters awkwardly flirting. That might have been cute for a few moments but it comes across as pathetic and eye roll inducing as it goes on.
But on the plus side, the acting is terrific for the most part. Jamie Lee Curtis does as well as she can with the dialogue she is given and since it is (allegedly) the last time she is playing Laurie Strode this is a much better farewell than what fans received twenty years ago in Halloween Resurrection. Andi Matichak excels in her scenes as Laurie Strode’s granddaughter Allyson and makes you care about her character and her daily struggles. After seeing her in this it is optimistic to hope that Andi Matichak can be as fortunate as Jamie Lee Curtis and break away from the ‘Scream Queen’ label because it would be nice to see her tackle different kinds of roles. She illustrates here that she is ready for the A-list and can probably handle a comedy or drama suitably. She is a strong point in a movie that otherwise will make the viewer question why they should care about anything that is happening for the majority of the running time.
The climax and resolution certainly provide closure regarding Michael Myers, the final shots of the bright empty rooms reinforce that as the antithesis of the final shots from John Carpenter’s original 1978 Halloween. Visually it is a symbolic conclusion. A major flaw with this movie was that there was not enough of Michael Myers, so much so that when the kills occur, mostly just in the third act, the viewer may question if Michael Myers is actually real and even in this movie, or just a figment of a characters imagination as they lose their grip on reality. Halloween Kills had Jamie Lee Curtis stuck in a hospital bed for the whole movie while Michael Myers went around brutally slaying victims. I thought that was a huge waste of her talent especially after her strong performance in Halloween 2018. Now in Halloween Ends it is a complete 180 with Laurie Strode, her granddaughter, and her granddaughters boyfriend front and center and Michael Myers is basically absent for two thirds of the run time.
Those that loved Halloween Kills or expect a certain amount of violence and gore from their Halloween movies are going to walk out extremely disappointed. There are callbacks to earlier Halloween movies especially 4 and 6 with scenes involving a drain tunnel and a radio station. There are also unmistakable moments that are intended to have the viewers think of previous horror movies like John Carpenter’s Christine (1983) and Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986). However the real horror aficionados are going to be the ones that are most disappointed with Halloween Ends. A movie that deals with getting older and moving on in life after a tragedy. Pretty soon everyone who sees Halloween Ends will move on with their life until the next time Michael Myers gets the reboot treatment.
Skip paying top dollar for Halloween Ends and just listen to the awesome theme composed by the great John Carpenter himself.