Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Will Patton, Rohan Campbell, Kyle Richards
Nearly 45 years after John Carpenter’s original, Halloween Ends, the final chapter in the Michael Myers saga makes its way to theaters and Peacock this weekend. Director David Gordon Green’s (“Stronger,” “Halloween“) trilogy has been brilliant at bringing characters from the original film and initial sequels into the forefront. Still, it has fallen short in creating real stakes as Michael Myers continues to return each time even more robust and seemingly more invincible than before. However, the most recent previous installment in the series, Halloween Kills, serves as a showcase for the absolute carnage that the masked killer could wreak but fails to elicit any real connection between the characters and the audience. This final stab at a several-decades-long story trades in the blood and guts for a good portion of the runtime to try and refocus on its original heroine, Laurie Strode. It attempts to give her a character arc worthy of her legacy as a horror icon.
“It’s Halloween; we’re gonna have a good time tonight,” says Corey (Campbell) as he cheekily stares just above the camera toward the film’s start. Shortly after that, Corey experiences a horrific and life-altering event, for which he is ostracized by the town of Haddonfield, Illinois (the long-time setting of the Halloween franchise). Eventually, his path crosses with that of Laurie Strode (Curtis). She encourages him to spend time with her granddaughter Allyson (Matichak). The latter is still dealing with the trauma of the previous film’s events. As she works on her memoir, Laurie spends time trying to confront and overcome the terrors of her past. At first, she senses a kindred spirit in Corey for herself and her granddaughter. Still, Laurie becomes increasingly worried as his personality becomes darker. She questions whether evil is inherent or if it can be a result of the bad things that have happened in someone’s life. As the threat of Michael Myers’ return looms quietly over the town, Laurie realizes that evil can no longer be allowed to exist in Haddonfield and prepares to make sure it ends for good.
Although the audience is treated to some delightfully gory sequences, Halloween Ends is bogged down by constant winks to the audience, silly characterization, and corny dialogue.
Throughout Halloween Ends, we are introduced to characters we have never met and reintroduced to characters who have appeared in multiple entries in the franchise. While their lives precede the death and destruction in previous films, some of the characterizations feel silly and outdated. The audience is subjected to characters who feel like ’80s archetypes (although the film is set in the present), with portions of the dialogue sounding like it might have been put through a “how to talk like a bad guy” generator. Several attempts at jump scares are made in this film to varying degrees of success.
The final act of Halloween Ends is exciting and a bloody good time. The showdown between good and evil is long, graphic, and ultimately rewarding. For long-time fans expecting that grand finale, this may be a worthy send-off for the series. It is a vast improvement in storytelling over Halloween Kills. Yet, it still feels like not much is accomplished, even though the story has reached a natural conclusion. Although the audience is treated to some delightfully gory sequences (one specifically involving a record player in a DJ booth), Halloween Ends is bogged down by constant winks to the audience, silly characterization, and corny dialogue. The film is at its best when Jamie Lee Curtis (“True Lies,” “Knives Out“) is allowed to let loose and have fun playing Laurie Strode for the last time. Visual effects are impressive, and some of the kills are incredibly innovative. The film suffers, however, whenever leaning too far into the question of evil being born or fostered. Finally, this franchise can be put to rest, and hopefully, audiences will feel it has been a worthwhile journey.
Finally, this franchise can be put to rest, and hopefully, audiences will feel it has been a worthwhile journey.