Evil ends tonight. Three years ago, Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) ran roughshod over the community of Haddonfield when it tried to defend and eradicate itself from The Shape. In those three years since, Michael has vanished without a trace, but the pain Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Allyson (Andi Matichak) are left with as a result of losing daughter/mother Karen (Judy Greer) remains.
Laurie and Allyson attempt to move forward, with the former writing a tell-all book that serves as closure, and the latter working as a nurse with a newfound interest in Corey (Rohan Campbell), something of a pariah after an unfortunate incident. The elder Strode sees something…off after spending more time around Corey. If anyone knows evil, it is her. And evil never dies, it only changes shape…
How did we get here? If you’re reading this, you probably already know. No, I’m not talking about from 1978’s classic to now, but from 2018’s rebooted sequel follow up to Halloween Ends. “Halloween,” while not great, is as fun and electric as a mid-sized budgeted slasher horror can be, a good back-to-basics revisiting with enough tweaks to be a modern-day slasher classic (even with the hilariously bad Dr. Sartain twist). Yet, history repeats itself, and the issues that plagued so many of the sequels following John Carpenter’s original are ones writer/director David Gordon Green and co-writer Danny McBride succumb to as well in Halloween Kills and now, Halloween Ends.
One better thing about Ends (there are a select few)? It has a hot opener; arguably the best or at least second-best scene of the feature. None of the film’s trailers hinted at what ultimately goes down, so it is an opportunity for Green and McBride along with another pair of co-writers in Chris Bernier and Paul Brad Logan to have some fun and keep the audience guessing and even subvert our expectations a bit. From a pure presentation end, the latest Halloween movies have mostly been crafted with technical care, often leaning on the greatness of Carpenter’s score and the inherent eeriness of Haddonfield to create nifty scenes. Ends doesn’t quite feel as hooking or slick (nothing tops the bathroom scene or the one take tracking kills in Halloween 2018), but direction is not a super weak point here.
Halloween Kills was widely criticized for its shoddy script and brain dead characters, as well as the rough decision to leave Laurie sidelined for the entirety of the movie in the hospital. Good news! There’s more Laurie present than what was in Kills—though that isn’t a hard bar to clear. Bad news? They completely minimize and sideline her nemesis for…Corey?
Ends is, no lie, a bona fide love drama for the entirety of the first act. Nary a kill or a mention of The Shape. It is totally alright and encouraged to take some storytelling risks, but when trying to tie all loose ends and close the trilogy, ideally these risks were taken in the first and second films, not the capper. The character of Corey could work in this narrative if he were introduced earlier, perhaps as a quaternary character in 2018 and then someone who has more interaction with Allyson in Kills while getting more of his backstory revealed. As it is in Ends, he’s fast tracked to a level where so much revolves around him and we don’t quite have the investment to care. And Michael Myers himself loses whatever unstoppable entity status he was built to in the prior feature. Sure, it is on the writers who backed themselves into what was a corner with no viable exit, but to go out like this as essentially a feeble old man in long stretches? To call the main characters’ writing as inconsistent would be generous at best.
The inconsistent writing translates into performances that don’t pop, and the promise the generational Strodes showed in Halloween 2018 never materializes like it should. Curtis is solid, but even her character and acting work in this new trilogy clearly peaked with the first. There’s just not a lot of interesting places where Laurie could go, particularly as she’s not quite connected to Myers. The saddest lack of progression is from Allyson, distilled here to someone who operates with no agency and little street smarts. Corey is interesting in theory, not in execution and by proxy, Campbell just feels unnecessary. Lastly, Will Patton and Omar K. Dorsey were both set up as cool/important law enforcement characters in the other two movies, and neither does anything remotely interesting or impactful.
Halloween had a clear sense of why it existed and executed its existence with mostly acute precision. The same couldn’t be said for Halloween Kills, but at least that had some notable energy as a mindless and ultra-violent slasher. Halloween Ends…is none of those things. If there’s one thing we’ve seen in 40+ years, The Shape endures. This movie probably will not.
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This isn’t a Halloween sequel. It’s a Corey Cunnighham movie. Introducing a brand new character as the star for the final installment of this franchise was a considerable risk. It didn’t pay off. Corey wasn’t interesting. We finally got the confrontation we wanted, but why we had to wait for the final 20 minutes to see Laurie Strode and Michael Myers share the screen is a misguided decision. Epic fail.
Facts! I do think the Corey inclusion could have worked but only if he were introduced much earlier in the trilogy. Otherwise, it’s a super misguided choice they went with. Maybe a decision you go with at the start of the trilogy, but it feels more and more likely DGG and McBride only had enough good stuff to write one Halloween movie. Don’t doubt the pandemic hurt, but so much of Kills/End appears like it was written on the fly and adjusted in real time. Guess that’s why they have four credited writers lol.
Good review. I felt disappointed with this movie. It’s quite clear what the movie wants to be, especially in the depiction of the nature of evil, which sort of does fit in the Halloween movies. That being said, the new twist angle of the movie, feels like a different project that was just shoehorned into Halloween Ends. It just doesn’t work and becomes a distraction to the main plot of the feature, which should’ve been about Michael and Laurie. It’s just a shame that the movie ends up on whimper, especially after such a strong start in the 2018 endeavor.
Yeah I don’t mind that they took risks but these risks should have been taken earlier in the trilogy.
I thought David Gordon Green made a very solid initial film for his Halloween trilogy. That 2018 entry was a very nice throwback and tribute to the 1978 classic. I enjoyed it so much. That being said, I thought Halloween Kills was an embarrassing disaster of a movie, and since that one went off the rails I assumed this one would also. But, this is even worse than I imagined. It is hard to believe the guy who made such a love letter to the franchise in 2018 crashed and burned so badly on the next two films. Should have quit while he was ahead. The D grade may be too generous.🎃
At least Halloween Kills does what it’s title says. Definitely not great but some entertaining bloodshed. Ends…is just so bizarre and inept.
Halloween 2018 to me is up there at the top when you think about how good a modern day mid/big budget slasher horror can be. In my opinion, the genre is now kind of limited with it’s ability to scare (what scared audiences in the 70/80’s and mid 90s isn’t the same anymore), but things like H2018 and Scream prove that they can still be very fun and made with care. Maybe the DGG/McBride timeline had nowhere to go but down once they tried or were forced to roll out a trilogy. Everything they did right with 2018 and getting Michael back to basics was thrown out when the sequels came. They’ve become the Cult of Thorn despite wanting to not be those.