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Halloween Ends Review

October 15, 2022 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Halloween Ends Image Credit: Universal Pictures
6.5
The 411 Rating
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Halloween Ends Review  

Directed by: David Gordon Green
Written by: Paul Brad Logan, Chris Bernier, Danny McBride & David Gordon Green

Starring:
Jamie Lee Curtis – Laurie Strode
Andi Matichak – Allyson Nelson
James Jude Courtney – The Shape
Rohan Campbell – Corey Cunningham
Will Patton – Frank Hawkins
Kyle Richards – Lindsey Wallace
Jesse C. Boyd – Officer Mulaney
Michael Barbieri – Terry
Destiny Mone – Stacy
Joey Harris – Margo
Marteen – Billy
Joanne Baron – Joan
Rick Moose – Ronald
Michele Dawson – Nurse Deb
Keraun Harris – Willy the Kid
Michael O’Leary – Dr. Mathis

Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Running Time: 111 minutes
Rated R for bloody horror violence and gore, language throughout and some sexual references.

The David Gordon Green Halloween trilogy has been a ride and a half, to say the least. Green, who launched a new revival of the trilogy with 2018’s Halloween, has perhaps become the most divisive filmmaker to guide the reins on Michael Myers’ franchise in its 40-plus year history. When you consider that his company includes Rob Zombie, that’s saying a lot. While Halloween and Halloween Kills have been financially successful, they’ve also inspired heated debate over what Green and Danny McBride did with the series, both good and bad.

But whether we love it, hate it, or anything in between, I think most of us can at least agree that Green and company left the franchise in a better state then when we last saw it. Halloween: Resurrection is the largely undisputed nadir of this series’ complicated series of timelines for a variety of reasons, and Rob Zombie’s duology left the franchise hanging. Green brought back Michael Myers and Laurie Strode for a final (as final as slasher films get) cohesive story, and Halloween Ends finishes that story in a way that may not bring critics of H40 around to it, but at least gives Michael and Laurie a final battle and concluding arc to hang their hats on.

Halloween Ends picks up a year after the events of Kills, where Michael killed Laurie’s daughter and the town members who hoped to put him down before escaping into the dark. On Halloween night of 2019, a young high school student with a bright future named Corey (Rohan Campbell) is set to babysit for a wealthy Haddonfield couple. When that night turns tragic thanks to a prank gone awry, Corey is left on the sidelines of Haddonfield due to the townsfolk’s suspicions about him.

Three years later, Haddonfield is trying to move on, including Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak). Laurie has tried to put her trauma behind her and build a life for herself and Allyson in the wake of everything that’s happened. She’s writing a memoir so she can close the book on her past, while Allyson is working at a doctor’s office. Michael Myers hasn’t been seen in years, though the town blames Laurie for his murderous rampage four years prior.

When Laurie happens across Corey at a gas station, she sees someone similarly looked down upon by everyone else and looks to set him up with Allyson. The two begin a romance, but Halloween is approaching and that never means good things in this town. The specter of Michael Myers rears its head again, threatening Corey, Allyson, Laurie and the rest of Haddonfield in new and insidious ways.

If you noticed that the end of that plot summary got vague, that was intentional. There’s a lot going on in Halloween Ends and to say too much about this plot is to reveal some spoilers. But suffice it to say that if you didn’t like Halloween Kills, there is a greater chance than not that you will also hate Halloween Ends. Green has some specific things he wants to say in this franchise about the specter of trauma and evil, and he sees that thread through in this film.

And while a lot of Kills didn’t work due to its themes being hammered home with a sledgehammer, there’s a certain credit to be given to the way that Gordon Green concludes his trilogy as both the end of a cohesive story and a definitive wrap up on Laurie Strode and Michael Myers’ story. Gordon Green was looking for a story with thematic resonance and he’s achieved that. And fortunately, Ends has a lighter touch on its thematic material even if it’s not exactly subtle.

That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t make some choices that are sure to drive some fans to bouts of fury. The screenplay by Green, McBride, Paul Brad Logan, and Chris Bernier flips the script in a way that has done similarly in some other slasher franchises but works better here mostly due to thanks to its strong cast. Jamie Lee Curtis gives her best performance of the Green trilogy as Laurie, a welcome return after she was heavily sidelined in Kills, while Matichak and Campbell make their relationship work despite some frustrating narrative shortcuts in the script. Add in some decent (if short) supporting turns by Kyle Richards and Will Patton, back as their characters from Kills, and you have one of the better-acted films in this franchise in quite some time – perhaps ever, though your mileage may vary on how high a bar that is.

It is good that the cast is delivering on all fronts, because while the script is a clear step up from Halloween Kills it still has some frustrating elements that are really going to turn some people off. It’s a slasher film that doesn’t do any significant slashing until its final act or so, for one. Once we get to that point, the kills are worth it, but there is a lot of setup going on here and those narrative shortcuts make it awkward at times. Similarly, Curtis’ performance manages to overcome Green’s writing faults when it comes to the flip-floppy way that Laurie views the relationship.

If it’s not clear by now, this is a movie that has some big ideas but – like Kills – isn’t particularly good at handling the connecting tissue or nuances. When it works, it’s easily one of the best Halloween sequels we’ve seen. The plot twists are bold (if entirely predictable once you’re watching) and they go in some interesting directions. Once the horror ramps up, the kills come in full force. And perhaps most importantly, the climactic battle is exactly what it needs to be considering the way this has been built up.

When the H40 trilogy first came to light, it was described as a way to finally give Michael Myers and Laurie Strode the climax and farewell that they deserved – or at least, Jamie Lee Curtis’ farewell to Laurie. One of the things that has most gotten under fans’ skins are how the films – the last one in particular – seemed to be less about Laurie and Michael and more about how Michael’s actions have resonated on the world around him.

Ends doesn’t back off the latter theme, and as with the last two films its less successful in exploring that. But it also does find pushes a lot of the noise away so we can get back to Laurie (and her family) dealing with The Shape once and for all. While “once and for all” will obviously only last until Universal goes back to the well with another reboot, this does give Curtis her final bow and in that at least, it sticks the bloody landing.

6.5
The final score: review Average
The 411
While Halloween Ends isn't going to turn anyone around on David Gordon Green's Halloween trilogy, it's at least an improvement in many areas from the "Evil Dies Tonight!" assault on the senses that was Halloween Kills. Jamie Lee Curtis gives one of her best performances as Laurie Strode and Green makes some bold choices to finish off the story arc the trilogy set out to tell. They don't all work, but the script's problems are somewhat smoothed over by the cast including Andi Matichak and Rohan Campbell. The slasher elements are very good once they come into play as well. Make no mistake -- this is a film that won't work for everyone, but it also puts a final, mostly satisfying cap on this iteration of Halloween.
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