Movie Review: “Halloween Ends”

 The Halloween franchise comes to an end – at least until an inevitable remake, that is. However, for all intents and purposes, Halloween Ends does mark the end of an era. This will be the last time Laurie Strode (as in, Jamie Lee Curtis) goes toe to toe with Michael Myers (assuming they don’t one day try their hand at a Halloween H60).

   This is it! This is the showdown of showdowns, Laurie and Michael, the ultimate final girl against the most iconic slasher villain to ever don a mask! Where is Michael Buffer when you need him?

   The story of Halloween has not been the most coherent, I will admit to you. I don’t need to do a rundown of all the different continuities that exist, or mention Silver Shamrock or The Cult of Thorn, as I believe most of you are already at least vaguely aware of it. The Halloween series is a “Choose Your Own Adventure” series, honest and truly, but it really did seem like David Gordon Green’s new Trilogy intended to offer a congruent, consistent new cannon for newcomers and horror enthusiasts to embrace as our truest beginning, middle, and end.

   For better or worse, this is not what happened. As many of you have, perhaps, read, the new Halloween Ends has had a lot of criticisms levied against it – particularly, that it does not at all feel like what it was marketed as. It’s a sentiment that Halloween (2018), Halloween Kills, and Halloween Ends do not create a cohesive series that stack upon one another for a straightforward, singular vision. This is because Halloween Ends isn’t really that much about Laurie Strode and Michael Myers’ last bout. They do have a showdown, but it isn’t Halloween Ends’ primary concern.

   Instead, Halloween Ends is set a few years after the turmoil of Halloween Kills, and sees everyone, including Laurie and her granddaughter Allyson, trying to heal from all that Michael Myers has inflicted. Laurie has even covered some new ground. In spite Michael Myers’ body never being found, Laurie has made a home for herself. It’s a real home too – no longer reclusive or filled to the brim with enough traps to make Jigsaw blush. Good for her! However, the town hasn’t fully recovered. This is shown through the character Corey Cunningham, arguably the single-most significant character of the whole film.

   While babysitting, a small child plays a prank on Corey that results in him kicking a door open and, tragically, sending said child over a staircase railing, resulting in his death. Since then, although Corey has been exonerated of any criminal wrongdoings, the court of public opinion has taken its toll, resulting in Corey being ostracized and ridiculed by the citizens of Haddonfield.

   Without revealing too much from behind the curtain, Corey’s situation, Laurie and Allyson’s new attempts at healing, and a weak but very much alive Michael Myers intertwine to make what is the film Halloween Ends.

   Regarding complaints about David Gordon Green’s series and how it holds together, I would argue that they do, in fact, line up together. Whereas the 2018 film Halloween serves to remind Haddonfield of Michael Myers, of all he is capable of, and reestablishing his relationship with Laurie Strode, Halloween Kills serves as a reaction to him, of mass hysteria and panic. Halloween Ends plays off of both the reestablished relationship with Laurie Strode, her perception as a survivor of Michael Myers and her command to no longer be his victim, and highlights a cyclical nature to it all.

   I don’t believe it is a good Trilogy, mind you.

   As a Trilogy, Halloween Kills is arguably the most important film among them. Whereas the 2018 reboot felt like a continuation of the John Carpenter classic, Kills felt like it carried on the events of the reboot and went in a new direction, a direction that it continued with Halloween Ends – a direction that was far off the reservations of what the franchise had been perceived as. It so happens that Halloween Kills is somewhere toward the bottom barrel for me as far as the franchise is concerned (some of the best kills, my least favorite story / characterizations).

   On its own, Halloween Ends does not have the creative, blood-soaked mayhem of Halloween Kills, nor does it have the mere basic level of coherence that the far better reboot film had. What it does have, however, is the ability to make you tilt your head the same way Michael Myers does in confusion.

   This is a very weird film. And, although I do believe it does technically function as a serviceable end to David Gordon Green’s continuity, I don’t believe it feels like a payoff / final chapter for the Halloween franchise. Instead, it feels more like a Halloween 4 or Halloween: Resurrection, an outlier, incremental film in the series’ storied tapestries.

   Halloween Ends has the clear desire to do something new with the franchise and, for that, I offer a small nod in its favor, a tip of the hat that is enough to make it preferable to its earliest predecessor. It’s interesting and the repetitive, uninspired nature of the 2018 Halloween film was one of my biggest criticisms. I want new, fresh ideas and I want them to be done well. 2018’s Halloween didn’t have new, fresh ideas, but it was done well. This film has new, fresh ideas, but it was not done well. You see? I can see what they’re going for in most instances, but it always feels botched or too unrealized to make anything tangible out of it. It is always on the climb, but never reaches the summit. Likewise, too, the attempts at profoundness or saying something more, always feel shallower than they should.

   As it stands, the new Halloween trilogy started promisingly, but then, unfortunately, as it stands, went out with a little bit of a whimper. I liked this film more than Halloween Kills, I liked its boldness, but, likely, the thin notch of improvement is barely more than a rounding error. As a devout horror fan who has grown up with Michael Myers, I always show up for him. I did it for Freddy, I do it for Scream, Chucky, and Hellraiser, and I’ll do it for many others, but, personally, I think everything Halloween can do, everything it will be allowed to do by the studios involved, has been pretty well mined by now.

Rating: – 2.0 out of 5.0