Halloween Ends (Review)

⭐⭐⭐ (Good)

Director: David Gordon Green
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, Rohan Campbell, Will Patton, Kyle Richards, James Jude Courtney
Certificate: 18
Run Time: 111 mins

Halloween Ends is the final film in the new trilogy directed by David Gordon Green and set after the events of John Carpenter’s original 1978 film. The series had previously experienced a rather rough life until Green’s innovative 2018 sequel that decided to ignore all that had come before and pick the story up forty years after the original. 

It was brilliant – both Green and comedian Danny McBride, who collaborated to pen the script, demonstrated a clear understanding of the elements that made Halloween (1978) work. Unfortunately, despite Green and McBride saying it was the plan all along, shortly after the success of Halloween (2018), it was announced they would bring two more films to form a trilogy. 

Halloween Kills, the first sequel, was a retrograde abomination, undoing most of the good work of its predecessor. The story, characters and script were all laughable and the film suffers badly from middle film syndrome. Naturally, expectations were rather low for this trilogy capper. 

Halloween Ends is set three years after the events of Michael Myers’ last killing spree in Halloween Kills, who has since vanished. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is living with her granddaughter, Alysson (Andi Matichak) while writing a memoir of her experiences. 

Green introduces a new character, Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell), who is accused of murdering a boy he was babysitting, before being exonerated. As Corey reintegrates himself into society, he enters into a relationship with Alysson while being a victim of bullying. A chain of events culminates in the inevitable return of Myers, with expectedly grisly results. 

Halloween Ends is an interesting finale to the trilogy and is to be admired for trying to do something different. It has a promising first 45 minutes or so, in particular a chilling opening where Green introduces Corey and the fateful babysitting venture. He also deftly explores Corey’s pariah status, following his exoneration and introduces some thought-provoking themes such as how perpetuators of crime can come from mundane beginnings. 

That said, other elements such as Laurie’s newfound peace are delivered heavy-handedly and cliched. The multiple attempts at romantic encounters are also cringeworthy. 

Unfortunately, you can’t have a Halloween film without Michael Myers and the way in which he is integrated into the plot 45 minutes in is rather befuddling and the result is a decidedly mixed bag. 

The bloody violence staple to the slasher horror genre is for the most part, more muted and infrequent this time around. Despite Halloween Kills’ disaster status, it was certainly more mean-spirited than other films in the series in its gore and horror. That said, there is one kill involving a DJ that will surely go down as one of the best kills of the series. 

Green offers a more measured quality to his direction this time around over Halloween Kills, although returning cinematographer Michael Simmonds’ work isn’t as creative as his previous two efforts. The score is once again by John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies and as you would expect, the trio conjure some memorable themes. 

Although Halloween Ends chooses to conclude the series in a decidedly different direction to what one would expect, it’s undoubtedly a significant step-up from Halloween Kills. I’d much rather see a filmmaker take a bold risk than stick to convention and despite the fact the result is a mixed bag, it’s a memorable way to end the series. However, both Green and McBride would surely have been better off walking away after the success of Halloween (2018) and leaving the series on a high note. 

⭐⭐⭐ (Good)

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