Halloween Ends review

Director: David Gordon Green
Cast : Jamie Lee Curtis, James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle, Andi Matichak, Rohan Campbell, Will Patton, Kyle Richards, Michele Dawson, Michael O’Leary, Keraun Harris
Genre: Horror
Run Time : 111 min
Opens : 13 October 2022
Rating : M18

After this, it’s over – so say the producers of Halloween Ends. Cross their heart and hope to die. There are bound to be more Halloween movies in some shape or fashion, but this movie is meant to be a definitive end to the decades-spanning story of Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle). For real, this time.

It is four years after the events of Halloween Kills. Michael Myers went on a rampage through the town of Haddonfield, Illinois, and then vanished. In the time since the last Michael Myers incident, a collective paranoia has continued to build. Laurie is writing her memoirs, ready to put everything behind her and finally find closure. She is living with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), who works at Haddonfield Memorial Hospital as a nurse. Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell) is a young man who works for his father at an automobile scrapyard. He was linked to a tragic incident, but after having his name cleared, he continues to be picked on and met with suspicion by various Haddonfield residents. After Laurie introduces Corey to Allyson, the two begin a relationship, but darkness lurks around the corner as Michael resurfaces, leading up to the fabled final confrontation between Laurie and her tormentor.

After spending most of Halloween Kills lying in a hospital bed, Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode is back with a vengeance in Halloween Ends, and Curtis has an abiding affection for the character and still cares a great deal about Laurie, a role she first played in 1978 and which marked the beginning of her film career (she had TV roles before Halloween). The interactions between Laurie and her granddaughter are mostly affectionate but also tinged with tension, and Andi Matichak gets many chances to shine. There are several tense moments brutal kills, including one cartoonishly gruesome murder that gore-hounds will dig. However, Halloween Ends does very much want to be a character piece – albeit not quite in the way one might expect. It is also nice to see Kyle Richards and Will Patton return, even if their characters are not especially instrumental to the plot.

There doesn’t seem to be quite as much excitement surrounding Halloween Ends as one would expect, especially compared to the hype leading up to the 2018 Halloween film. It is likely that the lacklustre Halloween Kills dulled that interest, such that what should be a hotly anticipated clash of titans is instead met with a shrug. Perhaps a key factor is that Michael Myers’ ludicrous nigh-imperviousness, especially without a supernatural explanation as in earlier instalments of the franchise, borders on the laughable. If a man can survive what would have killed a regular person 50 times over, the stakes feel oddly diminished. Michael Myers is Superman – it’s always been that way, but the 2018 film was pitched as being a grounded back-to-basics approach, but especially after surviving the ending of that film and all of Halloween Kills, the prospect of Michael Myers actually, finally dying just doesn’t have the kick that it should.

The promotional materials lean heavily on the inevitable final confrontation between Laurie and Michael, but when it does come, it can’t help but feel anticlimactic. Weirdly enough, the movie doesn’t seem primarily interested in Laurie and Michael Myers – we won’t say the exact figure, but it takes a surprising amount of time before Michael Myers shows up proper, excluding archival footage from previous films. Perhaps this is a bit refreshing considering how repetitive slasher movies can be in general, but it can also feel like long-time fans have been sold a somewhat misleading bill of goods.

The character who gets the most attention is a new one: Corey Cunningham, played by Rohan Campbell, who is probably best known for playing Frank Hardy in the 2020 Hardy Boys TV series. The Corey character is compelling, equal parts sympathetic and suspicious, and Campbell does a fine job with the character. However, the relationship between Corey and Allyson feels rushed, and the crucial role he plays in a movie that should ostensibly focus squarely on Laurie is a bit puzzling. There is an attempt to link Corey’s plot to what has been set up in the previous two movies, but it is only fitfully successful.

Summary: Halloween Ends is being sold on the long-awaited final confrontation between Laurie Strode and Michael Myers. It is good to see Jamie Lee Curtis back in fighting form, after the Laurie character spent most of the previous movie down for the count, but Halloween Ends doesn’t seem particularly interested in either Laurie or Michael Myers. Instead, new character Corey Cunningham, played by Rohan Campbell, gets a disproportionate amount of focus. There are engaging character beats and several gruesome kills, but as the finale to a trilogy that began with much promise as a whole-hearted throwback to the original 1978 movie, Halloween Ends is far from wholly satisfying.

RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars

Jedd Jong

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