[review by JA Kerswell]
HALLOWEEN ENDS is the best movie of the David Gordon Green modern trilogy, but it is also the least HALLOWEEN-like movie of said trilogy. A contradiction? Not really. HALLOWEEN ENDS deals with interesting themes of trauma bonding, collective grief and evil as an infection. However, even though these themes are undeniably arresting, it doesn't make for a particularly fun experience. This isn't a Halloween haunted house rollercoaster. This is very much not a popcorn movie, but rather autumnal melancholy transferred to celluloid. It's all a bit of a bummer to be honest. I was even hoping Busta Rhymes would turn up and bust some kung-fu moves to at least leaven the gloom.
|Laurie Strode will finally have her reckoning with Michael Myers - in just under 2 hours time ...|
It is four years since the events in Haddonfield on Halloween Night 2018. Despite the disappearance of Michael Myers, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has tried to move on even attempting to style herself as something of a Martha Stewart. She has bought a new house in the centre of the town, where she bakes (badly) and shares her home with her surviving granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak). However, despite attempts to refocus her life, Laurie is constantly reminded about the still looming figure of Myers as some of the townsfolk continue to blame her for invoking the shape fours years earlier. Laurie takes pity on a young man, Corey (Rohan Campbell), after she stops him being bullied by four local high school kids. Corey had accidentally killed the boy he was babysitting on Halloween Night three years previously and he and Laurie bond over the fact that some of the residents of Haddonfield still treat them as pariahs. Laurie takes such a shine to Corey that she introduces him to Allyson and the youngsters quickly start dating.
However, despite this budding romance, Corey privately finds his attempts to get past the accident constantly thwarted. He tries to avoid confrontation and fails and eventually starts to fight back. After a near fatal confrontation with his bullies, where he falls from a bridge, Corey is dragged into the local sewers by a very much not dead Michael Myers. Myers doesn't kill the young man; yet sees some kind of kinship with him and lets him go. Corey subsequently kills a homeless man who lives near the sewers and seemingly gets a taste for blood and revenge
HALLOWEEN ENDS could have also been called HALLOWEEN: THE APPRENTICE OF MICHAEL MYERS. Where Green inexplicably sidelined the Laurie Strode character in the previous instalment HALLOWEEN KILLS (2021), it is the turn of Michael Myers to be sidelined in this movie. A near fatal mistake. Surely Laurie and Michael should be the planets orbiting each other throughout this conclusive chapter. A psychic link and a passing of the poisoned chalice/butcher knife is hinted at between Corey and Myers (something teased but not carried through at the end of HALLOWEEN IV: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS (1998)). There was much chatter that this film would deal with COVID themes, but I can only assume they mean that Myers somehow infected Corey with his evil. Ludicrously, Allyson and Corey's romance continues during the start of his killing spree! Keeping Myers as the archetypical monster lurking under a bridge (or in this case the sewers) for most its running time is an odd choice for a movie that promises the end of the Laurie/Myers saga once and for all. The fact that Laurie only comes into Michael's orbit again is because the man her granddaughter is dating randomly ends up at his lair is almost one contrivance too far.
|HALLOWEEN ENDS concentrates on new character Corey (Rohan Campbell). An unconventional choice by director David Gordon Green.|
The film is the polar opposite of the often incoherent, ADHD sugar rush of HALLOWEEN KILLS. Somewhat perversely, Green saves this downbeat, thoughtful mood piece for the conclusion when it would have almost certainly been a better tone for the middle of a trilogy. Green seems to take delight in subverting audience expectations. But there is something to be said for giving an audience what it wants. Especially in a movie that supposedly closes a long-running franchise. However, for much of its running time, I was engrossed by HALLOWEEN ENDS. The trouble is, the tale of the corruption of Corey belongs in another movie perhaps a spin-off. As I said, it might arguably be the best film in the trilogy just not the best HALLOWEEN film.
On the plus side, Jamie Lee Curtis gives a great performance as Laurie Strode. Although her transformation into a would-be happy-go-lucky Halloween-loving woman is not convincing given the circumstances especially as Myers was never caught. Would her character really embrace all the trappings of Halloween Night given what she had been through twice!? And did the police really never search the sewers after the most infamous mass murderer of modern times went missing? Still, it is a nuanced turn in the role she'll be best remembered for. Sadly, the character of Allysons' change from well-adjusted survivor to co-dependent lovesick teenager isn't especially convincing. And, nice as it was to see Kyle Richards return as Lindsey Wallace she is hardly given much to do at all.
|It ends. And if you believe that I have a bridge for sale you might be interested in...|
HALLOWEEN ENDS of course closes with a showdown between Laurie and Michael, but it sure did take a long near 2 hour running time to get there. Whilst I appreciated the look of the film and some good acting, Green once again fails to grasp what made the original HALLOWEEN (1978) so special especially the enigma of Michael Myers. Once again there are no chase scenes. No slow walking boogeyman. No dissolving into the shadows. When Myers does appear and start his dastardly work it's almost just that workmanlike. Again, the film and this trilogy in general has confusion as to what Michael Myers actually is. Laurie ultimately dismisses him as mere flesh and blood, yet he has survived ten times what any mere mortal could. The film even flirts with the supernatural by blatantly suggesting that Myers possessed Corey. To top it off, despite some creepy touches, the film isn't really that scary. And worse, it doesn't even seem to be trying. I did appreciate the flashbacks to the original 1978 film, but perversely it further highlighted what this trilogy has been missing: the lethal simplicity and deftness of its scares. Yet I can't completely dismiss HALLOWEEN ENDS. For me it's an interesting failure, but not the film many of us hoped for.
Ultimately, HALLOWEEN ENDS does its very best to suggest that this really is the end of Michael Myers. As for whether it is really the end? I'll call it now: Black cats and goblins and broomsticks and ghosts / Covens of witches with all of their hosts / You may think they scare me / Youre probably right / Blood, guts, and goblins / On Halloween night / Trick or treat! Would you believe HALLOWEEN: THE GHOST OF MICHAEL MYERS?
female: 5 / male: 10