This is a spoiler-free review of Halloween Ends.
Halloween Ends is supposed to be the conclusion to decades of stories between Michael Myers and Laurie Strode. It’s billed as their final battle, and when it gets to that point, it really is. However, the story in between that is lacking. Overall, the movie is uneven. It has plenty of great moments and two great performances from Jamie Lee Curtis and Andi Matichak, but the story that was chosen for this film doesn’t feel fitting of a third act in a trilogy.
Too Many Cooks In The Kitchen
Halloween Ends has two distinct halves to it. One half that doesn’t feel very much like a Halloween film and then the second half where things pick up considerably. The movie was written by Danny McBride, David Gordon Green, Paul Brad Logan, and Chris Bernier. It feels like the screenplay was going for too many things at once and it results in an uneven tone throughout. Is it trying to be romantic? Is it trying to be a horror movie? Sometimes it’s hard to tell what the film and the writers want. Throughout the first act, there are “payoffs” hidden, but it feels like the writers heard their scriptwriting professor say “PAY EVERYTHING OFF” and they did. It feels hamfisted.
Without spoiling anything that you haven’t seen in trailers, the story follows Laurie, Allyson, and a new character, Corey Cunningham (played by Rohan Campbell). Corey, like Laurie and Allyson, is a pariah among the residents of Haddonfield. They hate Laurie because they think she provoked Michael all those years ago, and Corey is for an accident that happened on Halloween. It’s an interesting choice to bring what amounts to a main character into the series in the finale.
That choice is what sinks Halloween Ends for the first half. A good portion of the first half of the film is devoted to Allyson and Corey’s relationship and Laurie takes a backseat. The story on display has moments where it could shine and break through, but it never gets off the ground. Michael Myers gets looped in through Corey stumbling upon his hiding place in a sewer. So at the center of it all, is not Laurie, it’s not Michael, it’s Corey.
There’s Still A Lot Of Good In Halloween Ends
Jamie Lee Curtis and Andi Matichak work really well with the material they’re given here. Matichak in particular could have gone over the top with her performance but remains more subdued despite all the horrific things happening around her. Jamie Lee Curtis is the lifeblood of the film. When she’s on screen, the movie rolls along. She’s badass, sympathetic, relatable, and shines in the face of the ultimate evil, Michael Myers. Also, James Jude Courtney‘s performance as The Shape can’t be forgotten. Through the years, he’s been one of the best Michael Myers in history. He gets the right amount of Frankenstein’s monster, agile killer, and almost child-like demeanor with Michael.
Speaking of Michael, the movie really gets rolling when he gets involved. Sadly, that’s not until basically the latter half of the film. It picks up in pace and the kills start flowing. This trilogy of Halloween movies is known for its violence and gore, and this movie gives that in spades. There are some truly awesome kills in this movie and fans of Michael being as brutal as possible will be happy.
In that second half of the movie, the set pieces like one involving a junkyard and the final confrontation between Laurie and Michael are all amazing. They feel very much like a Halloween movie should, especially the conclusion to this arc for Laurie Strode.
Missed Opportunities Abound
This movie really is the tale of two halves. The first half has a lot of ideas and it tries some big swings, which I can commend. They didn’t just go for the traditional finale narrative, but what they ended up on, feels more like a second film, besides the ending. The story with Corey is ripe with possibilities. He’s a pariah among the residents of Haddonfield, Michael is a pariah, and Laurie/The Strode family are pariahs as well. They’re similar in plenty of ways, but the script never goes deeper than that. Instead, we get some surface-level “supernatural” stuff that doesn’t even get a good explanation in the film.
It’s there, and the characters kind of notice it, but it’s not explained to the audience very well. How are Michael and Corey linked? Is there any supernatural element? It worked at the end of Halloween Kills to explain how Michael came back to life to go on a rampage again because we were left wondering how it worked going into this film. But here, it’s not acted upon or explained well.
At the end of the day, there isn’t enough Michael Myers in this movie. There are some horror movies that thrive on not showing their villain very much, but Halloween isn’t one of those, outside of the first movie. You need Michael Myers, the film is billed as Halloween Ends. Give us more Michael Myers than what we got in this film. Because of that, Halloween Ends isn’t actually all that scary. The previous two films had plenty of scares, tense moments, and were well-paced. Without Michael in a good portion of it, the film ends up being less than thrilling.
Halloween Ends is not a bad film, it’s not nearly as bad as some of the films that have come before it in the series. The second half of the film is a triumphant end for the Laurie Strode saga we’ve been on for 40+ years. It takes some big swings that could have been more satisfying if they went fully into them. Instead, we get some half-baked ideas that cause an uneven tone and pace for the first half of the film.
It’s the second half that saves the film and gives us a satisfying conclusion for Laurie Strode and Michael Myers. Halloween Ends ends up being an uneven movie that tries to do too much at once with a story that wasn’t really fitting for the end of a trilogy.
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