The most recent trilogy of Halloween movies concludes with the somewhat different take of Halloween Ends. This latest Halloween series gets points for trying something slightly different in each installment, while also providing the requisite Michael Myers slashing and awesome theme music. 2018’s Halloween was the best of the three as a revenge movie plus Michael Myers. 2021’s Halloween Kills tried hard to upend expectations. There was lots of Myers slashing but most of the movie was about a dopey mob and Laurie Strode spent the entire flick hospitalized. Halloween Ends further subverts expectations in some areas while delivering others. A lot of this movie centres around a new character which makes it dicey if one finds the new character annoying. But this does, eventually, have an ending for Halloween. On the basic promise of the title, it delivers.
Four years after Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) went on yet another rampage in the sleepy town of Haddonfield, everyone is unsettled. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has moved into town and become a member of the community along with her granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak). Trying to move on from her parents’ death, Allyson has started a new job and is dating Corey (Rohan Campbell). Corey has not had the best luck as he was involved in the accidental death of a kid he was babysitting so Corey is now the town pariah. Even more disturbing, Corey ends up in the sewers of Haddonfield and finds Michael Myers, broken and weakened but still willing to get his kill on. While Allyson gets closer to Corey he shows darkness that unsettles Laurie, seeing a reflection of Myers in Corey’s eyes (metaphorically speaking). And, disturbingly, Corey is getting closer to the sewer dwelling Myers and inspiring the killer to get his groove back.
Most of the film is devoted to Corey and his quest for redemption, his relationship with Allyson and discovering Michael Myers. The movie opens with Corey’s tragic babysitting misadventure that ends with a messy shocker. It seems like the story is making Corey the new Michael Myers until the real deal does return, slower and less lethal. It makes sense as the incredible amount of damage that was inflicted upon Myers at the climax of Kills by the angry mob should have a lasting impact. He’s not in peak killing shape as the first time Myers shows up the usually lethal Myers isn’t strong enough to strangle Corey. When Corey brings Myers a fresh victim, in one of the truly chilling and weird moments of James Jude Courtney’s performance, Myers shudders when he stabs his victim seemingly becoming stronger after getting a kill. Murdering to Myers is what spinach is to Popeye. His body count isn’t as high as the last few movies, especially in Kills where he basically took an entire mob single-handedly, but the few stalk and chase scenes Myers has work well. And there’s some great camera work where he’s often unmasked but obscured and out of focus which adds more to Michael’s unknowable menace.
Corey’s descent into darkness is a slow burn. He made a mistake in a moment of anger and has been paying for it for years. It was also established in Kills that Myers is infecting the town with a pervasive evil turning normal folk into mad killers. Corey’s turn from misunderstood outcast to genuinely crazy guy who idolizes Myers is dark. Although it can be a bit disappointing if one buys a ticket for a Halloween movie and most of it is devoted to a character study about Corey going batty. Campbell shows the different sides of Corey and his actions in the third act are super-twisted. Unfortunately, the amount of time devoted to the romantic relationship between Corey and Allyson isn’t as interesting as the movie thinks it is. Matichak as Allyson makes a good point to her grandmother that Laurie is obsessed with death and is dragging everyone else down in her grief.
Curtis’ Laurie isn’t as ticked off as she has been in the last two movies as she is writing her memoirs to put Myers’ chaos behind her. One of her better moments is when she confronts Corey about his growing darkness as Laurie leans on a rocking chair to make her point. Three movies into this series and they don’t say Laurie is Michael’s sister as the previous films in the Halloween series did and it works just fine. But without the sister angle, it just seems that she keeps running into Myers mostly out of bad luck instead of twisted Myers logic. By the end there is a definitive final showdown between Laurie and Michael Myers and it isn’t exactly long but it is effective. Like in Kills, they spend most of the movie separated which isn’t really satisfying. They don’t meet up until the Corey and Myers plot crashes into Laurie’s plot. But when Myers and Laurie finally face off, it gets crushingly brutal and messy.
Halloween Ends puts a distinct capper on this latest Halloween trilogy. This recent series has done a decent job of both delivering and upending expectations for what is in a Halloween film. Ends may be uneven, and Myers is annoyingly MIA most of the time, but it does provide required Halloween slasher splatter.
Director: David Gordon Green
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, Rohan Campbell, Will Patton, Kyle Richards and James Jude Courtney