In 2018, co-writer and director David Gordon Green gave us a new sequel to John Carpenter’s classic horror, Halloween. What made this film different from other sequels was that it dismissed everything that happened after the original and that this was going to finally close the book on Michael Myers. We all thought it ended in that movie, but then we were told there would be two more movies in the series. Last year we got Halloween Kills, which turned out to be inferior to the previous film, dropping some interesting ideas created for a movie about a mob turned into a monster. Now we finally get Halloween Ends, and we are promised this was definitely the end but is it a perfect way to see an icon of modern horror bow out? The simple answer is no.
It’s been four years since Michael Myers has been seen. Laurie Strode, the woman who has lived with the horrors of Hoddensfield for decades, now lives with her granddaughter, Allyson, and is writing her memoirs. Yet a year after the shape disappeared, a young man, Corey, was babysitting when a tragic accident occurred, leaving him traumatised and a victim of a town’s accusations. Laurie, sympathising with Correy, introduced him to Allyson, hoping they could become friends. Yet Corey’s past keeps haunting him, and when he is attacked and left for dead near a sewer pipe, the history of Hodensfield reemerges.
What worked so well with Green’s first film was that it was more about Laurie Strode coping with PTSD as it was a killing machine returning to its home town. The second film was about how this same monster managed to anger the city so much that he created his own monster as an angry mob, leaving Laurie mainly to languish in hospital for most of the movie. However, the start of this new film shows great promise. A short pre-credit sequence that manages to shock and surprise bodes well for the rest of the movie. Sadly, it doesn’t.
Green and his co-writers, including actor Danny McBride, decide to mess around with the formula, instead giving us moments more reminiscent of Stephen King than John Carpenter. We get a touch of Carrie along with a splattering of Christine. What really doesn’t work is the introduction of a new character. This should have been a film about Laurie and the shape. Yet Michael doesn’t actually appear until halfway through the film. Instead, the focus is more on Corey, this nice guy whose past has ruined his life and left him the victim of abuse and torment. That would be perfectly fine if this was a movie about Corey, but it’s called Halloween Ends, not Corey Begins.
The Halloween franchise has been with us for over 40 years, and it’s one of the few franchises where one of the victims is just as crucial as the killer. Yet, by moving the focus onto a new character, you are longing to see the outcome of that battle between good and evil. When it eventually comes, and that’s not a spoiler, because we have had to endure 90 minutes of a new story, it builds our anticipation to a boiling point that no matter what the outcome, it will be a disappointment. And that is precisely what happens.
So we get the familiar collection of vicious and violent deaths, all played out in full gory details. But, like the two previous films, we have moved away from the use of imagination used so effectively by Carpenter in the 70s; we need to see someone having their tongue cut off (yes, we get that). Horror filmmakers have forgotten the golden rule of good horror is to let the audience do the work. After two movies of blood-fest, the shocks are no longer shocking.
The cast does the best with the material. Rohan Campbell does an excellent job as Corey, watching the young man turn, but I would have liked to have seen this happen in another movie not called Halloween. Andi Matichak returns as Allyson and is given much more to do as she finds herself pulled between her grandmother and her new relationship while still coping with the events of the previous films. The star, Jamie Lee Curtis, who has lived with Laurie since the beginning, is still the best thing in this series, an older yet wiser woman whose troubles we have watched for years, and now she gets to let it all out. Curtis is just pure class; without her, this would have been a dull movie.
Halloween Ends promises so much yet fails to deliver. Apart from Curtis and the opening few minutes, this is as formulaic as they come. It also is frustrating and incredibly dull, and as a finale, it ends with a whimper more than a bang. And is it really the end? Is it really?
2 out of 5
Director: David Gordon Green
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, Rohan Campbell, James Jude Courtney, Will Patton, Kyle Richards, Jesse C. Boyd
Written by: David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, Paul Brad Logan, Chris Bernier (based on the characters created), John Carpenter and Debra Hill
Running Time: 111 mins
Release date: 14th October 2022