A film full of good ideas with bad execution.
*This review contains spoilers.*
I have very mixed feelings about the new Halloween trilogy. I actually really liked the 2018 movie; I thought it did a great job modernizing the franchise and had a lot of interesting concepts that worked well. Halloween Kills was very bad – didn’t feel like anything more than a filler episode full of cool kills and lame payoffs. In comes Halloween Ends, which is fitting end to the trilogy as I am very mixed on it.
If you’ve seen the advertising of the movie, you’d probably go into this movie thinking this is the epic showdown between Laurie Strode and Michael Myers. That’s not what this movie is, at least for the first two acts. This movie is really more of a love story and a serial killer origin story for a new character named Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell), which was definitely jarring. The majority of the movie focuses on this random new character forming a relationship with Laurie Strode’s granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak). Michael Myers is almost entirely sidelined until the end, a decision that I think could work if they actually committed, but instead he comes back in the third act as if he’s been there the whole time. And the idea probably would’ve worked more if it wasn’t the end of the trilogy.
The script is kinda weak; the dialogue is very silly. It’s a perfect example of a movie trying too hard to make everyone sound like human beings and the result being fairly laughable. The actual serial killer, Joker-esque origin story stuff just…feels rushed. Sure, bad stuff happens to the lead, but not enough for him to become a vicious serial killer. And that rushed writing is especially clear when it comes to how Corey and Michael Myers’ stories come together. It’s not a bad idea, but it was executed in a way that felt baffling when the main idea came to fruition.
That’s basically the best way I can describe Halloween Ends: a film full of good ideas with bad execution. I do see what director and co-writer David Gordon Green was trying to do here, and in a way, it does make sense with how the trilogy has been trying to mythologize Michael Myers, however it’s mainly inconsistent. In Halloween (2018), Michael Myers is described as this urban legend in Haddonfield, and then in Halloween Kills, they just go all “MICHAEL MYERS IS AN UNKILLABLE MANIFESTATION OF PURE EVIL AND HAS BEEN TERRORIZING THIS TOWN FOR 40 YEARS!”
In that sense, Halloween Ends does feel like the movie that David Gordon Green and Danny McBride wanted to make, as the mythology around Myers in the town has been toned down and feels more in-line with the results of the events in the previous films. This film takes place four years after the events of the previous films, and while the town has mainly moved on, the idea of Myer’s evil still haunts the town. That’s mainly shown through Corey’s descent to that evil, but it’s not addressed enough in a way that justifies this being the main point for the end of the trilogy.
When we finally do get to the Laurie versus Michael stuff, it’s actually amazing. It is intense and brutal and credit where credit is due, it does end satisfyingly. The problem is, when it finally gets there, it feel tacked on. It doesn’t belong in this movie as it has next to nothing to do with the previous hour and half. As a conclusion to the trilogy, it feels perfect. As a conclusion to this movie, it feels like a completely different movie. If this wasn’t a Halloween movie, I would be so beyond confused as to why Jamie Lee Curtis was suddenly fighting a masked serial killer who had ten minutes of screen time throughout the film.
The way Laurie Strode is portrayed here feels very off. For the majority of the movie, Laurie feels like a bumbling grandma instead of the trauma-ridden badass that was set up in the previous two movies. Remember, when we first meet Laurie, this is four years after Michael Myers killed her daughter and is now hidden somewhere in Haddonfield. If anything, her guard should be up higher than ever, but she’s more focused on mothering Allyson, who in this film is sadly not utilized enough beyond being Corey’s love interest. The contributions Laurie has to the main story line don’t feel natural and feel tacked on as more of a device to contribute to the themes of the movie. And when she does go full badass mode in the end, it feels like a different character than we’ve seen the whole movie. Jamie Lee Curtis does pull it all off and is the one reason you buy everything she does, but she had a whole lot of heavy-lifting to do.
I do respect the swings this movie took though. Not all of them panned out, but it had the balls to take them so I can’t completely knock the film. This movie does have a much smaller kill count then Halloween Kills and doesn’t completely rely on hyper gore and creativity to make the scene intense. It’s worth mentioning that John Carpenter’s score gets better with each film. I also like how David Gordon Green plays with the audiences expectations of this trilogy and the franchise as a whole to pull the rug out from under you. The first scene of this film is designed to make you believe that at any moment, Michael’s going to come out and slaughter everyone in the house, and it never comes. That toying with what we think we know is eerily present throughout the whole film, especially in how they address the potential supernatural possibilities within Michael Meyers. When it comes to the scares and intense elements within the film, that works to the film’s advantage and the results are very entertaining. It’s when it comes to our main story where toying with our expectations will likely and understandably disappoint fans of the franchise who came for the epic showdown that was set up and advertised.
I can’t deny that there is stuff to admire about Halloween Ends. It’s ambitious and does (eventually) offer up a satisfying close to David Gordon Green’s trilogy. However, the idea of introducing a new character as a surrogate for the themes of the film, and to an extent the trilogy, feels a bit bizarre and too late to do at the final stage of the trilogy. A lot of what was introduced had potential, but is unfortunately trapped within a weak script. There’s going to be varied opinions on this movie, but I found the film to be watchable, if not misguided.
Should be Considered: Original Score
Where to Watch: In Theaters, Peacock
Critic and journalist student from Toronto, Canada
Favorite Actor: Brendan Fraser
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