The “Halloween” trilogy has come to an end with the last installment Halloween Ends (2022). And it doesn’t end the way you’d like. The first, simply titled “Halloween” (2018), effectively picked up the thread from John Carpenter’s 1978 classic, reintroducing Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) as a tough, armed, and well-prepared survivor.
The brutal sequel “Halloween Kills” (2021) ended with a clear promise of a violent climax between two of the most prominent figures in horror film history when Laurie says “I’m coming for you, Michael” and walks out of the picture with a large knife in his right hand.
Unfortunately, both Laurie and the masked killer Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) are, for incomprehensible reasons, relegated to supporting characters in this latest film.
When the inevitable confrontation first comes, it packs both a visual and emotional punch, but it’s still too little too late. “Halloween Ends” has its true-to-genre moments, but is, unfortunately, a bloodless ending to the horror saga.
Trying To Forget Michael Myers
You’d think the movie would pick up the thread right after the events of “Halloween Kills,” as it did with the first one. Instead, 4 years have suddenly passed, and Laurie’s narration explains that she has now chosen to live a normal life in an ordinary house in the fictional town of Haddonfield in Illinois.
This is a sharp left turn after everything the first two films in the trilogy have told us about her. Even more mysteriously, she isn’t the film’s protagonist at all.
Instead, the spotlight is on a completely new character, namely Corey (Rohan Campbell), who has had a hard time after a boy he babysat for suffered a tragic accident. Although he was never charged with anything, the film shows how the entire town is against him, except for Laurie’s granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), who has a soft spot for him.
However, the mental pressure Corey feels is in danger of leading him into Michael Myers’ footsteps. The near-immortal killer is still out there somewhere, while Laurie Strode is trying to forget him, which is jarring compared to how the previous film ended.
The Final Settlement
The first film in this trilogy played on our fascination with serial killers. The second depicted society’s aggressive prejudgment and self-righteousness, while the latter seems to explain the genesis of a violent man.
Surprisingly, director David Gordon Green has chosen to set aside the series’ two iconic characters in the introduction of a brand new one. However, Corey’s story becomes too simple and compressed to fully believe the serious turn it takes.
Also, it’s strange to deny “Halloween” fans an entire movie about what was supposed to be the final big showdown, 44 years after the beginning. Apart from a flashback montage, it’s about a full hour before you even get a glimpse of Michael, and then he no longer appears as the fearsome figure he was as late as in the previous film.
Laurie describes him as “just an old man with a Halloween mask”, an attempt at devaluation that seems hollow and false when you consider the character’s prominent presence in horror film history.
Never Gets Downright Bad
Laurie Strode is also completely different than at the start of the trilogy as if both David Gordon Green and Jamie Lee Curtis have changed their minds about who she is and what function she should have. After everything she’s been through and everything she’s lost, including her daughter in the previous movie, is she supposed to just give up and forget that Michael is still lurking around? I don’t buy it.
Perhaps reconciliation and forgiveness are the best strategies in real life, but the “Halloween” movies have always taken place in a stylized universe that has never been bothered by social realism.
I also note with some disappointment that the previous film’s brutality has been greatly toned down, among other things by the fact that several of the murders take place outside the picture, or are not shown at all. It may sound morbid, but bloody means have always been important in the slasher genre. Significantly, the film’s best brutality occurs when two of the characters watch John Carpenter’s sci-fi horror classic “The Thing”.
“Halloween Ends” disappoints on many fronts, but there are some mitigating circumstances. It is nicely produced with a stylish expression that matches the previous films, both in terms of photography (Michael Simmonds), sound (Rich Bologna), and music (composed by John Carpenter).
Therefore, the film is never outright bad, but I still can’t shake the feeling that David Gordon Green has messed up the opportunity to put a proper end to it.