Is Halloween Ends a return to form or does the film continue the downward spiral that began with Kills? It is both. There, I said it.
Once again, David Gordon Green and Danny McBride subvert the tropes this iconic series founded, attempting to pull the franchise in a different direction. But much like Halloween Kills, Ends feels like a (not a Halloween) movie, within a Halloween movie. In the eyes of fans, this may not make a suitable send off for the grand master of slasher monsters. For the uninitiated, Halloween Ends is likely a pretty good time.
Jamie Lee Curtis and Andi Matichak return to reprise their characters of Laurie and Allyson, knocking it out of the park with each interaction and engagement. It is four years later and they’re supporting each other through their shared but healing trauma. Laurie, attempting to live a normal life, is coming to terms with her trauma by writing a memoir of her experience. Allyson and Laurie’s day to day makes up the first half of the film, a risky choice, but this lends the audience a healthy dose of empathy toward the characters before they’re put through the ringer again.
Rohan Campbell joins the cast as Corey, a downtrodden Haddonfield outcast and quick romantic interest for Allyson. Corey’s story and the blossoming, if damaged, romance with Allyson takes centre stage for much of the run-time. While Campbell’s performance as Corey pushes all the right buttons, this pushes Michael Myers to the sidelines. So, if you’re reaching for the Halloween tin expecting that classic Michael Myers flavour, you’re going to be disappointed.
That’s not to say the looming shape of Michael Myers isn’t present. Halloween Kills dealt with shared trauma, mass hysteria, and the horror of mob rule. Halloween Ends deals with myth and legend. Haddonfield loves to remind everyone, constantly, of their legendary boogeyman. In the four-year absence of Myers, Haddonfield found other monsters to dwell on. This sets the stage for an underlying point Halloween Ends is attempting to make – Halloween never truly ends. Anybody can be a Michael Myers.
The pace, direction and cinematography of Halloween Ends is excellent, potentially the best of the current trilogy. The violence and gore is impactful and plenty. If that ticks a box for you, you’ll still have a good time regardless of other flaws with the film. The final throw down between Michael and Laurie while rushed, is satisfying. As is Michael’s final, spectacularly savage departure.
It can be argued that this trilogy should have ended with 2018’s Halloween and not been a trilogy at all. Halloween 2018 is a strong slasher film, Kills and Ends may have outstayed their welcome, just for trying to be different. Like 1982’s Halloween III Season of the Witch, being different is a serious no-no in the Halloween franchise.
With Halloween Ends one thing has been made clear, it never actually ends. After a hiatus, when the time is right, the shape will return to stalk the night with a fresh face under the iconic Shatner mask. You can bet on it.
Halloween Ends rates seven and a half out of ten scream queens.