For a sequel to come out just in time for the spooky yearly season, you couldn’t get me the least bit excited for Halloween Ends, the third and final chapter in director/ co-writer David Gordon Green’s continuation of the classic from John Carpenter. 2018’s Halloween was a return to form for a franchise that has seen better days, making for a surprise hit (Don’t trust a soul who doesn’t enjoy it). But with last year’s Halloween Kills (aka “Evil Dies Tonight: The Movie”), there’s no denying it delivered on the gruesome kills and disappointed almost everywhere else. Fans weren’t too pleased either, as it was one of the worst films of last year. Because of this, I didn’t even bother watching the second trailer; instead, I watched it on Peacock at home rather than spending $9 to sit in a cinema with a bothersome crowd.
It could make up for the last time with a satisfying enough conclusion horror fans have been waiting for, especially since it teased the long-awaited showdown between the iconic final girl Laurie Strode and the evil Michael Myers. But in this divisive world, some will enjoy it; others won’t. So for me, what do we get for a trilogy that started so strong? An unsatisfying mess.
Delving into the actual plot is tricky since the marketing doesn’t reveal a ton and I didn’t know the true premise this was following, but I’ll try my best. Following the events of Halloween night four years ago in Haddonfield, Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) is still dealing with the death of her daughter Karen but is moving on with her life. She’s writing her memoirs while staying in a new home with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), who’s now a nurse. The town mostly remained calm with the disappearance of Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney), but evil still lurks. One resident with the worst reputation is Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell, The Hardy Boys), who accidentally killed a kid he was babysitting a year later. He was cleared of all charges and became the town pariah ever since. Everybody makes fun of him until he meets Allyson.
As I said, Halloween Ends will be enjoyed by those who won’t mind the changes under Green’s direction and the co-writers (Danny McBride, Paul Brad Logan, and Chris Bernier) took with this installment and even they know it won’t please everybody. This is coming from someone who wasn’t aware of the plot and it’s still a mystery why they went that way. I wouldn’t mind changing up what we’ve already been used to, especially with the last two. When you look at all three together, this felt the most different in a way that didn’t act like a traditional Halloween movie at times. And if it was paying homage to one of the franchise’s polarizing sequels, that doesn’t cut me. Sure, it still has Michael, but I could help to think it was two movies meshed into one: A slasher and a coming-of-age drama. And what I mean is that the new character of Corey takes up most of the focus here, surprisingly.
Truthfully, the opening sequence before the title instantly hooked me to where it was taking me. However, after that, it was a rather rough experience to try enjoying it despite having this interesting theory about how fear is essentially contagious and how it can affect a community after being traumatized by the return of Michael, which the townsfolk blames Laurie for luring him back. That’s a thinking man’s horror film to take on. Nope, because some odd choices within the story didn’t sit well with me. The middle gets pretty dull when there aren’t many deaths happening and also has the worst dialogue being spoken by pretty mean-spirited people in this town, especially this group of marching band nerds as the Stephen King bullies who annoyed me. That sense of tension was nowhere to be found.
On a positive note, Jamie Lee Curtis hasn’t lost touch with her performance as Laurie Strode for the lost time. The best part is she had more to do in this than in the previous film since she wasn’t stuck in a hospital throughout Kills or even had a scene of confrontation with Michael. The score by John and Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies still create a mood for the creepy atmosphere even when a scene isn’t scary. And I still like Andi Matichak’s presence throughout the trilogy as Allyson. Luckily, she got more to do whether I liked her character development that’s a cheat from how we knew her before.
As a continuation of being a horror movie foremost, was it trying to be scary? This absolutely failed to scare me, and that’s not because I watched it in the morning. Kill-wise, besides one death involving a blowtorch that was kind of cool, the rest were a substantial step down that had no tension to them and they were pretty cliched for the horrible people you know will get their due. Worst of all, it’s a Halloween movie that sidelines the most crucial aspect: Michael Myers. Yeah, he’s barely in it, which makes little sense. They really pushed aside The Shape in favor of a new character too late to introduce now. He’s more of an afterthought when it’s over. And Rohan Campbell is acceptable in the first half, setting him up, but our attention on Corey dwindled when the desire to have sympathy for him goes straight out the window. Just the way his arc concluded was pointless. Any time it cuts to the romance between him and Allyson, it’s never believable when their chemistry was absent for a love lasting two days.
The last act delivers on the promise of having the climatic showdown between Laure and Michael we’ve been waiting for, and I hated how it had to take us near the end to get to the sequence with no build-up prior. That said, it was genuinely the most energetic moment to take away from this. The way it wrapped up, though, didn’t have me feeling it was the finale. It’s always sad when trilogies only have a good first movie followed by rushed sequels that can’t match its original’s success (Jurassic World, Taken, The Hangover, etc.). Halloween Ends made me question why the 2008 sequel could’ve been the only one since that matters the most. Is it better than Kills? They’re about the same, which makes me appreciate the first more and how I can’t understand those who didn’t. Apparently, the script was rewritten when this was initially meant to take place on one night. That idea sounded promising enough to make this a part of one of the better years for the genre. This ain’t it.
Halloween Ends opened with potential, but then turned into another frustrating sequel to cap off this trilogy. It was different to take some swings within the story, but with lackluster scares and limited screen time for Michael Myers, I couldn’t get with it and didn’t want to be one of my least favorites this year.
Halloween Ends is now playing in theaters and is streaming on Peacock Premium. Runtime: 111 Minutes. Rated R for bloody horror violence and gore, language throughout and some sexual references. Studios: Universal Pictures.
2 thoughts on “‘Halloween Ends’- Movie Review: Evil and This Trilogy Dies Tonight”
Good review. Definitely agree with you about this movie. Although, I was more disappointed with it than you were. The movie started out strong (much like this new trilogy), but it ends on a whimper. Such a shame!