In Review: 'Halloween Ends'
The overlong, uninspired conclusion to David Gordon Green's 'Halloween' revival ends the trilogy with a shrug.
Dir. David Gordon Green
The three Halloween films directed by David Gordon Green have been loaded with Easter eggs referring back to the first films in the series and that tradition continues with this third entry, although not in the ways you might expect (and not all the way through to the end). Green’s previous film, Halloween Kills, paid homage to 1983’s Halloween III: Season of the Witch via some familiar-looking Halloween masks, but Halloween Ends, at least for awhile, appears to be paying tribute to that film’s spirit, which swerved away from Michael Myers and slashery for a different sort of story. Halloween Ends opens in the familiar, cursed surroundings of Haddonfield, Illinois but focuses on a Myers-adjacent story in which Corey (Rohan Campbell), a Haddonfield teen with a promising future ahead of him, makes the mistake of agreeing to babysit a bratty kid on Halloween night in 2019. The evening ends in disaster, leaving Corey a Haddonfield pariah as the film flashes forward to the present.
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Elsewhere, repeat Michael Myers survivor Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) seems to be doing quite well. She’s writing a book about her experiences, lives in a cute house with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), has a kicky new haircut, and has even started flirting with Deputy Frank Hawkins (Will Patton). After watching some mean local teens bully Corey, she takes an interest in him and pushes him in Allyson’s direction, leading to an attraction with fatal consequences.
And where’s Michael Myers in all this? That falls into spoiler territory, but Halloween Ends’ willingness to confine him to the margins for as long as it does is one of several novel ideas that wind up being more interesting in theory than in execution. The film — co-scripted by Green, Danny McBride, Chris Bernier, and Paul Brad Logan — is interested in exploring the nature of evil and how it spreads, but the theme never takes root. That’s not for a lack of space. Much of the film is devoted to watching Corey dip into the dark side, but the film has such a bizarre conception of human psychology that any connection to actual behavior is remote at best. (He mostly appears to be in a trance.)
In the end, all the Corey business proves to be preamble anyway, less the notable departure it seems at first than a way to kill time before getting to the inevitable Laurie/Michael showdown Green’s trilogy has been promising from the start. The big scene, and the kills leading up to it, are executed with the same flair and technical polish as Halloween Ends’ two immediate predecessors, which might be all that’s left to do with these characters, this setting, and that famous mask. Maybe that’s enough, but it’s hard not to wish for more. —Keith Phipps
Halloween Ends is now playing in theaters everywhere.
I have a ticket for this tomorrow purely out of Jamie Lee loyalty and fully expect to be disappointed. It kind of stuns me that I left the 2018 entry thinking they'd nailed so much and only blown it in isolated areas, but figured they were enough on track to stick a landing. After KILLS and this I've never felt more like a sucker.
Looking forward to HALLOWEEN DESERVES BETTER