The Halloween series started 44 years ago and spawned a total of 13 feature films. It’s been one of the odder franchises, with three films that share the same name, one movie that has nothing to do with the Meyers/Strode conflict, and a final girl who has been played by different actresses and was killed off in one film. David Gordon Green‘s new trilogy resurrected Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) by retconning all the other films after the original sequel. 2018’s “Halloween,” the first in this new series, was quite good. It felt like a natural progression of the characters and examined how the events from the first two films had a significant impact on the Strode family. The powerful ending to that movie was cheapened by the events of his follow-up film, 2021’s “Halloween Kills.” “Kills” took everything the previous film did right and stomped on it. Jamie Lee Curtis was shamefully stuck in a hospital bed for 90% of the movie, every character acted ridiculously, and in the final minutes, The Shape(Nick Castle) murders an essential character completely out of the blue. Everything about that movie felt cheap and wrong. This final chapter promises to “End” the series, a promise that it keeps, but perhaps should have happened back in 2018.
As I sat down to screen this film, I mused that to be successful this movie would have to do something very different than its predecessors. How many different versions of Micheal Meyers stalking Laurie Strode and her narrowly escaping do we need to see? After 44 years it’s become disappointingly redundant. To its credit, “Halloween Ends” is a very different Halloween film, but whether that’s a good or bad thing will depend on the viewer.
The movie picks up 4 years after “Halloween Kills.” Michael Meyers has disappeared, but his rampage has poisoned the people of Haddonfield. Laurie has moved back into the town, is now sober, and lives with her granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak). With the support of each other, they are trying to put the past behind them and live happy lives. Unfortunately, the trauma the town experienced has made everyone paranoid, cruel, or both. The first act of the film is essentially a study of the impact shared trauma can have on a community and how that can breed even more trauma. One victim of the town’s vitriol is Corey (Rohan Campbell), a young man who is tormented because of an accidental death he was blamed for. Like the Strodes, Corey is struggling to be strong and put the past behind him, but the townsfolk won’t let him. The only glimmer of hope Corey experiences comes once he meets Allyson. These two social outcasts immediately bond and make plans to leave everything behind.
The path this film takes was very unexpected, and while I enjoyed not having a clue where it was all heading, there are some pretty big issues with the script. To save time, characters behave in ways that are unreasonable (even in a slasher film) and romance (lust?) blooms ridiculously quickly. There are also some plot holes large enough to chuck a pumpkin through, particularly near the end. If you’re looking for a movie that has some great kills, will leave you wondering where it’s ultimately going, and is better than “Halloween Kills,” this is the movie for you. But to be fair, that’s a pretty low bar to clear.