Film Review: “Halloween Ends” Is a Crafty Sequel, If Not an Epic Conclusion
Written by: Matt Patti | October 13th, 2022
Halloween Ends (David Gordon Green, 2022) 2½ out of 4 stars.
Every Halloween, it is a tradition of mine to watch the original 1978 Halloween, one of my favorite horror films. I seldom re-watch the sequels in the franchise, however, as none of them quite re-create the same magic for me. But then the 2018 Halloween came out and I was overjoyed to find a sequel that actually captures a similar feel to the original. I was a bit disappointed in its sequel, the 2021 Halloween Kills, but was still looking forward to the concluding chapter of the new trilogy, all made by director David Gordon Green (Our Brand Is Crisis). I have mixed feelings to report. I am a bit disappointed by the fact that the film is not at all what I was expecting for the long-awaited conclusion to such a revered series, but I’m also pleasantly surprised by the new depths Green explores and the fresh take for a franchise with many sequels that are far too similar to each other.
In Halloween Ends, it has been four years since Michael Myers’ rampage in Halloween Kills. Michael (James Jude Courtney) has not been seen or heard from since that night. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis, Knives Out) has turned a new leaf, putting her obsession with Michael behind her and living life more freely. She resides in a bustling community with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak, Son), who now works as a nurse at a local hospital in Haddonfield.
One day, a young man named Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell, Operation Christmas Drop) comes in with injuries after a brawl. Allyson takes an immediate interest in Corey and the two go on a date, soon realizing they have a lot in common. They bond and start to see each other more often, but Laurie begins to realize that there’s something not quite right about Corey. Furthermore, Halloween night is approaching, and with that, the annual fear of Michael’s reemergence. Will Laurie, Allyson, and the town of Haddonfield have a peaceful Halloween … or will havoc ensue once again?
Halloween Ends, from the opening scene, establishes that the film the audiences think they’re getting, the one that the trailers promote and the one that would logically make sense for what could be the final film in the franchise, is not the film we’ll be viewing at all. This will likely disappoint many, as it has me. The bloodbath taking place in the previous entry in this trilogy surely set many expectations for this film, but Halloween Ends is a far different cinematic animal than its predecessor. If folks can set their expectations aside, however, I think there is still much to enjoy about Halloween Ends.
The plot and main theme for Halloween Ends centers around an idea that was floated around the Halloween franchise for some time, but never fully explored: evil itself outside of Michael Myers. More specifically, the evil Haddonfield experiences as a byproduct of Michael Myers. Halloween Kills briefly explores the madness and chaos that can occur when a town is fixated on destroying evil, but Halloween Ends takes this thought in a refreshing new direction by exploring Haddonfield’s need for a new “Boogeyman” now that Michael has been gone for some time, and the evil inside many ordinary townspeople that can be just as scary as Michael Myers himself.
The film’s themes are intriguing, but it’s the characters that push me to give it a more-positive-than-negative review. Laurie Strode and Allyson are at the forefront in Halloween Ends, which is refreshing given that they took a bit of a back seat in Halloween Kills, Laurie especially. Curtis gives a great performance and is able to perfectly balance being rejuvenated and at peace with still having some regrets and emotion, as well as being a badass when it’s called for. Matichak and Campbell give decent performances, as well, and the relationship between Allyson and Corey is a main focus of the film and one of great intrigue. Sadly, Michael Myers is not in the film as much as I’d like him to be for what is possibly his final film, but when he is, he’s effective, as always, as a horrifying horror villain.
Overall, Halloween Ends is very different than any other Halloween film in the franchise, and I give it props for that. My biggest issue with Halloween Kills was that it was a slaughter-fest with very little depth or meaning. Halloween Ends is the exact opposite, introducing a fresh new plot to these films and offering more than Michael walking around town for 2 hours, slashing people up. That being said, I know many fans who check in for these films expecting just that, so I do believe it is a strange choice that the final Halloween film takes this kind of risk. Is the concluding finale of a 40-year-old franchise the right time to take a swing for the fences? Maybe. But, in and of itself, I found myself enjoying Halloween Ends for taking a chance and doing something unique, unlike most of the other sequels.