Now that Halloween Ends has (tentatively) concluded the Halloween franchise, is it safe to say that most of the series isn’t very good? Out of the 13 films in the series over the course of nearly 45 years, arguably only four of them are any good, and even then I’m stretching my definition of good by A LOT. The series, at least in my opinion, never really had any idea what to do with itself and what direction to take Michael Myers in. He could just be a serial killer, or maybe there’s a cult involved, or maybe we reboot him and make him whatever the hell Rob Zombie tried to do, or we make him the embodiment of evil.
Halloween Ends attempts to try something different with the franchise, and I can respect that in a way. The film opens up with the same font used in Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which attempted to tell a story wildly different and removed from the Michael Myers stuff. That’s not a simple coincidence. This was meant to be risky. Fans hated Season of the Witch when it came out, but it developed a strong cult following in the years since.
I can see the same response happening with Halloween Ends. It tries to take a huge risk with the series almost akin to what Season of the Witch did and fans are almost certainly going to be divided on it. But personally, while I can understand attempting to try something new with this final film in the trilogy, I think it also falls flat on its face and ends up being the worst film of the trilogy. I thought that Halloween Kills was a disappointment, but now I’m looking back on it in a much more favorable light compared to what I’ve seen here.
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Director: David Gordon Green
Release Date: October 14, 2022 (Theatrical/Peacock)
Set four years after the events of Halloween Kills, the movie doesn’t actually follow any of the characters from those two films, but rather a new character, Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell). Corey accidentally killed a young child in 2019 and has been persecuted by the town ever since. Upon meeting Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) he begins to see her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), but still feels like he can never overcome the trauma of what he did. After encountering Michael Myers, who I guess has been hiding out in the sewers for four years, Corey begins to kill people that have wronged him and Allyson, teaming up with Michael to enact revenge on Haddonfield for the persecution that Corey received over the years.
I’ll give the movie this: the town of Haddonfield feels like a character with its own unique and oftentimes oppressive atmosphere. While the town never had much personality for me outside of being just a normal town, there’s a looming specter over it that Michael Myers cast all of those years ago. People seem afraid and quick to demonize anyone in search of a “Bogeyman,” someone who inspires terror in the people for them to rally around. Originally, it was Michael and his killings, but in his absence, the people of the town need a villain to rally against. Corey fills that role, despite the death of that child being accidental. It doesn’t matter to the people of Haddonfield and we see how the town itself beats Corey down relentlessly until he snaps.
This does play into some negative tropes though, tropes that I thought horror movies would have outgrown by this time. As Corey slowly becomes a serial killer, Halloween Ends tries to paint the picture of evil being taught and society itself corrupting people into monsters. What it ends up saying is that victims of trauma and abuse will only go on to traumatize and abuse others. Corey is a victim of abuse at home and by the town. A high schooler gets abused by his dad and takes it out on Corey (which is weird since Corey is an adult and this high school Senior is bossing him around). Two instances may not seem like much, but when the film draws a literal comparison in an exchange between the two of them on a bridge, that’s deliberate.
But that is the least of the film’s problems since the film is a bit of a mess in every conceivable way. For as much as Halloween Ends is billed as being the conclusion of this trilogy, it’s so far removed from the events of the first two films that I wonder why they even bothered to make it a trilogy at all. The first two films were set back to back. The ending of Halloween flowed immediately into the beginning of Halloween Kills, which makes it weird that there’s a time skip between Kills and Ends. It does nothing to really enhance the film or make a statement other than seeing Laurie come out of the paranoid hole she dug herself into during the first two installments. With no build-up to it and with us not actually being on that journey with her, the impact of it feels hollow and like we missed an entire film of development.
It gets even weirder when the film focuses primarily on new characters for this supposed conclusion. Laurie, Allyson, and a few supporting characters return, but they’re bit players here. Laurie is only relevant in the climax of the movie and instead spends most of her time staring at Corey or Allyson and not saying anything. Corey is our main character and the relationship he develops with Allyson feels rushed and poorly executed. They’ve known each other for only a few days and by Halloween night, they’re already planning on skipping town because they’re head over heels in love.
By having this completely new character with no relationship to the previous events of the first two films take center stage, what was the point of even making those films if they just don’t matter here? If Corey was present in those films and this was an arc told over the course of all three films, then that would be different. But we see a rapid degradation of his character that doesn’t leave any impact. If this was how Green, who wrote all three movies alongside Danny McBridge, always intended the trilogy to end, then he planned it poorly.
Halloween Ends also spends most of its time setting up the climax and introducing dull and unlikeable characters who only exist to be killed. Sure, plenty of other slashers will introduce unlikeable characters to be killed -in fact, that’s one of the reasons I enjoy slashers so much. When done well, it’s great to watch bad people be slaughtered by a slasher movie villain. When they’re done right, they at least have some developed personalities or charm to them that made them entertaining. Here we have generic jerks that appear for one or two scenes over the course of an hour of build-up, only to focus on their deaths in the climax. The film draws plenty of attention to their karmic deaths, but they hold no weight to them. Yeah, that doctor who snubbed Allyson’s promotion in favor of giving it to the nurse he’s sleeping with makes him prime slasher fodder, but he only appears onscreen for less than a minute with maybe four lines of dialogue before his big execution scene.
And don’t even get me started on Michael Myers. Like I said before, I can respect trying to make a Halloween movie that barely features him, but while Season of the Witch just didn’t feature him at all, Ends decides to have him live in a sewer and only pop up at the end for a fight against Laurie. He’s more of a prop for Green to use instead of actually integrating him naturally into the plot. It’s the laziest use of him I think I’ve ever seen, and the last film just made him a nigh-unstoppable killing machine that defied all logic and reasoning to keep him alive for this finale.
In fact, while Halloween Kills had a lot of issues and lacked substance, there was a simplicity to it that I enjoyed. It featured a lot of returning characters from the series and an always active pace, as well as some decent kills, corny dialogue and character stupidity be damned. Here, it feels like Green was making a generic slasher movie, then threw Michael Myers and Jamie Lee Curtis in to make it a Halloween film.
For all of the seriousness the film tries to put upon itself, including a bleak tone and oppressive atmosphere, the film is unintentionally hilarious. The opening where Corey accidentally murders a kid shouldn’t be as funny as it is, but I was laughing out loud in my completely empty theater. That’s not as bad as the finale though, which goes so far out of its way to prove to the audience that this is totally for reals the end of the series that I couldn’t help but laugh. It’s so stupid, so illogical, so ridiculous, and so cartoonish that you would almost think that the film was literally deifying Michael Myers as some patron saint of Haddonfield. The questions I have that came from this finale all come back to me assuming the writers didn’t consider for even a second how laughable it would be on screen.
Halloween Ends is a complete and utter waste. While it has some good ideas and tries to take risks, like making the film about a good-hearted man corrupted by Michael, those risks mostly backfire in the film’s face. The film isn’t scary and drags, most of the characters are bland and forgettable even by slasher movie standards, and any hope that the film would provide a meaningful conclusion to this trilogy is sorely misplaced. Whatever few redeeming factors the film has, like its tone or solid kills once the film actually finally picks up, they aren’t enough to save what’s here.
This is easily the worst Halloween film in the trilogy. The only thing saving it from being the worst Halloween film is the fact that Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers exists. And H20. And Ressurection. And the Rob Zombie movies. Okay, there are a lot of bad Halloween movies but don’t think for a second that this absolves Halloween Ends of its sins. It’s a terrible movie and the worst horror movie in theaters this Halloween season. See anything else because the only thing frightening about Halloween Ends is how anyone at Blumhouse thought this was going to be good.