A Flawed Movie from the Opening Credits Onwards
Score 2/10 - A Dumpster Fire
Posted by Anthony DeRouen | October 19th, 2022
Halloween Ends, the final film in a trilogy that started in 2018 by David Gordon Green and Blumhouse Studios to much ballyhoo and fanfare. As a big fan of the franchise I was excited to see Blumhouse take a stab (pun intended) at the Halloween series. Blumhouse is known for putting out quality films, so expectations were high. The first chapter of this trilogy gave us a Halloween film that stands in the upper echelon of the franchise, despite its lack of originality. It was an enjoyable slasher flick. Fast forward to 2022 and the trilogy ends on a frustrating and divisive whimper.
The film opens with a babysitter by the name of Corey Cunningham (played by Rohan Campbell) arrives to watch someone’s kid. Tragedy happens and Corey becomes a pariah in Haddonfield where Michael Meyers once called home. The townsfolk are struggling to move on which has created a toxic - and at times suicidal - atmosphere. Looking at how the citizens of Haddonfield are portrayed, there is little hope for redemption for any of them. Their attitudes range from apathy to open hostility, and mostly hostility. For the less informed this is the writer’s lazy way of creating a breeding ground for evil to fester and flourish. It’s one of the more annoying and sinister tropes employed in films lacking greater narrative effort. If you want to see this kind of atmosphere done way better watch Se7en.
Audiences are presented with an hour-plus with Corey (who was never mentioned in the previous two films) and subjected to one over-the-top belligerent encounter after another. When Michael Meyers does make an appearance he’s…hiding? That’s a far cry from where we left off in Halloween Kills when Michael had just finished slaughtering Haddonfield’s impromptu militia of bad-assess screaming "Evil dies tonight!" Between Corey’s massively unwarranted and unwelcomed screen time and Michaels’ unexplained and explicably out of character fall from grace these are two bitter pills the audience must swallow.
I thought Michael Meyers was the personification of evil? I thought Michael Meyers could be shot, stabbed, kicked by a militia and return the favor? What happened to that Michael Meyers? This one is walking around like his Aleve ran out.
Everything about Halloween Ends felt unnecessary and ignored. For a franchise that has seen its fair share of lows this particular chapter will rest near the bottom.
Let’s touch on Laurie Strode’s character for a moment. If you recall in Halloween 2018, Michael Meyers is spurred back into action by two true crime podcasters visiting his asylum. It was a thrilling if not contrived way to begin the story, but I liked it. “Michael, here is your mask, go kill!” That’s all we need as an audience, really. Laurie was approached by the podcasters to interview and initially rebuffed their offer, only accepting it when they offered payment. Fast forward to Halloween Ends and the townsfolk blame Laurie’s “bogeyman” for everything that’s happened? If the writer’s can’t be bothered trying to maintain some semblance of an overarching narrative the audience certainly won’t.
Forgoing the chance these films share any connective tissue, Laurie’s role in Halloween Ends is flawed enough. The writers give her a thoughtful and purposeful hobby of drafting a memoir of sorts detailing her experiences with Michael Meyers. It's a fitting aspect to include in a finale, especially since this should be Jamie Lee Curtis' final take on Laurie. It’s spoken out loud that this can be her way to find healing and move on, and we couldn't agree more. The mere action of recalling old memories tells us Laurie is at least somewhat open to revisiting these horrible nightmares with a modest level of acceptance. it happened, I survived, time to move on. Knowing this, her encounters with the townsfolk is bizarre. When confronted with an accusation that she caused Michael's re-emergence or lay blame at her feet, Laurie folds into herself on numerous occasions. And I mean she vacates the area. More than once Laurie flees the scene in laughable fashion.
This is only one example where the writers (and to a degree the producers) cared nothing for the first hour and twenty minutes. They're sole focus was getting to the Michael versus Laurie showdown.
I don’t think it’s fair to weigh Halloween Ends against 44 years of films. That’s too heavy a burden to carry. What Halloween Ends should have done is provide a satisfying conclusion to what started in Halloween 2018. We all know Halloween will be back, despite the film’s definitive ending (I’ll leave it at that), so the filmmakers had carte blanche to give us something spectacular as a going away present. Instead we got an hour and a half of Corey Cunningham and a ten minute Michael Meyers versus Laurie Strode sendoff.
I watched Halloween Ends five days after its release, on the $6 Tuesday deal at 9pm which should have raked in a large crowd. Besides myself there were two other patrons. Even when you consider the film is streaming simultaneously on Peacock an empty theater twelve days from Halloween watching a major Halloween movie release should have the masses in theaters. A disappointing end to a once promising trilogy, but we all know Michael Meyers will be back.