Halloween Ends (2022)
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Rohan Campbell, Andi Matchiak, Will Patton et al.
Running Time: 1h 51min
Making us run and hide behind our pumpkins this October, David Gordon Green brings his trilogy of Halloween films to an expectedly bloody ending.
The violins are ready to shriek, the knives are sharpened and polished; here we are again in Haddonfield, Illinois, home to Michael Myers and Laurie Strode, the original final girl, in what is promised to be the final instalment in the Halloween series. Green brings his trilogy to a fitting close with his third instalment.
Set four years after the last film that saw Curtis’ Laurie Strode mostly confined to a hospital bed while her family was murdered, and the town descending into collective hysteria, Michael Myers has vanished. He is the proverbial boogeyman, evil, unseen, out there, and the film takes its sweet time to serve up what the audience came for.
In fact, the bigger part of the movie centres around Corey, a promising young man who accidentally kills a child and is shunned by the town. An outsider, with a murder stain on his collar, his character presents plenty of opportunity to connect with Laurie and her granddaughter Allyson, opportunity for redemption, or a more sinister development. Of course, Allyson and Corey begin a whirlwind romance between outsiders, locked in a small town they can escape as little as they can escape their neighbours’ preconceptions about them, and their own trauma.
Corey takes up a lot of motion picture real estate compared to Laurie. She now lives in a proper American suburban home, apparently after therapy and having dried out; she is writing her memoirs, which we get as a voice over tediously meditating on the nature of evil and its effect on her, and the community.
Moments of levity show she is indeed moving forward, be it a flirt scene with cop Frank (Will Patton), or domestic Laurie Strode burning a cake, or knitting (fanservice at its finest). It takes a while for glimpses of hardened old survivor and fighter Laurie to surface, but she is in there. Curtis is a presence, undoubtedly, in parts glorious to watch and giving her all, but her performance is uneven, quieter moments seem phoned in, there is a lot of standing around and watching. Her development from traumatised survivor living in a fortress in the woods in 2018’s Halloween to baking grandmother with an edge is not exactly credible.
Halloween Ends works as an end to David Gordon Green’s trilogy of Halloween movies – showing the effect of evil and trauma first on a family, then escalating to mass hysteria, and now showing the burnt earth of a whole community ravaged by collective trauma with no outlet. The ending of this particular film is a healing moment for Haddonfield, but is it the ending the series deserves?
Green ties his three films together well, and he makes a good slasher; never boring, just the right amount of gore, shrieky music, things that go bump and plenty of jumpscares. He serves fans with references, quotes, recurring characters; the film is at its strongest when the fallout on the community from the last movie is shown, darkly, a descent, illustrated by the dirty underbelly of American small towns. But it does not credibly conclude with a truly satisfying ending for Laurie Strode and her 40 years of violent duet with Michael Myers.
Halloween Ends is mostly fun to watch, it passes the time quickly, the plot is somewhat erroneous and takes a fair few detours; the acting is solid for a slasher, it has everything it needs with powerful moments when it shows the effects of trauma on individuals, a community, a whole town. As a conclusion to the Halloween Series, it is less epic than the expectation raised by the studio marketing.
All words by Mario Rauter, you can find his archive here.