Halloween Ends, 2022.
Directed by David Gordon Green.
Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Kyle Richards, James Jude Courtney, Rohan Campbell, Omar J. Dorsey, Michael O’Leary, Nick Castle, Michele Dawson, Candice Rose, Marteen, Joey Harris, and Keraun Harris.
Four years after the events of Halloween in 2018, Laurie has decided to liberate herself from fear and rage and embrace life.
For a brief moment, I thought Halloween Ends would surprise me in a good way. An opening sequence sticks with Halloween night in 2019, introducing Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell) babysitting a young boy while the parents head to a party. The night goes off without a hitch until it’s time for bed. That’s when this sequence transitions into something more tense and upsetting that positions what is being touted as the final installment in the Halloween franchise (something I’m already calling bullshit on) as, if nothing else, a film with a decent story concept.
The film then smashes into the classic opening credits with the epic John Carpenter theme, culminating with “directed by David Gordon Green,” serving as a reminder that there is a slim chance this idea will be handled well. Four credited writers (Paul Brad Logan, Chris Bernie, Danny McBride, and David Gordon Green himself) don’t exactly instill much confidence, either.
Flashing forward to the present day, Corey is incorrectly labelled, misunderstood, bullied, and ostracized from society. He works with his family in a scrapyard, mostly keeping to himself as everyone thinks he’s a nutcase. They don’t think he is crazy in the same vein as Jamie Lee Curtis’ returning Laurie Strode; no, he is seen as more monster than a victim, which is an intriguing juxtaposition for these two former babysitters.
These circumstances also draw Laurie’s traumatized granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) to him, even if he is not necessarily ready to let someone in emotionally. She’s aware everything Haddonfield thinks about him is unfair. Nonetheless, she lowers his guard and convinces him to get back out into the world, attending social gatherings like costume parties together, although the locals are still nasty (considering they drove a mental patient to suicide in Halloween Kills, I would also expect nothing less).
This is hardly the type of narrative anyone reading this review expected from Halloween Ends, but it momentarily works as interesting. There is a small effort to ground these characters into something resembling human beings, and then the script makes some… choices. Perhaps these choices were doomed as soon as they were put to the page, but in execution, Halloween Ends is laughably stupid, reeking of forced desperation from David Gordon Green to put out something unique and subversive for this final showdown between Laurie (who has purchased a new home in Haddonfield, cares greatly for her granddaughter, and is currently writing a novel about her life) and Michael Myers (once again played by the battery of Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney).
Chief among the many issues with the approach to Halloween Ends‘ narrative concept is that it has no clue what side it and the viewers should be on. Above all else, Halloween Ends is a literalized metaphor for evil and how monsters are born. However, some of the kills here (which are entirely forgettable and bland, as if the only thing David Gordon Green knows how to do is point the camera and shoot someone getting stabbed 37 times) come at the expense of a character’s behavioral shift that, one would assume we would not want to happen. Nevertheless, there’s also the sense that we should be cheering on the slaughter. It’s a paradox, cementing that David Gordon Green is not only stuck between giving fans the bloodshed they seek and his own out-there ideas but has no idea how to package them into a logical and cohesive whole.
In Halloween Ends, the presence of Michael Myers feels like checking a box; he is something that gets in the way of the story David Gordon Green wants to tell about survivors and psychopaths. At least in Halloween Kills (also a dumpster fire), he had some purpose. Here, he is more of a sidekick. There’s a part of me that wishes David Gordon Green had the guts not to jump into supernatural nonsense and tell this story about the evil growing inside without Michael Myers (the themes and point of the movie would also feel sharper).
All roads lead to Laurie vs. Michael one last time, which is also crushingly disappointing (half of it is probably already in the trailer), although it is amusing watching grandma Laurie casually tipping a refrigerator over Michael without breaking a sweat.
David Gordon Green did a worthwhile job revitalizing Halloween and painting a thrilling story of generational trauma. These last two sequels have gone on to ignore everything that worked there, not necessarily because he has wacky ideas, but more so jumping the shark and running them into the ground until it’s all painfully idiotic to behold.
Halloween Ends is so far-fetched and ludicrous that discussing the story might cause some of you to assume I haven’t seen the movie and am just making things up. When it ends, one hopes the franchise stays dead (it won’t). As for David Gordon Green, Weil he’s moving on to The Exorcist next… I guess evil really does change shape.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★ ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com