Halloween Ends is a half-decent entry in the Halloween franchise, but a fairly weak entry in the recent David Gordon Green-directed trilogy. The solid 2018 Halloween set the stage for a terrifying battle-to-the-death reunion between Michael Myers and Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). The terrible Halloween Kills was all filler, sidelining Laurie in the hospital and marking time until the presumably dramatic third chapter.
Despite all the “Evil dies tonight!” talk in that one, Halloween Ends takes place four years later, then largely focuses on a different killer. I can't recall another trilogy that has been less consistent in its goals.
Laurie has become a pariah in Haddonfield, as the townspeople feel she taunted Michael, causing unnecessary bloodshed. Her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichek) has begun dating Corey (Rohan Campbell). He's a pariah too, after a child he was babysitting died under tragic circumstances. Local teenagers bully him, and the mother of the deceased kid rages at him when they run into each other at a bar. Corey encounters Michael – a full hour into the movie, mind you – but the masked psycho doesn't kill him. Instead, Corey appears to have some of Michael's evil transferred to him. He puts on a mask of his own, going on a rampage of terror. Only in the last twenty minutes does this (tenuously) tie in to Michael and Laurie.
Halloween Ends definitely has a few intriguing ideas in it. The movie attempts to offer an explanation for how Michael keeps surviving, despite being killed over and over. The Corey/Michael material is interesting, too, if a little underdeveloped. Having a tormented guy fall under the spell of a seemingly immortal psycho killer offers a novel twist. Evil, the film implies, is contagious. Perhaps that's why Michael is so hard to get rid of. He's the byproduct of a force not easily eradicated. Corey is just the latest person to become infected.
We aren't coming to Halloween Ends for Corey, though. We're coming to see Laurie and Michael's final confrontation. Not bringing Michael in until the one-hour mark is a huge mistake, as is focusing on Corey more than Laurie. The whole point of this trilogy was supposed to be bringing the two characters from John Carpenter's original back together, letting them finish their business from 1978. Clearly, the trilogy ran out of ideas for that in the first installment, leaving it to scramble for something else to do until the big finale.
That finale does offer the bloody mayhem fans want. The manner in which the picture turns the Michael/Laurie showdown into a healing event for all of Haddonfield is kind of ingenious. Despite that, it comes too late in the game. You've got to slog through a lot of other stuff first. Maybe Green figured that as long as Halloween Ends goes out with a bang, nobody will complain too much. Regardless, his trilogy has been a disappointment overall, taking three two-hour movies to deliver the fifteen minutes we actually care about.
out of four
Halloween Ends is rated R for bloody horror violence and gore, language throughout and some sexual references. The running time is 1 hour and 51 minutes.