Halloween Ends

Halloween Ends…on a bit of a whimper. David Gordon Green’s Halloween Ends, the final installment of the Halloween (2018) trilogy, is a film with wild ambitions but lacks the conviction or confidence to follow through with any of them. Set four years after the events of Halloween Kills, Michael Myers has disappeared back into the shadows. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) have since moved with Laurie now writing a memoir recounting her experiences. However, Michael’s menace still looms large over the townspeople of Haddonfield, Illinois with murders and suicides running rampant. As Laurie and Haddonfield’s citizens try to rebuild, Michael returns from the shadows to enact terror once more. Can Laurie finally put an end to the boogeyman, or will evil prevail?

One thing that can’t be taken away from this film is its mood and atmosphere. Within every sequence, there is a constant sense of tension and dread that leaves you on the edge of your seat. That feeling of danger may not always be seen, but it can certainly be felt, and this is in large part due to the film’s eerie and retro score. John Carpenter returns once again with his son Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies to compose yet another delightful score for the Halloween trilogy, which is a rich mix of synth and guitar that feels both modern and retro. The entire trilogy has felt seasonal in that it genuinely does feel appropriate for the season of fall; you can practically smell the pumpkin spice from the screen.

The main issue is that the film can’t seem to decide on what it wants to accomplish. In the film’s opening voiceover, Laurie sets the tone by detailing how the townspeople still live in fear of the Michael, which in turn has the townspeople turning their fears and frustrations towards Corey Cunningham, a young man who accidentally murdered a young boy he was babysitting. The film tackles the theme of nature vs nurture which is embodied by the character of Corey, who is played fantastically by Rohan Campbell. Campbell perfectly straddles the line between being pitiful and downright terrifying. Is Corey evil, or did outside forces force him to be? This is the question that the film seems to be interested in exploring for about two-thirds of the way until it suddenly backtracks. It’s a shame that the film deflates near the end because Campbell does so much with the material he’s given; if only that material had not failed him.

Jamie Lee Curtis’ final performance as Laurie Strode is yet another positive attribute that the film has going for it. As opposed to Halloween Kills, she’s given much more to do this time around and Curtis gives it her all for Halloween Ends. Curtis’ skills as an actor paired with her history with the character help to carry emotional heft for a film that seems to be devoid of any. The steps taken to reach the end of Laurie’s story might have been shaky, but it manages to do right by Laurie.

Overall, the film is less than the sum of its parts due to half-baked ideas, silly execution, and a thematically confused climax. For Halloween fans, this is a complicated recommendation because while the final showdown is worth the price of admission, it feels so far removed from the rest of the film which already makes some contentious choices. The trilogy started on a high note with 2018’s Halloween but the sequels have never lived up to its promise. Halloween Ends is unquestionably a better film than Halloween Kills but mostly due to the wild choices it makes as opposed to being a cohesive story. As the end of a trilogy, Ends lands with a thud, but as Jamie Lee Curtis’ swan song, it’s the ending she deserved.

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