A Decent Conclusion to the H40 Trilogy
Jan 2, 2023
Halloween Ends is a decent but inconsistent final entry in David Gordon Green’s H40 trilogy – inferior to Halloween (in every single way) but much better (in most ways) than Halloween Kills. 44 years after the original Halloween debuted in theaters, Green’s “final” chapter successfully pulls most of the franchise’s retconned threads together and provides a satisfying enough conclusion for series heroine Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) as well as the infamous Shape aka Michael Myers. Nevertheless, outside of Halloween Ends’ central promise, the end of Michael Myers, the latest installment struggles to stand on its own and is, more than anything, the third chapter in a revival trilogy that peaked with its first installment.
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Halloween Ends picks up four years after Kills and sees Laurie abandon her reclusive life in favor of returning to Haddonfield, raising her orphaned granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), and channeling past trauma into a tell-all book that chronicles her encounters with Michael Myers. However, when Laurie meets Haddonfield’s latest pariah, Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell), in a chance encounter, she struggles to maintain her new-found peace and begins to fear that Myers’ hold on the town is once again reaching a boiling point.
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Green returns to conclude his H40 trilogy, following an overall lackluster response to the prior entry, and Ends succeeds in delivering a more intimate and emotional storyline. At the same time, the filmmaker takes the semi-grounded revival trilogy into the same concept-over-substance and (pseudo-supernatural) direction of Halloween 3 – 5 (entries that Green’s trilogy had intentionally retconned in order to deliver a more grounded exploration of Michael’s impact on Laurie and Haddonfield as whole). Ends is packed with franchise nods, homages, and easter eggs – as well as another crowd-pleasing face off between Laurie and Michael – but new characters and the film’s mainline focus on Corey and Allyson are at-best its weakest parts and, more often, confounding distractions.
By the final act, it’s apparent that Green wanted to do (and say) something different this round and, to that end, crafted a fresh angle through which to explore Myers’ legacy and influence on Haddonfield – but that thread was weaved, awkwardly, through an otherwise straightforward continuation of his Laurie-focused Halloween and Kills arc.
Fortunately, it’s thrilling to see Jamie Lee Curtis back to conclude Laurie’s story and the actress finds new layers to unpack in her previously hardened heroine. Ends presents a much more vulnerable Laurie confronting the past and attempting to make sense of a world in which evil endures again and again. It’s a rewarding setup that’s made all the more interesting as she navigates a series of suicides, maimed survivors, and tragedies that befell the town in the aftermath of Michael’s 2018 rampage (as well as an unease that’s settled over the town following his disappearance). Green’s script treads dangerously close to melodrama in Laurie’s arc but to her credit, Curtis manages to strike a savvy balance between a vulnerable survivor and kickass monster slayer that, while she might be trying to move on, has not entirely let her guard down.
On the other hand, nearly every single other character in the film is a familiar caricature with little definition and provides no reason for the audience to invest. As mentioned, Corey’s storyline is ill-conceived from the start and his addition is more living allegory than a fleshed-out, breathing person – and just about every other character that enters his orbit reverts to the kind of questionable decision-making and forced drama that Halloween 2018 had successfully abandoned to the past. It’s unfortunate because the last two entries had established Allyson, especially, as an interesting foundation through which to learn more about Laurie and Matichak as an equally intriguing next-generation star (who might even take over for Curtis). Instead, Allyson is relegated to a bizarre and downright forced romantic subplot that falls short of saying anything interesting about her own trauma and, instead, only serves as an expository sounding board for Corey and an added emotional complexity for Laurie to navigate.
Andi Matichak as Allyson Nelson in Halloween Ends
That all said, a lot of moviegoers won’t be bothered by shortcomings in Ends’ characters and plot if scares are electrifying and kills are creative. As a horror movie experience, Ends is still a mixed bag. Several of the murders are a bland mix of Myers-brand choke holds and butcher knife impalements; yet, a few of Green’s bloody setups do deliver unique scares and gore – with one especially outlandish (but very funny) standout. Fans of the prior Halloween installments will likely find enough mayhem and slasher-horror staples to be satisfied but, placed alongside Halloween 2018 and Kills, Ends delivers the least memorable and least scary horror set pieces in the set.
Halloween Ends is a satisfying enough conclusion to the H40 trilogy and, overall, the three films provide the strongest Halloween sequel continuity of the franchise’s twelve post-Halloween 1978 follow-ups. For that reason, even if Green rolled the dice (and lost) on an underwhelming central premise for Ends, a satisfying conclusion to Laurie’s story from Halloween 1978 to 2022 was worth any missteps that plague Kills and Ends. Still, in spite of this, it’s hard to ignore that Halloween 2018 set a high bar for Green’s revival trilogy – a bar that was undermined by the following chapter and is barely improved in Halloween Ends.
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Halloween Ends releases in theaters October 14th. The film runs 111 minutes and is Rated R for language, sexual situations and violence and gore.
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