It’s been all pumpkin mush after the fairly competent 2018 reboot of Halloween that set up a new premise and narrative framework for the long-running horror franchise with “The Shape” standing at its center. The overstuffed Halloween Kills expanded to examine the rotting effects Michael Myers has inflicted on the citizens of Haddonfield, Illinois. Halloween Ends picks up that football and focuses on a single citizen and then proceeds to fumble the entire trilogy.
The premise for this film introducing another threat beyond Myers can be admired from a certain angle through squinting eyes, but David Gorden Green and his team of writers have created an entry in the franchise somewhat similar to the polarizing Halloween 3: Season of the Witch since Myers appears about the same amount of time as the original film. This doesn’t mean there is lots of rising tension, though.
Instead of putting the final confrontation between Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Michael front and center, the movie sidesteps to introduce a new antagonist and spends way too much time on a boring and implausible young love story. When Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) eventually comes back to the final showdown at the end of the film, the drama and thrills have been sucked out of the theater.
Although this entry says Halloween has ended, we all know that is just not true. There will always be another Halloween movie lighting your porch in the future, which will yet again rob this odd one-off of all its power in the near future when another reboot happens.
Halloween Ends opens in 2019 with a brand-new character named Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell). He’s watching a boy while his parents go to a Halloween party. The kid’s mom mentions that he often wets his bed and is afraid of the dark after the recent Michael Myers slayings. “No scary movies,” she sets as a rule as she leaves the house. Of course, Corey watches John Carpenter’s The Thing with the kid and then turns it off after it gets too intense. They decide to play hide and seek and the boy decides to play a prank on Corey, which results in a truly horrific accident, turning Corey into an outcast with not only the family, but all of Haddonfield.
The movie then jumps forward in time to Laurie writing a memoir, which sets up terrible voiceover throughout the movie all about what evil really is and her experiences with Michael. She lives with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) and tries to bake a pumpkin pie and of course, burns it. Laurie will also be the heart of the franchise. She’s still trying to put the past behind her in a new home the best she can and you got to wish the film was more about Laurie’s continuing struggles in that area and how that affects the slow mending of her relationship with her granddaughter after the horrific events of the last movie. That would tie it back to 2018’s Halloween generational trauma far better than what we get here.
Instead, the film chooses to focus on the very boring new character Corey and how he connects to Myers (now hunkering down in the sewer) and a truly awful romantic relationship with Allyson. Whereas Halloween Kills overcranked its set-piece moments of violence, Halloween Ends undersells for so long that even the most outrageous killings, like the tongue-wagging death of a local radio DJ, come across as more comical than chilling.
Halloween Ends‘ editing, pacing, framing, and plot are all far worse than the previous two entries in the franchise. Unfortunately, the story of Michael and the story of Corey fight against each other for most of the runtime. Once we get to the final confrontation, it feels so mundane and leaves you exhausted. Michael still is “The Shape” today, but the edges are getting blurry. A distinct shadow needs a strong lighting source behind it to make it distinct and Halloween Ends fails on all fronts.
Halloween Ends is in theaters and on Peacock now.
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