REVIEW: “Halloween Ends” (2022)

The end of Michael Myers and the “Halloween” franchise? Oh we’ve heard that before. Perhaps not as blatantly as the pointedly titled “Halloween Ends”, but it feels like we’ve been down this road before. I mean who actually believes that if this latest installment makes good money at the box office and has a high streaming rate on Peacock that we won’t eventually see the pale-masked slasher icon return to butcher a fresh new batch of Haddonfield fodder?

One thing that does seem to be coming to an end is Jamie Lee Curtis’ run with the franchise. This will be the seventh appearance in a “Halloween” film for the beloved scream queen, and going into it you get the sense that the 63-year-old Curtis is ready to step away. That alone makes “Halloween Ends” significant. It’s too bad she isn’t given a better movie to end with. Both she and her character, Laurie Strode deserve better.

Let’s not beat around the bush, “Halloween Ends” is a baffling misfire. It’s a movie plagued by bizarre choices and hampered by vain attempts at subverting our expectations. The movie should have been a slamdunk. Laurie Strode, Michael Myers, one final showdown. That’s an easy recipe for success. Perhaps not the most original idea, but it’s exactly what fans have been waiting and watching for. It’s what this trilogy has been building towards. But that seems like an afterthought for director David Gordon Greene and his trio of co-screenwriters.

Image Courtesy of Universal Studios

Rather than honing in on the two characters who were supposed to be the trilogy’s centerpiece, “Halloween Ends” goes an entirely different route, back-burnering Laurie and especially Michael in order to introduce a new (and uninteresting) angle revolving around a new (and uninteresting) character. Laurie is wedged in here and there, and other than a fleeting glance, we don’t see Michael at all for the first hour. It’s hard to imagine how this looked good on paper. It certainly didn’t turn out good on the screen.

The movie begins with a night of babysitting that goes terribly wrong. Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell) is a kind-hearted 21-year-old Haddonfield boy who agrees to babysit a young brat on Halloween night so the parents can go to a costume party. But when a terrible accident leads to the kid’s death, Corey is charged with aggravated manslaughter and becomes pariah to the locals.

Jump ahead a couple of years where Laurie Strode (Curtis) is working hard to assimilate into the Haddonfield community. “It has been four years since I last saw my monster,” she notes. In that time, she has bought a house in the middle of town where she lives with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak). She spends her time burning pies in the oven, flirting with Deputy Frank Hawkins (Will Patton) in the grocery store, and writing her memoir. Allyson works at the Haddonfield hospital and has taken a liking to Corey. He’s ridiculed by many of the townsfolk who call him “murderer” and “psycho”. But Allyson sees him as a kindred spirit – someone besides her who understands trauma and its effects.

Image Courtesy of Universal Pictures

I won’t pound out or spoil the details. But the movie misguidedly latches onto Corey and makes his story its centerpiece. He and Allyson grow closer, but the bullying and abuse from the citizens of Haddonfield, especially four entitled high school seniors, begin to take its toll. While all of that is playing out, Laurie gets lost in the background, pondering whether she likes Allyson dating Corey. Meanwhile a wearied and worn Michael Myers lives in a sewer drain waiting for the filmmakers to finally let him off his chain. Sadly they never really do. Michael ends up restricted to being a secondary character. Little about him makes sense in the film, and his lone big moment comes at the end, and feels tacked on rather than meaningful.

In once sense, it’s interesting to see David Gordon Green take some wild swings. And there are plenty of big ideas that might have been interesting if given room to develop. But at times it seems like Green forgets he’s making a “Halloween” movie, much less the final installment in a trilogy and a significant movie for the franchise. Making it worse, characters often act impulsively, and some of their motivations are woefully underdeveloped. And when the kills finally come, only a couple feel remotely memorable.

So what to do with “Halloween Ends”? Do we applaud it for going for something new or deride it for throwing out everything we expected (and was advertised)? Perhaps I could overlook some things if the new direction was compelling and didn’t feel pulled out of a hat. Perhaps I could get onboard if central characters still didn’t get pushed to the side. Perhaps it would be easier to digest if there weren’t so many nagging issues with the storytelling. As it is, “Halloween Ends” feels like a hodgepodge of ideas, some of them good (Haddonfield as a villain, society creating its monsters, the nature of evil, etc), but too many aren’t. Sometimes it’s best just to keep things simple. I wish this movie had. “Halloween Ends” is out now in theaters and streaming on Peacock.

VERDICT – 1.5 STARS

27 thoughts on “REVIEW: “Halloween Ends” (2022)

  1. As a John Carpenter fanatic, I thought David Gordon Green made a very solid initial film for his trilogy. That 2018 entry was a nice throwback and tribute to the 1978 classic. I enjoyed it a lot. That being said, I thought Halloween Kills was an embarrassing disaster of a movie, and since that one went off the rails I assumed this one would also. It’s a shame.

  2. Good review. Definitely agree with you about this movie. It had some good thematic elements about evil (and how it effects people) from both internal and external, but the movie just feels misguided and a total misfire. At least the final twenty minutes was good….at least in my opinion. Yet, this new trilogy just ends on a whimper.

      • I personally loved it. As an avid fan of the franchise I was on the edge of my seat rooting for the new guy. I was hoping that Michael had “passed the torch” to a new maniac, but that’s just me, I’m always pulling for the underdog.

      • I really wish I found Corey remotely interesting. But he never convinced me. And I have no idea what they were doing with Allyson. I feel she was just a tag-along for this whole movie.

  3. I watched this on Peacock and not in theaters. I’m glad I didn’t. If I had spent 15 bucks on a movie ticket, I would’ve been pissed. As it stands, Halloween Ends was very underwhelming and anti-climactic. Halloween Kills at least delivered on the carnage it promised, which automatically makes it better than this. The worst part is that the trailers for Halloween Ends advertised a very different movie than what we ended up getting. I’m really getting sick of these “bait-and-switch” tactics that movie trailer companies like to pull. I don’t necessarily HATE Halloween Ends, but I would rather watch Rob Zombie’s Halloween II before I watch this again. In fact, I’ll be doing that this weekend. I’m getting both of Rob Zombie’s Halloween movies on DVD for a double feature(the theatrical versions of the films no less).

    • YES!!! This deceptive trailer nonsense is well past annoying. In that case it genuinely advertised an entirely different movie. I guess they thought if they crammed all of that into the last 15 minutes they would be ok.

  4. I’ve never watched a Halloween movie and don’t plan on starting now. When I read the first part about all of the misfires and this is the (supposed) end of the franchise, I couldn’t shake the idea that they purposely effed it up to give a sense of closure to it. I got that impression with how they ended the Dexter series on Showtime 😦

    • It’s the most perplexing thing I’ve ever seen. I think that maybe the thought they were being clever by doing exactly the opposite of what everyone expected. That’s fine, but you better make sure it works. This certainly didn’t.

  5. Shit, I really liked the first film that Green did. I haven’t seen the 2nd one as I heard bad things about this. I’m not going to bother with this one. Jamie Lee Curtis deserves better. She’s royalty.

  6. I’m disappointed to read how terrible this movie is. I watched Jamie Lee’s thank you to the fans before it was released and thought this is why so many of us love her so much. I also thought it was her giving it a seal of approval that fans wouldn’t be disappointed. Unfortunately it doesn’t sound like the movie is what she (and Michael) deserve. I haven’t seen it but trust what you saw, so it brings up the same questions in my mind. Why would you introduce what seem to be new main characters? Why wouldn’t this be 90 minutes of Jamie vs Michael? That’s all it needed to be. I looked forward to this one, really looked forward to it, and now I don’t even know if I want to watch it. Last night was the series finale of See so it won’t be returning, and now I read this. The weekend isn’t starting off good!

    • You’re exactly right. They didn’t need to do much to make this what it needed to be. Instead you get the sense they were too interested in broadsiding the audience. Trying to be clever but undermining everything the trilogy has been building towards. Truly mind-boggling.

  7. The horror sequel Halloween Ends is the third installment in the franchise. The film’s story is set four years after the events of Halloween (1978), but there’s a significant difference between the two films. In this film, the main character, Corey Cunningham, is sentenced to prison for aggravated manslaughter, but cannot shake the moniker of a “psycho.

  8. Saw the movie and sadly have to say Halloween ends was a disappointment!!! As a true Halloween movie fan I have to say it’s never been the same with out Donald pleasance in it. As for Jamie Lee Curtis she deserved a better movie as her send-off.. So those of you who will go see it Don’t have high expectations.. The ? Is not when but how will they bring back Michael Myers after this one.

  9. This is a minor quibble, but indicative of the many horrible and lazy storytelling decisions throughout this baffling and awful conclusion. Why have Kyle Richards from the original film and “Kills” in this back as her character Lyndsey only to have her disappear completely from the film at some point and not even show up for the big climax of the film when the “whole” town shows up? Shouldn’t she be there to witness Michael Myers final moments along with all the others?? We get to see random extras reaction, but not Lyndsey’s?? This whole movie was a complete mess. It’s absurd to think of all the people it takes to make a movie and this is what they thought would make the best conclusion to a 45 year old beloved franchise?? Unbelievable! Why did we spend an hour and a half on the Corey story only to have it be ultimately meaningless and tossed aside so we can finally get to what we all paid to see. Trailers are cut to entice people to the theater, so the fact that the trailer for this film basically only consists of clips from the last 15 minutes proves the filmmakers know what the audience wants. Why then did they make a movie that for 90 minutes is not what anyone who is a Halloween fan wants to see? Just a ridiculously dumbfounding movie. David Gordon Green should be fined and benched.

    • Really good points, especially about Lyndsey. You’re so right. It makes you think it was nothing more than a stunt. So many characters (and the fans), she deserved better.

      I still say, this movie feels like it was made for those who aren’t fans or who have no attachment to the franchise. whatsoever.

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