"Halloween Ends" stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Will Patton, Rohan Campbell, and Kyle Richards. Released on October 14, 2022, the film has Laurie Strode attempting to kill Micheal Myers for good.
The film is directed by David Gordon Green, who also directed films such as "Undertow", "Pineapple Express", "The Sitter", "Stronger", and 2018's "Halloween". It is the thirteenth installment in the "Halloween" franchise. People say that all things must come to an end. However, when it comes to Michael Myers, that phrase seems to be invalid. Seriously, that guy doesn't know when to give up and move on. Luckily for us, the latest installment in the slasher franchise may change that for the better. You read that right, horror fans. After 44 years of terror, murder, and trauma, Myers' rampage is finally reaching its conclusion, with him making his final stand against his enemy, Laurie Strode. That is unless Hollywood continues the franchise with another reboot. The 2018 installment of "Halloween" put the slasher film series on the right track with a thrilling back-to-basics thrill ride featuring one of Jamie Lee Curtis' best performances. While its follow-up, "Halloween Kills", doesn't reach some of its predecessor's heights, it's still enjoyable for its kills and plot. Now, we have the latest chapter that brings the nightmarish story that started in 2018's "Halloween" to a close. But is it satisfying enough to please the franchise's fans, or is it further proof that Michael should've stayed hidden? Let's find out.
The story is set four years after "Halloween Kills", where the masked figure Michael Myers (Courtney/Nick Castle) has remained hidden after his previous killing spree. Meanwhile, Laurie Strode (Curtis) is left to take care of her granddaughter Allyson (Matichak) following the death of her daughter Karen. With Michael out of the picture, Laurie has the opportunity to embrace life instead of living in fear. Unfortunately, her peaceful life is interrupted again when the psychotic madman returns to the scene. Additionally, Laurie encounters a young man named Corey Cunningham (Campbell), who's accused of killing a boy he was babysitting three years ago. With the town in danger once more, Laurie must end her nightmare once and for all by killing Michael, leading her to the ultimate battle that would determine her fate.
"Halloween Ends" has plenty to work with to bring this horror trilogy to a fulfilling end. While "Kills" had its moments, it also had a few flaws that rubbed most of the franchise's fans the wrong way. The final chapter sees David Gordon Green attempting to improve its predecessor by providing an exciting closure for Laurie while giving fans the usual slasher elements they expect from the previous "Halloween" films. Given how bloody and horrifying Myers' kills were in the last two installments, the latter shouldn't be much of a problem for Green to handle. The narrative, on the other hand, is where things take a curious turn.
One of the things that made the new "Halloween" trilogy stand out for me was not the brutality of Michael's kills. Instead, it's the commentary that lies within the murders. 2018's "Halloween" explored the essence of trauma and how it affects the survivor (mainly Laurie) and those closest to them. All while the characters were being haunted by a man in the mask. "Halloween Kills" expanded upon the dangers of trauma by showcasing people's unhealthy desire to kill Michael. Finally, we have "Ends", which examines how it influences their behavior towards others physically and mentally. While these movies are far from masterpieces, their central theme helped elevate the tension and realism of their scenarios rather than throw blood and guts at the screen every few minutes. But does it balance well with this film's storytelling? The short answer to that question is a yes. The long answer is yes, but it might not satisfy everyone like the previous installments.
The one crucial detail to know about Green's direction in "Ends" is that it's more contained and character-driven than "Halloween Kills". The majority of the first half shows the aftermath of the events in "Kills" and how they affect people's paranoia, while the rest of the movie plays off like any other "Halloween" movie we've seen. People criticize others based on their past actions, with those that caused the incidents being judged the worst, mainly Corey. It felt more like a drama than a full-on slasher movie, which almost caught me by surprise. This is an interesting gamble that Green has pulled, with a greater risk of losing the fans' trust. From my perspective, I thought this gamble paid off well, as the movie offered another well-acted and tense chapter in the ever-lasting film series.
The movie does have its share of familiar tropes we've seen in other films from the slasher and drama genres. Additionally, there's a party rave sequence that's extremely excruciating to my eyes with its flashing lights that appear every couple of seconds. Even worse is that it overstayed its welcome by a few minutes. However, "Halloween Ends" provided enough tolerance in the narrative to prevent them from being a nuisance, especially regarding its themes and surprises. The dramatic scenes were compelling and suitably haunting, and the horror aspects were pretty gruesome, even if they didn't match what the previous movies delivered regarding the kills and scares. Regardless of how violent it is, the story offers a decent amount of horror entertainment while painting an unnerving metaphoric portrait of humanity's dark side.
In addition to its plot, the film also took an opportunity to express the cast's worthy talent on screen. Jamie Lee Curtis is once again outstanding in her final appearance as Laurie. Curtis has been one of the main highlights of the trilogy due to how much she knows her character. She understands Laurie's pain and suffering from the past that traumatized her, and she infuses it with her acting abilities. The result is simply impossible for me to look away from. If it's really her last time playing Laurie, I'm happy to say that her farewell performance was as satisfying as the film's closure. Andi Matichak was also decent in her role as Allyson, and Rohan Campbell delivered a good mixture of fear and anger in his performance as Corey.
Overall, "Halloween Ends" brings the horrific journey that started with 2018's "Halloween" to a brutal and rewarding close. While it has some familiar flaws that may make Michael's final rampage far from memorable, the film provides enough tension in the horror and thematic aspects to deliver an entertainingly creepy finale. More importantly, it wasn't afraid to take some risks with the franchise's usual formula, which is something that may not please many fans of "Halloween". However, if you want to see something different from the franchise, you might get something good out of "Halloween Ends", even if it's not one of the high points of the iconic film series.