“Halloween Ends” hits the nostalgia itch hard

If you’re looking for something spooky this Halloween, you’ve got plenty of choices; maybe don’t waste your time with Halloween Ends. 

  • Directed by: David Gordon Green
  • Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, Rohan Campbell, James Jude Courtney
  • Horror/Thriller | R | 1 hr 51 min
  • In Theaters and Streaming on Peacock

By Reed Ripley

Just like its predecessor, Halloween Kills, Halloween Ends tells you exactly what it is with its title – a supposed end to the long-running saga between sometimes bogeyman, sometimes strongman Michael Myers and Laurie Strode. For all our sake, let’s hope that’s true. 

One of Halloween Kills’ biggest flaws was its baffling decision to hide Strode, the original Scream Queen played by the immensely talented Jamie Lee Curtis, for most of its too-long runtime. The core tension and fascination of these movies is the Laurie-Michael relationship, especially when you have someone as great as Curtis to execute. If you go away from that, you better have a great reason, and Kills didn’t. 

Halloween Ends not only makes the same mistake, but unlike Kills, it also fails to feature Michael Myers, the knife-wielding psychopath through which the franchise blossomed, in any meaningful way. Even worse, Michael and Laurie are on every poster, and the tagline is literally “the saga of Michael Myers and Laurie Strode comes to a spine-chilling climax,” yet the film seemingly wants nothing to do with them save for an admittedly climactic showdown in the closing minutes. 

Rather than focus on Laurie and Michael, Ends chooses the story of Corey (Rohan Campbell), a young man haunted by a terrible mistake in his past that led to a child’s death. The town shuns him for it, and that ostracization twists him into the monster the town believes him to be. That’s fine in theory, and the cold open scene that shows that terrible mistake is actually quite effective. But after that, Corey’s story is plagued with bizarre choices that render the entire thing ineffective, including a forced relationship with Laurie’s granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak) and a confusing link to Myers. If you’re going to swing a Halloween film away from Laurie, and especially Myers, you better have the story goods, and Ends definitively does not. 

In retrospect, 2018’s Halloween reboot-sequel is more like Star Wars’ The Force Awakens than a true inventive twist on its namesake franchise: moderately successful execution whose primary draw is playing the hits. Halloween hits that nostalgia itch hard, and it’s perfectly fine and enjoyable for what it is. But when that nostalgia hit fades away, there better be some substance underneath, and just like Star Wars’ The Rise of Skywalker, Halloween Ends curdles into uninteresting, and sometimes actively frustrating, slop.

Contrary to what something like Halloween Ends might suggest, horror is in an amazing place right now as a genre. Just this year, Scream, The Black Phone, Barbarian, The Invitation, and most recently Smile all had successful box office runs, and that’s not even including something like Jordan Peele’s Nope, which certainly feints at horror, or Ti West’s critically acclaimed X and its prequel, Pearl

Streaming is great, too, where the service Shudder (possibly the service with the most defined identity) consistently cranks out quality films (Raven’s Hollow, Who Invited Them, V/H/S/99), and Hulu continues to offer its own revamped franchise entries (Prey, Hellraiser). So, if you’re looking for something spooky this Halloween, you’ve got plenty of choices; maybe don’t waste your time with Halloween Ends

Reed Ripley is a local attorney with a flare for reviewing movies. You can find more of his  reviews at Ripleysreviews.com

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: