Director David Gordon Green
Screenplay Paul Brad Logan, Chris Bernier, Danny McBride, David Gordon Green
Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Will Patton, Rohan Campbell, Kyle Richards
The first hour of Halloween Ends is perhaps the weirdest, most pleasant twist in the history of the franchise. While not every aspect of the story works or even seems plausible, but the difference between this film and the first two of this modern trilogy is important: there is character building. The character being built is one Corey Cunningham (Campbell). Corey’s complexity eminates from a tragedy on Halloween 2019, a year after the events of Halloween 2018 and Halloween Kills. It has nothing to do with Michael Myers, aside from the fact that Haddonfield has continued to feel the weathered curse of his spree.
Now, in 2022, we see Corey stumbling humbly along, trying to avoid the pitfalls of the horror that he was part of while he works at the junk yard autoshop owned by his step-father. Of course there are town bullies taunting Corey. Because of this, he gets the sympathy of Laurie Strode (Curtis), who arranges a meeting with Allyson (Matichak), who has lived with her in a normal house in town since the events 4 years prior. The set up works.
Laurie, writing a memoir at the suggestion of Deputy Frank Hawkins (Patton) has found some happiness in life, but strangely not in the company of her obvious romantic match. Soon after her plan to bring Allyson and Corey together takes root, things begin to go awry.
To say that this is the most realistic of the new films is not entirely saying a whole lot. The first two films had moments of absurdity, along with some grusomely eloquent sequences with the best Myers since the original classic. In short, they were trash, but easy to enjoy. This film does an adequate job trying to piece together the weakest story elements of the earlier two parts, while building on the strengths. Instead of feeling like a perfunctrory last chapter, Gordon Green and company take such a tangent, it feels like anything but a Myers film.
But it is a Michael Myers film.
The Myers in Halloween Ends is different than any version seen prior to now. This is literal at some points. How he survived the last film is exemplified by the being we see, unsteady but still hungry. The last half of the film is set off by a kinetic bond shared with Myers and another character just by the look in each of their eyes. How this goes down with the viewer depends on whether or not one is strong enough to do the things we see them do.
For this viewer, the difference is so unique, it works to service the plot which is held together by the thinnest of threads.
For her last turn as Strode, Curtis gives us a different, nuanced survivor who is not going to let the spectre of her past dominate her future. Sure, she is screwed up, but she gets to act more than any film but the first, classic film. Sometimes this is good, like when she wakes Corey up in an abandoned house. Other times, it feels like Terminator 2 narration leftovers.
Even if Halloween Ends feels more uneven than the first two Gordon Green sequels. the film is better overall. 18 and Kills have some really nice camera work by Michael Simmonds. Ends doesn’t have any high mark sequences, but that doesn’t matter when you can identify character traits and at least some effort is made at explainable coherence.
This film, just by its differences, makes the first two Gordon Green films instantly better. We have to watch all three for the full effect, but the three parts are greater than the sum of the individual films. That the whole of them combined do not equal the greatness of Carpenter’s classic can be forgiven. Most films aren’t.
(*** out of *****)