Many are Asking When Halloween Ends (2022)
Title: Halloween Ends
First Non-Festival Release: October 12, 2022 (Theatrical Release)
Director: David Gordon Green
Writer: John Carpenter, Debra Hill, Paul Brad Logan
Runtime: 111 Minutes
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Rohan Campbell
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Years following the events of Halloween Kills, the town of Haddonfield is struggling to move on from the terror of Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney). Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) lives with Alyson (Andi Matichak) and is focused on finishing her memoir in an effort to heal from her trauma and let go of the fear that has consumed her life. A local man, Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell), wrestles with his reputation as a child killer after a boy he was babysitting died in his care. One day, some townsfolks take it too far and another spree of killings begins.
An earnest take on community trauma bogs down the viciousness and cohesiveness of the slasher roots in Halloween Ends.
At this point in the series, there is only so much a creative team can do to make Michael Myers’ return to Haddonfield, Illinois interesting. Having been killed and brought back to life so many times across timelines, it is refreshing to see the team try something different in Halloween Ends. This trilogy explores the reach of trauma and how it not only affects individuals but communities, reverberating long after the tragedy ensues.
The community of Haddonfield has been through so much over the years and has not been able to heal due to the unknown status of Michael Myers. Is he dead? Has he moved on to another community to terrorize? Could something worse be coming? These questions infect the city like a virus, as community members use his story against each other and themselves. This leads to the tragic downfall of Corey who serves as an interesting antagonist throughout Halloween Ends.
A logical next step for the town of Haddonfield is to move on from the terror they have experienced. Unfortunately, due to the way fear has gripped their community in whispers for decades only to be punctured once again by the return of Michael Myers, there is little hope for this. Of the many instances of violence erupting in the town, none have been so affecting as Corey’s accidental killing of a young boy, Jeremy (Jaxon Goldenberg). He becomes the town’s next pariah in a series of devastating blows to his self-esteem and stability. Inevitably this leads him down a dark path into becoming the very thing everyone claims he is based on his mistake.
Exploring the cyclical nature of trauma in a slasher franchise film is a unique way to bring back the boogeyman but the story gets mangled to the point where it loses its charms. There are so many instances where the character development of both Corey and Michael makes little sense. Their relationship particularly scratches heads. For a specter that is described as pure evil, what would make Michael decide Corey is the one to carry on his legacy beyond the look in his eyes? Michael has indiscriminately killed for decades and been housed with plenty of younger, vicious killers and that hasn’t given him a reason to take on a sidekick. Even still, Corey’s rash and off-putting behavior afterwards surely would be reason enough for their partnership to end sooner.
These inconsistencies continue with the Strode family. After surviving tragedy together, we learn, through a lengthy, omniscient Laurie Strode via voiceover, that starting over means buying a house in downtown Haddonfield? There are plenty of instances where her journey through trauma makes sense like writing a memoir, getting over invested in her granddaughter’s love life, and being hesitant to go on a Japanese vacation with her retired police officer crush. Her choices in the finale make little sense, however, after Allyson seems to choose Corey over her. Her fake suicide call and decision to unload her gun out of nowhere seem more out of convenience to the story than anything.
Beyond the characterization issues, the major roadblock for Halloween Ends is its tonal inconsistencies. This sequel is filled with so many unintentionally hilarious moments that go beyond the general campiness of a slasher. It would be one thing for a franchise that is known for this, but Halloween has always attempted to lean serious, even if it doesn’t quite manage. From out of place lines, odd scenarios, and plot points that get dropped altogether, there is no shortage of head scratching moments here.
Despite all the negativity, at the end of the day Halloween Ends is an aggressively fine franchise film that disappoints due to the promising start of the new trilogy. It boasts several kill scenes and scare sequences that are genuinely fun and shocking eliciting plenty of gasps from the theater goers who chose to watch in person. The set design and location scouting are excellent at making the sleepy suburban town come to life while also serving as a horrific backdrop of murder and mayhem. Sadly, atmosphere and aesthetics enough cannot save Halloween Ends from its goofy story and jumbled messages.
Many horror fans hold the Halloween franchise close to their hearts, so when any meaningful attempt to deviate from the expected is made there is bound to be backlash. This modern trilogy has progressively depreciated in quality, with Halloween Ends being the first one to dip drastically. The choices in Halloween Ends are honorable but misguided in their execution. Between the yo-yo characterization for the beloved Laurie Strode and completely sidelining Michael Myers for the majority of the film, Halloween Ends destroys much of the goodwill built by the time it reaches its silly conclusion. While the overall reception from disappointed fans has been overdramatic, there is truth in the noticeable degradation of quality in this series. Whether you love it or hate it, Halloween Ends and the rest of this trilogy has left an impact that will surely be felt by fans for decades.
Overall Score? 5/10