PG Score: 5.5/10
Halloween Ends was released in theaters on 10/15/22 and is currently streaming on Peacock
Halloween Ends co-writer/director David Gordon Green (The Righteous Gemstones and Stronger) brandishes the blade once more to put the finishing touches on his continuation of the 1978 classic. What begins as a semi-intriguing departure from the usual path soon deteriorates into a vexing attempt to turn the franchise on its head. Perhaps following too closely in the footsteps of the masked antagonist, Green butchers any interesting ideas beyond recognition. Despite another devout performance from Jamie Lee Curtis, Halloween Ends takes the trilogy out with a whimper.
The supposed closing chapter (yeah, right) in the esteemed horror universe takes place four years after the events of Halloween Kills. The highly anticipated finale sees Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) confront the seemingly unstoppable force known as Michael Myers one last time.
The opening is the best part of the film by a landslide and takes an unexpected approach to kick things off. It is one of many deviations from the typical Halloween formula, but it is the only one to be met with open arms. The clever setup and effective misdirection conjure an atmosphere so thick with tension that Michael Myers’s level strength is required to cut through it. The suspense keeps viewers on the edge of their seats until Green strikes the decisive chord in thunderous fashion. It only goes downhill from there, however. A couple of compelling narrative sparks begin to flicker but are thoroughly extinguished by incomplete follow-through. Ultimately, the solid start only leads to disappointment as the remaining 100 minutes reveal it to be a false promise.
Slow Start/Strange Detours
One of the easier targets for ire is how long the movie takes to get going. Following the bold beginning, the storyline shifts to a pseudo-drama with twisted remnants of romance inexplicably thrown in. It is a bewildering detour that has no business being in any Halloween entry, let alone the conclusion. The fact it occurs with the renowned John Carpenter back on board as an executive producer makes it even more puzzling. Halloween Ends stays in this strange state long enough that when it eventually reaches a remotely appealing place, it is too late. The damage has been done, and Green is fighting a losing battle to reinvigorate an audience that has likely checked out halfway through the second act.
Outside of a few exceptions, the intense finishers that fans have grown accustomed to over the course of thirteen films are nowhere to be found. Michael Myers may not be as spry as he was when his rampage began over four decades ago, but that does not excuse the dull dispatching on display. The severe lack of innovation means a meager payoff for the already lackluster stalking scenes. While there is very little tension to be had for most of the victim encounters, there are two confrontations that earn their spot in what could very well be Jamie Lee Curtis’s last hurrah.
An Injustice to Curtis
If this is really the actress’s final portrayal of Laurie Strode, then Halloween Ends is an unworthy send-off. As a close to both Green’s trilogy and possibly the entire saga, the latest movie is largely a botched experiment. After watching Curtis pour her blood, sweat, and tears into the legendary character, the unfulfilling ending leaves a bitter aftertaste.
Overall, a Disappointment
In his first two installments, David Gordon Green proved that the rebooted sequels were in capable hands. His success with the revered slasher franchise makes his collapse that much more painful. Halloween Ends is not a complete failure, but it does fall well short of the standard established by its predecessors. Laurie Strode deserves better.