The final film of the new trilogy is the worst of the bunch
Curiously the “planned” trilogies for revisited franchises in recent years have all be horrendously planned. From the recent trio of Star Wars movies, to the Jurassic World films, and now the Halloween reboots, they all seem to start with a promising entry, and they completely bungle their sequels with no idea where to take their story.
Halloween Ends (2022) is the capping film to the new Halloween trilogy from David Gordon Green. We revisit Haddonfield, Illinois, which has spent a couple of years without seeing serial killer Michael Meyers (James Jude Courtney). Original survivor Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is settling in for a peaceful life, until she sets up her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) with the tormented, but seemingly sweet Corey (Rohan Campbell). Corey hides a tragedy in his past, which might end up taking him down a dark path.
Gordon Green made the surprising jump to horror after his more high-brow festival-circuit films. His first film of this new trilogy, Halloween (2018), proved enjoyable enough, and was certainly best film in the franchise after the original 1978 flick. His follow-up Halloween Kills (2021), however, was a sluggish mess that inadvertently endorsed mob violence and failed to move the story forward in any significant way. With Halloween Ends, the potential for a grand finale is completely scampered for a head-scratching narrative that is completely irrelevant to the previous films. Lee Curtis is yet again a supporting character in her own story, and Michael Meyers doesn’t even appear until the final fifteen minutes. As the film ended, it increasingly felt like the filmmakers only had fifteen-minutes’ worth of a conclusion to their trilogy and had to insert a filler story to make the length of their runtime extend.
Gordon Green focuses the majority of Halloween Ends around the character of Corey, who becomes our protagonist for nearly the entire film. To build a trilogy towards a finale with a certain set of character, and then introduce a completely new protagonist in the final film is the perfect symptom of the creative mess this film delivers. Campbell does a rather fine job in his role, but the writing of the film is far too weak to make his storyline appear moderately interesting. There is a feeble attempt at prodding towards the nature of evil, whether it’s nature or nurture that feeds it, but this is quickly abandoned for melodramatic antics.
What might frustrate many about this latest entry in the Halloween franchise, is that it is probably the least scary film in the series. Halloween Ends seems convinced it is a character study instead, and thus focuses on face-palming drama and romance, where every line is cringe-inducing, and you are almost begging for a blood-splatter to save the actors from embarrassment. This makes Halloween Ends compare unfavorably to the already bad Halloween Kills; while the latter was a bad film, Halloween Ends suffers from worse: being boring.
Sadly, Jamie Lee Curtis isn’t able to get the star vehicle she deserved. Halloween Ends evidences a complete lack of a roadmap for this trilogy, which seemed to be making things up along the way. This disappointing finale fails in all aspects: from barely being scary, to not focusing on the core aspects of its franchise, and being a cringe-worthy and boring story. If this is truly the end of Halloween (I doubt it will be), let’s hope it’s finally put out of its misery.