Halloween Ends (2022)
Warning up front, it’s pretty tough to review Halloween Ends without delving into spoilers, both major and minor. The story was kept under wraps prior to release and is only hinted at in the purposely deceptive trailer below, which features lines of dialogue and scenes not in the final movie. So if you want to remain unspoiled stop reading after the trailer.
My quick spoiler-free take: Halloween Ends is a step up from Halloween Kills but that is damning with faint praise. Neither movies come close to the very good Halloween 2018. Ends is better but I wouldn’t call it good. The question you have to ask is, did we really need three movies to tell this story when one would have sufficed and been more satisfying?
It has been four years since the bloody night in 2018 when Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) returned to Haddonfield and massacred his way through the town and then disappeared without a trace after murdering Laurie’s daughter Karen (Judy Greer). In that time (rather inexplicably) Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has embraced normalcy and left her survivalist fervor from the previous two movies behind.
She now lives in a cozy Haddonfield neighborhood with her granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak), writing a book about her terrifying experiences. In a voiceover as Laurie is reading from her manuacript, she tells us that the new house is just a house and not a trap. This is despite Michael Myers still missing and out on the loose somewhere.
Allyson is working as a nurse at a clinic and meets Corey (Rohan Campbell) a local pariah responsible for the accidental death of a young boy in 2019. Corey is tormented for his role in the accident and Allyson, with a zeal bordering on obsession, sets out to “fix” him. One night some band geeks gang up on Corey and through incredulity stretching coincidence, he finds himself in a drainpipe standing face-to-face with Michael Myers.
Instead of killing him, as he kills everyone, Michael appears to see a kinship of evil in Corey’s eyes. Soon Corey is carrying on Michael’s legacy and taking revenge on those who wronged him. Evil, according to Halloween Ends, is an infection. And Corey has a case of the evils.
From the above description, you can probably tell this movie is one hell of a swerve from what you are expecting as a series finale. It takes elements from other movies, most notably John Carpenter’s Christine, Stephen King’s IT, and Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (not exactly a shining gem in that franchise).
How much you enjoy this movie is going to be directly proportional to how much you liked Allyson as a character because she is the lead along with Corey. Their doomed Romeo & Juliet romance takes up the bulk of the slow moving story for better or worse, mostly worse.
Allyson is desperate to leave Haddonfield behind and you can’t blame her for that. Over the course of these movies, the atmosphere of Haddonfield has changed. After the events of the previous bloody night, the town seems to blame Laurie for goading Michael to attack, leading to all the deaths. Corey is harassed everywhere he goes because of a tragic accident.
The town has turned mean, similar to Derry, Maine in IT. The unspoken cause is the unseen but powerful evil of Michael Myers as he hides in a sewer snatching unsuspecting victims. His evil, similar to Pennywise the Clown, has bled out and infected the town. It’s an ugly place and so are its citizens.
This gets deeper into spoiler territory, but Michael Myers kills a grand total of one person in Halloween Ends unassisted. In his epic swan song, this grand hyped conclusion, he is on screen for maybe ten minutes. He doesn’t even appear on screen until almost an hour into the two-hour runtime.
Almost all of his screen time is for the finale which, while well-staged, is basically a remix of the same battle in Halloween 2018. The absence of Michael Myers is one of the most bizarre choices screenwriters David Gordon Green (returning to direct), Paul Brad Logan, Chris Bernier, and Danny McBride make here. Relegating Michael Myers to an extended cameo in the series finale is certainly a choice. Regardless, it’s a gamble that doesn’t work. Most of the killing is done by Corey who morphs into a motorcycle-riding bad boy through the course of his spree. Evil looks good on him!
Speaking of the kills, this brings me to the most disappointing aspect of this movie. Very few characters that are killed in Halloween Ends can be viewed as sympathetic. The best Halloween movies have usually done a good job of introducing likable people before putting them in the path of Michael Myers, making you fear for them.
Here it’s pretty easy to tell who will be on the chopping block by asking yourself who you most want to see die. The victims are all enormously unlikable so when they meet their ends, it’s not scary because you don’t care about them. Gruesome at times, but not scary. Consequently, neither is the movie.
Irritatingly, the director wants to have it both ways by never answering “Is Michael supernatural or not?” Given the amount of punishment he has taken in 2018 he certainly seems to have super strength. When Corey first encounters Michael it appears that Michael is so weak he needs someone to bring him victims. After he kills he seems to get stronger. Which certainly leans toward “supernatural” to me. But Ends never makes up its mind, so Michael’s strength levels fluctuate from scene to scene as the script requires.
Strangely most returning characters such as Lindsey (Kyle Richards) or Frank (Will Patton) never come close to danger in Halloween Ends. This again softens any inherent tension or suspense. However, the last battle between Laurie and Michael does carry weight, and it’s an exciting fight. It is worth recommending the movie on this alone and I wish the rest of the movie had the same dramatic heft.
It’s time for the ending spoilers so if you don’t want to know how this all wraps up, get out now.
Laurie baits Corey, masked up as Michael, into coming for her and shoots him. Then Corey finishes himself off by stabbing himself in the neck to frame Laurie just as Allyson comes home. Allyson stupidly thinks Laurie has murdered her boyfriend unnecessarily despite Corey dressed as Michael lying with the mask next to him. She leaves, and Laurie wanders into the kitchen and collapses in grief.
Meanwhile, the real Michael Myers appears and takes the mask from Corey, who is still alive and puts up a brief fight. Michael twists his neck finishing Corey off for good. He then attacks Laurie, they have an extended fight, and Laurie impales him with knives on her countertop(????), tears off his mask, and stabs him in several major organs. Blood is pouring out of him but he still gets an arm free and chokes Laurie.
Just as Laurie’s almost done for Allyson returns, snaps Michaels’ arm (??) and Laurie cuts his throat. He finally stops moving. The police all arrive to find this bloody mess and the dead body of Michael Myers. In a final act of vigilante justice the cops agree to tie the corpse of Michael Myers to the top of Allyson’s crappy car (???) and drive it in a huge procession (????) to the local junkyard. There Laurie pushes Michael’s body into a metal grinder and his body is completely obliterated on screen in a very gruesome, improbable, yet satisfying scene.
Later we see Allyson finally driving away from Haddonfield, Laurie finishes her book, and in voiceover intones that “evil doesn’t die, it just changes shape.” Then she has a nice chat with Frank on her porch and appears to be planning to leave Haddonfield with him for an extended vacation. The last shot in the movie is of Michael’s mask (?) on Laurie’s coffee table. There are no after-credits scenes, no stinger, and no indication the story will continue.
This also may be the first time in series history we have seen November 1 in daylight. Halloween has finally ended for Haddonfield. And hopefully for moviegoers.
Note: “?” indicates my level of incredulity toward what was happening.
Ugh, I feel like I HAVE watched it. Sounds like what I’ve heard from other people. Not scary, not satisfying. But hey, someone at Miramax is sitting in a hot tub full of champagne, lighting a cigar with a hundred dollar bill while a lackey congratulates them on the movie making a profit. So in a sense, we’ve all fulfilled our roles. Maybe they should have called it Halloween Wins.