halloween ends | sequel | slasher | halloween | david gordon green | paul brad logan | chris bernier | michael myers | danny mcbride | jamie lee curtis | andi matichak | james jude courtney | thriller | rohan campbell | will patton | united states | united kingdom
Film: Halloween Ends
Director: David Gordon Green
Writers: Paul Brad Logan, Chris Bernier, Danny McBride and David Gordon Green
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak and James Jude Courtney
This is a movie that I knew I’d see in the theaters. Jaime even joined me since she watched the previous installment from the year prior. I’ll be honest though, I’m not the biggest fan of the franchise or this line of sequels, but I still enjoy them. I was wondering what they were doing to do and the route they would go to ‘end’ this series.
Synopsis: four years after the events of Halloween in 2018, Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) has decided to liberate herself from fear and rage and embrace life. But when a young man is accused of a killing a boy he was babysitting, it ignites a cascade of violence and terror that will force her to finally confront the evil she can’t control, once and for all.
Now for this movie, we start in 2019. The effects of Michael Myers’ rampage are still felt. He seems to have disappeared, but the fear is there. Corey (Rohan Campbell) rides his bike to Mr. Allen (Jack William Marshall) and Mrs. Allen’s (Candice Rose) place. It is Halloween and they’re going to a party. Corey is there to watch their son, Jeremy (Jaxon Goldenberg). Tragedy strikes though, leaving the boy dead and Corey blamed.
It then shifts to the present. As the synopsis says, Laurie has decided to stop living in fear and now lives with granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak). She is working as a nurse in the nearby medical center while Laurie is writing a book about her ordeal. She is trying to move on, but even today, the effects of Michael still linger.
Corey also tried to move on with his life. He didn’t move away to go to engineering school and instead works at a junkyard with who I’m assuming is his stepfather, Ronald (Rick Moose). The townspeople of Haddonfield look down on him and he’s bullied by a group of high school students.
A couple of things change his outlook though. The first is that Laurie helps him and tries to set him up with Allyson. The other is an encounter with Michael Myers. This monstrous human sees something in him and doesn’t kill him. The killings in Haddonfield start up again, spiraling this town back in fear and paranoia.
That is where I’m going to leave my recap and introduction to the characters. Without necessarily going into spoilers, this movie did something that I wasn’t expecting. It is interesting that coming into seeing this, I saw a couple of people on social media post cryptic things that got me thinking. The first was from my friend Ken Sledge from over on Sledgehammer Horror. He said that if fans of a certain franchise movie hated this, they were being hypocritical. The other was from Dave Zee from the Exploding Heads Horror Movie Podcast. He said that they did something a bit different here and he loved where it went. Now what does that mean?
I’m not going to give away what the movie Ken is alluding to, but I like some what they do here. They don’t explain how Michael got away at the end of Halloween Kills, but it is what it is. I like that they toned down the over-the-top nature of the mob from that movie. This settles in that the evil of Michael is still here. Whenever someone is killed or takes their own life, they look back to him. It makes everyone uneasy. This plays in with the death of Jeremy and changing the life forever of Corey.
This character is where I’ll go next. I think that Campbell does a great job at being uneasy from this point on in the movie. He is bullied by most everyone he meets. This includes his mother, Joan (Joanne Baron). What is intriguing there is that she babies him while also being strict. Mrs. Allen as well as Terry (Michael Barbieri) and his group of friends are bullies. The mother makes sense, only in that she has to blame someone for the death of her son. These teens are jerks. The only person who is nice to him is Ronald. That is until he meets Laurie and then Allyson. The performance by Campbell is good in that he conveys that feeling of deserving what he is getting. He wants to be happy, but he can’t be. Allyson gives him hope. That hope can be dangerous though.
There is also an interesting change here with these characters. I love that Laurie sees what happened to her daughter and son-in-law. She doesn’t want that isolated life she’s been living. She moves in with Allyson and the two of them heal. This feels believable. The problem that I have is that writing is too awkward. There are so many interactions here that don’t feel real. They push almost everything early in this movie to a level of cringy. I’m not sure why as seeing where things go when we shift to the slasher elements finally, the performances aren’t bad. It feels like the writing team wanted to add drama and it didn’t work out how they wanted for me.
Being that this is a slasher, that is where I’ll go next. These elements are what brought me there. This movie is as brutal as the previous which I love. Michael wrecks people once again. The problem is that we don’t get a lot of it. There is the opening kill of Jeremy and then we get some lulls between getting more. This does something a bit different that I didn’t mind. I wasn’t sure if they were going to make Michael supernatural or not. There is a twinge of that, but I can work with it. The change made here I thought was solid to be honest and I went with it. There are people who will hate it for sure as I’m already seeing it.
Speaking of the slasher elements, I’ll go to the effects and the kills. This movie does go practical with what they can and CGI where they need to. I didn’t have issues here to be honest. There were kills that made me cringe which I loved. Jaime even had to cover her eyes at time so this is a success. I’ll include the cinematography as well. This is shot well. It is strategic if you can’t go practical or make it look good with CGI, cut away. The use of shadows help as well. The only gripe here is that I wanted more.
That will take me to the acting and I’ve already touched on this a bit. No one is great here, but I’m going to blame the writing more. I think we get a good send off for Curtis as Laurie. Matichak is fine once again as Allyson. She owns this role and is attractive. There are just some things with her character that made my eyes roll. I thought that Campbell was good too. Their ‘love’ connection just seems too rushed which is a gripe I have. James Jude Courtney has a good body shape to be Michael Myers. That works. I liked seeing Will Patton back as Frank. The rest of the cast is fine. Again, most of my issues is with the writing, not necessarily the performances. It is fun to see Kyle Richards back as Lindsey as well.
Last thing to go into before closing this out is the soundtrack. I love seeing John Carpenter back working with his son Codi. This is probably my least favorite of this new ‘trilogy’. This might not be their best work, but it is better than most slashers out there still. That is saying something.
In conclusion, this again is a polarizing film like the previous two. I like the changes that are made here. It makes it stand out and I think there’s an interesting commentary about Michael Myers and his effect on this town. If I have a gripe with the story, they focus too much on the human element that wasn’t fleshed out in a way that I cared. It is a bit too awkward. When they get to the slasher stuff, it is great. Going with that, the acting is good minus the ‘dramatic’ moments. The effects are good. The soundtrack is solid. For how many sequels we have this in franchise, I’ve seen much worse. I enjoyed my time with this one, even though it runs too long and could be trimmed.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10