Halloween itself may be over, but there is one movie that arrived in cinemas recently that is very reminiscent of Halloween that I have been meaning to write about: “Halloween Ends,” the third and final installment of the Halloween soft-reboot trilogy.
Directed by David Gordon Green, Halloween Ends picks up a few years after the events of the last film with Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) trying to live a normal life with her granddaughter Allison (Andi Matichak). Michael has been missing for years, and in that time, Laurie has moved on and is trying to write her memoirs. However, when Allison’s new boyfriend, Corey (Rohan Campbell), begins to show an “evil,” inside of him, Laurie must save her granddaughter and confront evil one last time.
When the 2018 remake of “Halloween” hit cinemas, I was favorable to the film, giving it “three stars out of four.” However, after the frustrating disappointment that was “Halloween Kills,” I was worried whether the filmmakers had learned from their mistakes, and sadly, it seems as though they have not. The biggest issue with this misfire of a horror film, is that it suffers from a case of disjointed writing. Did you catch how I did not even mention Michael Meyers in my synopsis? That is by design, because it seems to me as though most of the film was written to be a psychological, crime-thriller. This is made especially evident with the character of Corey and how he is driven to murderous insanity after years of mistreatment by the townspeople of Haddonfield. It feels as though the filmmakers wanted to produce something like “Taxi Driver” or “Fight Club” and forgot this is a Halloween movie.
Compounding this strange sense of direction and writing is the film’s adoration with gazing at its own navel. The film obsesses over the concept of evil, both externally with Michael Meyers, and internally with how evil can manifest inside of somebody. Laurie Strode even has two monologues in the film, one in the beginning with a completely unnecessary voiceover narration where she talks about Michael’s crimes infecting Haddonfield like a “plague,” and another later where she talks about the “evil that lives inside of us.” I am all for filmmakers trying to be profound and thought-provoking, but director David Gordon Green ends up making the film come off as pretentious and silly.
In addition, the problem with the writing extends to the characterization of the cast. Aside from Laurie, the filmmakers really do not seem to know how to write the other characters. Michael Meyers is barely in the movie, and when he is, he is a total weakling. Adding to this, almost everyone in Haddonfield is written to be total jerks, even Alison herself at times. It is these moments where the film becomes farcical, such as when Corey tells Allison he murdered a man… only for Allison to brush it off, or when Allison begins to blame Laurie for Michael’s crimes.
It is a shame because there are a couple of things the film does have going for it, such as good performances by the main cast. Curtis does a wonderful job making Laurie feel more fleshed-out than just a badass grandmom, and Campbell does a solid job of going from tragic victim to serial killer by the end.
Aside from the acting, the film does bring up some interesting social critique. For one, the film criticizes society for how we can take personal tragedies and make it about ourselves rather than those really affected. Like the film’s predecessors, the movie does also take shots at our societal obsession with true crime and how it can prevent those victimized by those crimes from moving on. All this however feels very out of place in a franchise that, despite the filmmakers’ incessant philosophizing, is about a serial killer in a mask who murders babysitters and random bystanders.
Despite the power of the performances, the film’s confusing writing and bizarre directorial choices by David Gordon Green sabotages this conclusion to the trilogy. Had this soft-reboot trilogy ended with 2018’s “Halloween,” it would have been all the better for it. I rate “Halloween Ends” 1.5 stars out of 4.
Kelly Baker is an alumnus of West Chester University.