★★ out of ★★★★★
Directed by David Gordon Green.
Like all hyper-beloved franchises there’s no way to end them in a satisfactory way. Save for MASH and the great Hawkeye Pierce, every last franchise has fumbled, bungled, and tied themselves in the most Gordian of Gordian Knots. Sadly, even with a stellar writing and directing crew, Halloween was not able to properly end.
While Dr. Loomis is probably and understandably rolling in his grave right now, his Halloween Ends rolling is not unwarranted. The final showdown between Michael and Laurie, 44 years in the making, had a litany of problems, among them:
- A new character! Yes, you read that right. The final installment contains an entirely new character, Corey (Rohan Campbell) with an entirely different serial killer story arch. It’d be if they decided to wrap up the Indiana Jones franchise with an awkward introduction to Alabama Johnson.
- The new character has a flaky and undercooked psychic relationship with Michael Myers who inadvertently/purposely turns him to a life of lonely killing.
- Laurie’s granddaughter, the only surviving member of her tribe, conveniently falls for the new serial killer on the block — who, again, happens to be under the watchful tutelage of Michael Myers.
- Serial Killer Corey seeks out Michael to learn how to kill. If we’ve learned anything over 44 years is that Michael is pure evil and he doesn’t have Master Class side hustle teaching would be serial killers how to kill.
- The film culminates on Halloween night, but there’s nothing to establish this as Halloween, save for a little rain. There’s no pumpkins out, there’s no trick o’ treaters, there’s no adult parties, and there’s no decorations. Given the care all the previous films made in establishing this very special night, this is a weird cinematic choice to be sure.
- Laurie and Michael eventually battle, but the choreography ends up looking like one of the Jason Bourne films, as opposed to a couple septuagenarians fumbling around with knives in the kitchen.
- The mob mentality carries over from Halloween Kills, but now the mob has evolved into an off-putting Wicker Man-like cult whose end goal is to K-I-L-L. The vigilante behavior that’s exhibited is far stranger than anything Michael has ever chopped up.
- There are a handful of call-backs to prior installments, but they’re largely shoe-horned into the film and their clumsy presentation holds little nostalgia and reverence for its forefathers.
- Most frustratingly is that we were promised, yes promised, Michael vs. Laurie, but instead we get Corey vs. the world. Mark these words, Corey will be sadly remembered as one of the worst characters ever laid down on the silver screen.
While it’s cathartic to let loose on this traumatizing feature, Halloween is not without its high points. They’re few in number, but they are there:
- Halloween by the Dead Kennedys and I Was A Teenage Werewolf by the Cramps make two INCREDIBLE appearances. Well placed, super-fun, and 100 percent value-added.
- Nick Castle, AKA the Shape, AKA the original Michael Myers, makes a pretty funny appearance punctuated with a great line “See anything you like?”
- Jamie Lee Curtis. She’s still pretty damn cool after all these years. Nuff Said.
Halloween Ends is Rated R and in theaters everywhere.