Halloween Ends brings this trilogy to a rocky but ultimately fulfilling conclusion.
Halloween Ends (2022) Review By Mark McPherson
Published on October 19, 2022
Rating 3 /5
After the messy meanderings of Halloween Kills, the follow-up and trilogy-closer Halloween Ends finally feel like it’s touching on something deeper. While the last film harped momentarily on the draining nature of violence and revenge amid its chaos, this film has a firmer grasp on pushing the franchise into a more unique direction. It doesn’t always find the right tone for this newfound exploration of a town riddled with paranoia and fear, but the few times it manages to hit the right note, it sounds so good.
The film takes place a few years after the events of Halloween Kills, where Michael Meyers managed to escape and is once more on the loose. This sends the community of Haddonfield into a panic while staying on high alert. The fear transforms the once well-meaning teenager Corey into the villain of the community for an unfortunate accident that led to a murder. Now viewed as the town’s new antagonist, Corey finds himself feeling isolated and bitter for the bullying and shunning. Angered, he finds that maybe playing the villain might not be such a bad idea.
Noticing this disturbing trend is Laurie Storde (Jamie Lee Curtis), having tried to move on from her encounters with Michael Meyers. Despite spending the entire last film clamoring for how she needs to be the one that defeats Michael, she now has settled into the role of the grandma who bakes pies, flirts with a police officer, and speaks absurdly openly about sex with her granddaughter. Life seems to be going sweet for her. Well, that is, until someone from the community reminds her about Michael Meyers and she retreats into a bottle. She is trying to handle her past via a memoir but is still haunted and triggered by Michael’s evil spirit that looms over the community.
The dynamic between Corey and Laurie creates an interesting battle of outcasts trying to move on and find meaning in their lives. Laurie has spent the past two films dealing with trauma and reverts to making a better life for herself where she doesn’t live in fear of Michael Meyers. He seems to be gone for her. But what about when the next Michael Meyers comes along? Will she be able to stop someone else from putting on the mask and killing again? It’s a fascinating scenario that is never given a proper or clean answer, considering the bloodshed that follows.
But, hold on, where exactly is Michael Meyers in all this exploration of violence and revenge? Don’t worry, Michael is still present and he does get in some decent slashings here and there. However, he’s treated more like an embodiment of evil rather than the central villain to defeat (at least until the third act). Most of the film portrays Michael more as an influence on Corey. Laurie tries to offer Corey compassion but there’s only so much that she and her granddaughter can give amid the town’s disgusting social decay. Michael, however, offers up an unquestioning thirst for revenge. He’s the temptation of evil that draws out a part of Corey that he wants to fulfill when it feels like the town left him behind.
Now, relax, this slasher isn’t all high-minded ideas. There’s still some vicious kills on display, where characters get their chests repeatedly stabbed and faces melted. Let’s just say the best kill happens at a radio station and uses one of the records in a clever way. The violence is so over-the-top, however, that it runs the risk of losing sight of the message of the picture. There are other scenes which also fall flat with the intended emotion that they lose their grip on making this a Halloween movie about something more profound than the series has had before.
Halloween Ends brings this trilogy to a rocky but ultimately fulfilling conclusion. It taps into something beyond that mere “Will Laurie defeat Michael?” showdown that all the promos promise. For some, that may be a dealbreaker. Personally, I’m pleased to see a horror franchise willing to take that risk rather than serve up a lukewarm legacy-sequel where Laurie finally defeats the long-time killer of the saga.
Mark has been a professional film critic for over five years and a film lover all his life.