Halloween Ends (2022)

Directed by David Gordon Green; Written by Paul Brad Logan, Chris Bernier, Danny McBride and David Gordon Green

Laurie Strode talks about two kinds of evil. There’s that from without, obvious and threatening, and that from within, which has the potential to consume you without ever realizing, making a monster of you. 

She says this during a bloody confrontation during Halloween Ends, the final chapter in David Gordon Green’s trilogy (and the Halloween saga as a whole!?) and by doing so, she tries to explain the monster she’s been fighting for the better part of 40 years. Because how else do you try to provide closure to a story about one woman’s bout with an unceasing, unfeeling, unthinking being who’s only wish in life is to end that of others?

Green and co-writers Logan, Bernier, and McBride wrestle with this for most of Halloween Ends, even as the blood starts spraying and we’re meant to give into baser instincts and squirm and whelp as the beleaguered citizens of Haddonfield, IL, must endure one more trip through the meat grinder.

Set some time since Halloween Kills (2021), Laurie had made her peace with being a murder target. Back in the role that made her famous, Jamie Lee Curtis is looking less like the recluse we were introduced to in Halloween (2020) and despite the losses she’s experienced, she’s feeling pretty chipper. She’s moved into town and lives with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), who’s doing similarly well under the circumstances. Laurie’s homely, carves pumpkins, decorates and is even writing a book trying to get the final word on the whole affair. 

On the other side of town there’s Corey (Rohan Campbell, strong soft boi energy), who’s similarly haunted, only his tormentor is public opinion, as he’s a pariah in light of what happened to a child he was babysitting on Halloween night three years prior. He works in his dad’s body shop, shuffles around trying not to make eye contact with locals, and gets bullied by members of the high school marching band. He and Allyson find each other and bond over being an item of public consumption, but the pent up rage Corey’s carrying around is putting a fire in his eye that Laurie doesn’t care for, because she’s seen it in someone else…

Despite the daughter-grandmother tension over boys, Halloween Ends is a techno banger conclusion to something that began with chilly synths decades ago, and action is the operative word for Green from get-go.  

Jump-scares and loud noises are meant to pick at your nerves while you scout the screen’s edges for a familiar white face. Laurie says Haddonfield is infected by Michael Meyers, tormenting its citizens even if they don’t know it, and for the viewer that manifests in an abrasive sound design of blaring radio, wheels screeching and whooshing cars, angry shouts and fire alarms. Get away from here, everything seems to say.

Maybe that’s because those who do stay have a gruesome time of it, and while slasher films like this don’t go easy on the gore and have their fair share of gnarly deaths, Halloween Ends has a brutality to it that might leave some dumbstruck at the outright viciousness at times. 

Green and friends want it to be more than just a wild slash of the knife, and that’s perhaps to its detriment. Laurie philosophizes in a voiceover about life as a survivor in an attempt to hand down life lessons that no one should ever really be able to relate to. While Laurie’s talks feel overworked, other elements feel underdeveloped, with those elements meant to build an emotional ballast coming off rushed and difficult to believe. Can’t believe it’s the masked silent killer’s motivations I have an easier time believing.

The first Halloween was a lesson in the power of simplicity. It was eerie and terrified you with nothing but a shape and clever framing, turning an everyday suburban neighborhood into haunted ground, while barely a word was spoken. Halloween Ends wants to have the last word, and spends too much time trying to find it. 

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