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Review: Halloween Ends

2018's Halloween was a mostly satisfying continuation of Laurie Strode's (Jamie Lee Curtis) story, as she had become a woman driven by fear, ready for Michael Myers' return. Last year's Halloween Kills was a mess that failed our heroine by keeping her in a hospital bed for much of the film. Halloween Ends now relegates Michael to the sewers and continues on a trajectory that feels like it is getting further away from the central thing that makes the Halloween films work, the battle between Laurie and Michael.

Fans should temper their hopes for another Haddonfield bloodbath at the hands of Myers. For this grand finale, director David Gordon Green and co-writer Danny McBride have created a scattershot story that largely sidesteps any reverence for the original and instead focuses on how Myers' evil spreads. That isn't to say there isn't a climactic fight between Laurie and Michael, it is just a long road to get there. The idea to explore how a small town is affected by decades of brutal murders is an interesting one. The narrative logic however is akin to a child trying to tell you a story they just read, it is frantic and hard to follow.

There are elements of Halloween Ends that work. It is shot nicely, the score still kicks, it has some fun kills and Curtis is a joy. Laurie and her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) are recovering from the events of Halloween Kills. Laurie is working on a book about her survival. A major new character is introduced, Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell), a young man who is ostracized by townsfolk for getting off after accidentally killing a young boy. He represents the town's mental state, a manifestation of evil. He could be an interesting addition but the film keeps him from ever feeling real. His story gets ridiculous and his behavior is often eye-rolling. The more unfortunate thing is how he affects the character of Allyson. She has been through so much trauma and has been face-to-face with pure evil, yet can't see the danger Corey presents. It makes her go from a strong, fierce character to a complete moron, undermining her intelligence and agency.

With so much of the story being devoted to Corey, Michael is barely in the film. When he does finally come to crash the party, the film picks up and delivers a mostly satisfying nail in the coffin of this story. Plodding and heavy-handed, Halloween Ends is a minor improvement over Halloween Kills. When the creative team behind these films can't even stay interested in Michael Myers, maybe it is time to retire this franchise.



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