What better way to kick off 2023’s Month Of Spooks than with Halloween Ends?
While it’s not unjust to suggest that David Gordon Green’s rebooted HALLOWEEN trilogy rivals the STAR WARS sequel trilogy for poor planning and even worse execution but the saving grace here is that where THE RISE OF SKYWALKER marked a nadir that ATTACK OF THE CLONES could only dream of, HALLOWEEN ENDS marks a change of trajectory from its execrable predecessor and feels like a slight mid-story reboot. That’s not to say it doesn’t still owe something to JJ Abrams’ crime against cinema. After all, what other phrase defines the entire Halloween franchise better than “Somehow, Michael Myers returned”?
The opening of the film feels more like the opening of a SCREAM movie – especially one of the later ones – but nevertheless is an effective scene-setter for the murderous mayhem to come although its impact is somewhat blunted by it being followed by Laurie Strode’s “Previously on Halloween” expositional opening recap, a recap which takes the traumatised, obsessed revenge-prepper of the first two films and sets her up as someone who’s come to terms with her past and started afresh. It almost feels like there’s a missing movie between this one and HALLOWEEN KILLS.
HALLOWEEN ENDS has a really strong eighties slasher vibe which is stylistically on-point for the franchise but where it surprises most is that it’s packed with more ideas than most of the other movies churned out since John Carpenter first painted that William Shatner mask and put a knife in the hand of The Shape back in 1978 put together, even if they’re not always fully exploited. The idea of dark fascinations leading to dark outcomes has, of course, been flirted with before and there’s always been an element of the blurring of lines between Strode and her bogeyman but this is, unbelievably, the first time the series has fully embraced the idea of a copycat running amok in Haddonfield.
The set-up of (albeit accidental) killer babysitter versus babysitter killer plays out with some weird story decisions but overall, I think I dig it? The gradual corruption of Corey (an excellent Rohan Campbell) and Strode’s efforts to save him from his own darkness before being forced to confront him bring us full circle in the STAR WARS comparison that opened this review only this time, the corruption doesn’t lead to darkness taking over but to a final, irrevocable end that’ll stand up to, and possibly even grow in appreciation, repeated watches.
Jamie Lee Curtis’ performances have been a strength of this reboot trilogy and HALLOWEEN ENDS puts her exactly where she should be, at the bleeding heart of this final excision of the cancer which has blighted Haddonfield for nearly forty-five years and there’s a real sense of closure that even the cynical dead-horse flogging avarice of Jason Blum will struggle to credibly reverse.