For over 40 years, Michael Myers a.k.a. The Shape has endured all kinds of death in the long-running Halloween movie franchise regardless of canon or non-canon entries. He has been shot multiple times, stabbed, left to burn, injected with corrosive chemicals before being bludgeoned with a lead pipe, electrocuted and even decapitated. As much as I enjoyed some of the Halloween movies in the past, it makes me wonder just how far the franchise can go.
Which brings me to this review of Halloween Ends, the third and (presumably) the final instalment of David Gordon Green’s legacy sequel trilogy that began with Halloween (2018) and Halloween Kills (2021). Four years after the events of Halloween Kills, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is now living with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak). She has seemingly moved on with her life, where she would spend time writing her own memoir and prepping for the upcoming Halloween celebration. We also learn that Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) has since disappeared without a trace.
Halloween Ends also introduced a new character named Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell), a babysitter who is accused of murdering a child one fateful night. The movie gets off to an intriguing start with a pre-credits prologue that takes place in 2019. And for a while there, everything looks promising at first, complete with John Carpenter’s iconic score playing in the opening credits over a black background and an animated jack-o’-lantern later on.
But as the movie progresses further, something is off about the direction that David Gordon Green chooses to navigate in Halloween Ends. That is, instead of focusing more on Laurie’s guilt and trauma after her adult daughter, Karen (Judy Greer) was brutally stabbed by Michael Myers at the end of the last movie, David Gordon Green — working on a screenplay that he co-wrote with Paul Brad Logan, Chris Bernier and Danny McBride — shifted most of his attention to developing Rohan Campbell’s character. To the point that I begin to wonder whether David Gordon Green wants to subvert our expectations like he previously did in Halloween Kills and to a certain extent, the 2018 legacy sequel. This, in turn, sidelines Laurie Strode for the second time since the last movie and frankly, I’m not sure why David Gordon Green figured it’s a good idea to do so.
I really hate to say this but the entire second act, which is devoted to Rohan Campbell’s Corey Cunningham along with his subsequent love life with Allyson as well as the rest of his character arc feels as if I’m watching another movie altogether. It sure feels less like a Halloween movie and if that’s not enough, Michael Myers’ appearance this time around is more like an afterthought. Such a narrative approach is bound to be divisive, particularly for the fans of Halloween movies.
It’s not like I’m against a long-running established franchise like Halloween moving into a bold and unexpected new direction. But no matter how David Green Gordon chooses to spin and alter his story, the entire legacy sequel trilogy should maintain its primary focus on Laurie Strode’s character journey. Diverting the attention to another character is certainly an ill-advised narrative misdirection that only defeats the whole idea of having a title called Halloween Ends. Narrative misdirection is famously used in popular movies like The Dark Knight (2008) and Skyfall (2012) but both movies are at least incorporated sparingly without distracting or veering off the main points of their respective storylines. You could say that David Gordon Green gets overly ambitious with his approach in Halloween Ends and it would have been better if the whole Corey Cunningham story is told in a different movie altogether.
The result also caused Halloween Ends to drag unnecessarily longer than it should at a nearly two-hour length. By the time the movie reaches the third act, it’s already too late to redeem the bloated second act that came before it. But putting the flaw aside, the third act is what the fans would enjoy the most, where David Gordon Green doesn’t shy away from graphic violence and gore. Not to mention the final showdown between Laurie and Michael Myers is as brutal as it gets, proving that the director still knows what it takes to make a Halloween movie.
The recurring cast, notably Jamie Lee Curtis’ commanding performance as Laurie Strode remains one of the main reasons to watch, even though she is largely relegated for most parts of the movie. Andi Matichak, who plays a significantly bigger role this time around after the death of Judy Greer’s Karen, is adequate enough as Allyson. Except for her romantic subplot with Rohan Campbell’s Corey Cunningham feels more like a padded-out filler just to fulfil its two-hour movie quota.
So much for the wait for the so-called franchise’s finale of Halloween Ends. I was hoping that David Gordon Green would improve better after Halloween Kills. But what we have here is a misguided final Halloween movie, despite some thrilling moments.