‘Halloween Ends’ swipes at Michael Myers’ legacy in a lacklustre conclusion

Four years after Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) sliced his way through the townsfolk of Haddonfield, the serial killer has apparently vanished from the face of the earth. Meanwhile, Laurie Strode’s (Jamie Lee Curtis) attempt to cast her demons aside is shattered when granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) falls into the company of town pariah Corey (Rohan Campbell) – whose dark past reignites an age-old feud.

Evil dies tonight…” or so Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall) hammered relentlessly before meeting his violent demise in Halloween Kills. Evil did not in fact die with the 2021 sequel though many will wish it had when they watch Halloween Ends conclude a four-decade-long franchise.

Where the previous film contained Michael’s highest kill count, the third instalment holds his lowest. This is a severe step back from everything promised in David Gordon Green’s 2018 retcon – and even Kills to an extent. Everything built upon, every development (both character and plot) have seemingly been scrapped and forgotten as Ends delivers a weak final chapter.

Ends takes a bold stance within the entire franchise. The film opens with an introduction sequence unlike previous entries; it’s a fascinating change that keeps viewers guessing where Green is going. There’s an expectation for Michael to appear of course. When? Well, that’s the whole fun of slasher, isn’t it? A thump; an open door; a missing knife; Green’s camera work is fantastic at building suspense here.

A babysitter alone with a child is a classic trope, especially wherever Michael Myers is concerned. This is a walk in the park for the masked murderer considering his last battle with Tommy’s mob. But as Green draws everyone into a whirlwind of anticipation, the rug is pulled from beneath and Corey Cunningham’s unembellished life changes for the worst.

Audiences will be divided by the events that follow, there’s no doubt about it. Green slams on the breaks with pacing, withholding from showing too much at once – particularly when it comes to Michael and Laurie. This film belongs to neither the protagonist nor her rival but to Corey and Alyson. Ultimately, the decision to pass the baton onto a new generation leaves a gaping wound on the sequel. 

Both Halloween and Kills allude to Allyson claiming a final girl status of her own; she goes through an incredible journey of grief, loss and determination over the two films. Instead, Allyson appears to lose all logic and practicality in Ends, far too easily swept up in the town’s sudden condemnation of Laurie and latches onto Corey. Her character is borderline irrational, eliminating all of her well-earned growth.

More questions are raised rather than answered in what should be a final chapter. The franchise is known for dipping into the supernatural but the source of Michael’s evil remains ambiguous. Usually, the mystery is what keeps Michael so terrifying; nothing can stop this indestructible force and horror fans are accepting of the fact. There comes a point, however, where clarity is needed and that moment comes in Ends.

Viewers are left asking why; some will resort to other instalments (of the non-canon variety) to fill in the blanks. Green’s trilogy is no stranger to homages, taking elements from other films across the 40 years and Ends may very well be Green incorporating an indirect spin on the Cult of Thorn. Nevertheless, it struggles to hit the nail as the focus draws on Corey.

The quality of performances waiver throughout the film – line delivery being the biggest culprit. But Curtis and Matichak explore a shifted dynamic which opens the compelling conversation on grief, acceptance and evil itself. Audiences are eager for a taste of what Curtis will bring; though sidelined for a fair portion of the film, the leading lady makes every second count. Her final outing as horror’s most iconic final girl is met with a bang; Curtis’ dedication to Laurie Strode helps level out the nostalgia, which is more than just fan service here.

Green’s conclusion could have benefited by placing Curtis back at the forefront as well as a more prominent arc for Kyle Richards – who made her return as Lindsey Wallace in Kills, memorably taking on Michael solo. Richards showcased remarkable potential through her brief role last year; the only fault being how short-lived her appearance was. Unfortunately, Ends fails to rectify this, nearly removing Richards from the equation.

Despite its faltering tone, Ends finds itself with a strong finish with a much-anticipated final showdown. This entire sequence is incredible. Reminiscent of John Carpenter’s original in a way that has otherwise been lacking, Curtis gives her all into delivering a satisfying end. Green well and truly ups the ante through sound, cinematography and props, dropping worthy callbacks that are almost (almost) enough to forgive the rest of the film.

Halloween Ends serves no justice to Laurie Strode or Michael Myers, taking a huge swipe at their legacies. It loses its buzz in record time. Changing the format in the very film that intends on tying up loose ends is a risky move that doesn’t quite pay off. Ends is certainly not the worst addition to the franchise but it does mark a huge turning point for the quality of Green’s trilogy.

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