Yikes! The thirteenth film in the Halloween franchise is the conclusion of a new trilogy of films that ignore various other franchise entries and position themselves as direct sequels to John Carpenter’s original 1978 hit. ‘I get so excited about all that boogeyman bullsh*t’ says one of the characters in David Gordon Green’s film, reflecting on-going public interest in serial killer Michael Meyers. And a hit it is, Halloween Ends is a pre-sold monster for Paramount with a projected $60 million opening based on US ticket sales, although that number may fall with the film available for home viewing via Paramount +.
If that all sounds promising enough, it’s just a shame that Green’s Halloween trilogy has been a rather shonky creation; the first film was a straight re-tread of the original, pitching Meyers against Haddonfield’s most determined non-victim Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), following up with a lousy sequel which side-lines Strode in hospital while various local no-marks got deaded by Meyers. Having failed to deliver the definitive rock-em, sock-em climax promised in the first two of his Halloween films, Halloween Ends attempts to locate our waning pulse of enthusiasm for a final conflict, but is hampered by the kind of miserable soap-opera padding that afflicted the first two films.
Introducing a barrel-load of new characters in the third part of a trilogy sounds desperate, and it plays that way too, like a half-baked semi-supernatural 80’s reworking. Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell) is a misunderstood young man despised by the community for accidentally killing a child while babysitting. Cunningham finds romance with Strode’s grand-daughter Allyson much to her grandmother’s disapproval, but it turns out that Cunningham has been hanging out with Michael Meyers in the local drains. Some kind of transferance has taken place between the two misfit men, and they launch a masked tag-team killing spree that only Laurie Strode can stop. The most inventive kill here is a mouthy DJ who has his tongue cut out and left like a meat-patty on a spinning record on a turntable where it gets endlessly flipped by the stylus; them’s the kind of grim humour you get from Halloween films if you fancy it.
Aside from re-using Carpenter’s classic theme music, getting Curtis to reprise her iconic role is the sole winning card on offer here. Strode may feel that at this stage of her life, her choices are limited to ‘suicide or cherry-blossoms’, but she’s far more than just a woman ‘who teased a man with brain damage and he snapped’ as the script has it; an older character makes for an experienced, mature centre for audience identification. But with large swathes of soapy nonsense to get through, and barely any Michael Meyers or even any killings until the last 40 minutes, Halloween Ends doesn’t give Laurie the send-off she deserves; the ending when it finally arrives is brief, anti-climactic and perfunctory. Watching Halloween films seems like an unstoppable American past-time, but thirteen rehashes later, Halloween Ends can’t stop soon enough.