Halloween Ends – Review

Cert – 18, Run-time – 1 hour 51 minutes, Director – David Gordon Green

Four years after his Halloween killing spree Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney/ Nick Castle) returns for one final time, in more ways than one, to take down Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis).

As a general film Halloween Ends is pretty good. As a Halloween film it’s naff. As a warning before going any further, I rather liked it. It’s been interesting to see the advertising campaign for the culmination of this reboot trilogy. While there’s certainly been a presence of posters, interviews and social media marketing they’ve largely held back on details – focusing on what’s supposed to be the intense final clash between Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney/ Nick Castle) and Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). Even the main trailer has focused on this decades-long battle, providing little other details of the film.

With this in mind it seems something of a surprise that the first two thirds of the film follows the arc of newly introduced character Corey (Rohan Campbell). He’s been an outcast for a number of years since being accused of killing a child he was babysitting – a sequence which opens the film in rather dramatic, and shocking, fashion. Ever since he’s been both tormented and feared by what everyone thinks he is. “Because your boogeyman disappeared they needed a new one” Laurie is told by Corey’s mother (Joanne Baron) as she sees her son begin to change as he enters a relationship with Andi Matichak’s Allyson – Laurie’s granddaughter.

Both appear to respond to the looks and rumours about them differently, especially after one has their own interaction with the masked villain of the franchise. It leads Corey to begin to go down a somewhat cheesy, but still interesting, arc when it comes to the way that he develops over the course of the nearly two hour run-time – which manages to go by fairly well. There’s a point within this strand about the spread of evil and perhaps even where it comes from. It’s likely to be, and has proven so, divisive particularly within the slasher bracket of a Halloween film – again, for fans of the franchise going in expecting the core to be the confrontation between Myers and Strode this is not that film and will potentially prove disappointing.

It takes some time to actually get to that point and as a whole the event feels brief. There’s certainly a fair deal of wincing from the viewer as the third act arrives at more conventional Halloween territory, perhaps a slight step down from the rest of the film. You can tell that it knows it needs to wrap things up and starts to quickly pace certain elements so that it can get to the main selling point. Allowing for Laurie Strode – who up until this point has felt like a rather different character, pushing the idea that this occasionally feels like a different film outside of the franchise as it’s largely known, as she finds herself in a better place away from Myers and working on a book about her trauma – to finally fight back.

The horror often comes not in jump scares or the gore that’s on display, although when there is blood there’s certainly a fair deal of it, but in the potential darkness of the narrative. It’s not overly heavy, but it helps to get across the core ideas of the film a bit better, especially within Corey’s progression. The slasher elements are definitely present in the third act where much of what’s been expected and advertised arrived. There’s just another two thirds beforehand that will prove to split the audience due to the introduction of a new core character whose arc leads the film to feel almost something separate from the rest of the trilogy it’s closing. But, amongst the conventions that it displays there is a fair deal of engagement to be found in it and some of the places that it goes, largely helped by the fact that much of it has been kept quiet/ unrevealed in the marketing.

As a general film Halloween Ends is rather good. As a Halloween film it’s perhaps not going to work with fans of the franchise in particular. For what it does there’s a level of interest and engagement to be found within the main character progression, and of course some good winces in the eventual finale.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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