Film Review: Halloween Ends (dir. David Gordon Green)
The newest Halloween reboot trilogy has been a wild ride. What started out as a entertaining slasher in the traditional mode (albeit with some weird characterisation of the long-suffering Laurie Strode) descended rather quickly into a shit show of proportions I don’t think we will ever fully grasp. If last year’s Halloween Kills spun the franchise into a whole new *type* of filmmaking that audiences (including myself) were not fully prepared for, then the trilogy-capping Halloween Ends does it again and twice as bad.
David Gordon Green’s Halloween Ends is a bad movie. Nothing controversial about that statement, I feel. What’s interesting to me is that it is bad in a way that is entirely new. I’ve never seen anything quite so bad that fails in such a unique way. It is admirable that Green and his collaborators (most notably co-writer Danny McBride) went to places that are so off the beaten track in an attempt to do something fresh. Truly, it is. It takes some gumption to take a property such as John Carpenter’s iconic Halloween and do something like this with it. But when I exclaimed “What the fuck is going on?” about halfway through the movie, I was not exaggerating. What the fuck was going on? And it only gets more baffling as it goes along.
The best bit about Ends is actually its beginning. A curious and moody opener that plays with audience expectations in a way that genuinely works. It also lays the groundwork for some inventive new ideas. From there, however, Green can’t hold a tone for more than a single scene, with just about every scene becoming the result of the worst possible creative decision (a brief slasher sequence two thirds of the way through a welcome respite from these continuous bad choices). When every new character isn’t acting like the most repellent, awful human being you’ve ever come across, they are acting like they’ve had a lobotomy. And that includes Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie and Will Patton’s former policeman, Hawkins. Who are these people? They are so foreign as recognisable humans. If you passed through Haddonfield (which I don’t recommend to anybody), you would leave because everybody is so damn awful to be around.
What the fuck was going on? And it only gets more baffling as it goes along.
Emerging best out of this is franchise newcomer Rohan Campbell as Corey Cunningham, a babysitter with a twist on the formula. Andi Matichak is fine throughout the early passages of the movie, returning once more as Laurie’s granddaughter Andi. But the script throws even her under the bus of incredulity, as she eventually joins in on the locals giving Laurie shit as a cock-tease (?!?) slut. What the fuck is going on? Many people's favourite part of Halloween Kills, Kyle Richards, is barely seen, stuck behind a bar serving drinks in her few brief moments on screen.
I get the feeling that audiences are going to hate this movie. Halloween Kills’ play on expectations was not met well and Ends doubles down on that. Michael Myers is barely in this one, surviving on improbably after the events of the last film. That’s not so much an issue if the filmmakers knew how keeping him in the narrative’s shadows could be properly utilised. They do not. What we end up with is a Halloween movie that feels far removed from even where the reboots began in 2018. Despite its earlier veers into the grittier, more human responses to violence and terror (the "trowma" memes we've all seen), Ends ultimately takes audiences into spaces almost as far flung as the notorious “Curse of Thorn” from the series' '90s run of cheap cash-ins. This one, however, is not fun, it’s just bizarre.
What the fuck is going on?!?
PS Justice for Judy Greer.