Halloween Ends (review)

As I sit here thinking about how to gather my thoughts I can’t help but think about how much easier the previous two Halloween entries have been for me to summarize. So much so that I remember vividly getting home from the theater and sitting down to bang out a review that tried to capture my feelings more than a beat for beat synopsis of the film.

This time I feel like I need to delve deeper into the plot of the film itself. So consider this a spoiler filled review.

This film has problems. Major problems from every conceivable angle. Let me start with this biggest and most baffling problem in the entire film; Cory.

This will come as no surprise to anyone who’s seen this film but for those unaware this movie isn’t about Michael Myers. This film isn’t really about Laurie or even Alison. This film is about a character we’ve never met before. A character unaffected by Myers but instead affected by his own impatience. In 2019 a young Cory is a babysitter in charge of a mildly bratty young boy. They watch John Carpenters The Thing (nice touch) one thing leads to another and Cory ends up accidentally killing the boy. The scene is genuinely hilarious.  Not graphic but shocking. Also you should enjoy this death because it’s the only one you’re getting for awhile.

Now four years later Cory is a pariah in his hometown of Haddonfield. Nobody likes him. We’ll see him be berated by his mother, teens and townspeople. The only one who seems to give him a break is Laurie Strode. She’ll introduce him to her granddaughter (more on that later) and try to give him advice about evil.  The sheer amount that we spend with this kid is incredible. Was this an interesting story? Sure, in a way it’s pretty compelling watching a kid doing his best descend into madness once he meets a famous serial killer in the sewers.

While escaping some teens he finds himself in the sewers and encounters Myers. Now in his mid 60s Myers has been shot and stabbed and burned so many times he can barely move. He shell of his former self. He lets Cory go for some reason but not before they share a deep moment. As Cory looks into the killers eyes he sees something that nobody in the 40s years of this franchise has ever seen. Himself.

He wants to train under Myers to teach him to be the killer everyone said he was. A bit of I am whatever you say I am. (Eminem would be proud) Cory will transform into a scarecrow masked killer. Killing in tandem with Michael. A buddy movie like no other.  This transformation of Cory is being interpreted by some as supernatural.  I read it as just Cory finally snapping but others are viewing it as a Jason Goes to Hell like scenario. It’s dumb either way.  Now, on to Alison.

I think the benefit of the film having taken place four years after the previous one was a bit of genius. Alison brutally lost both of her parents her friends and her boyfriend on that Halloween Night. Watching many of them die first hand. We find her now working as a nurse, waiting for a big promotion. She’s invited to a Halloween party but doesn’t want to go. Is it because the holiday marks the anniversary of everyone she knows and loves being brutally murdered? No, she just doesn’t have a date.  

She’ll remedy that by becoming the thirstiest person in Haddonfield Illinois, when a young man named Cory enters her clinic needing stitches. She wants him to fix her car, teach her to ride his motorcycle and then when he doesn’t get the hint just straight up asks him out. Then when he denies her a final time, gets him to go to a party that night with her. Holy fucking shit. Alison will spend the rest of the film too dick drunk to see the obvious signs that her new boyfriend is extremely unwell. They get into arguments, he shows up at all hours at her door increasingly more unhinged and beat up. She ignores everyone around her and even starts packing her bags to leave the town even though beforehand she’s shown no signs of wanting to leave. “All her memories are here”

This is a laughable and frankly terrible direction for this character. So shallow and pathetic ,  Remember the triumphant and badass ending in Halloween 2018 where you had three generations of Strode women taking on the embodiment of evil and winning? Now one of the most charming and engaging new additions to the cast is relegated to this shell of herself. Now on to Laurie.

I don’t have much to say about her as I thought I might. She is more present within the film and more an active participant than in Halloween Kills. She’s given some good dialogue and excluding one extremely awkward scene where she’s at a grocery store, I think everything is good here. There was one scene where the sister of a victim from the previous films shows up. Along with the surviving person. Not only was it good to see someone made it out of that night alive (albeit maimed) But the scene itself was compelling and effective.  Now on to Michael.

Holy shit is this a disappointing aspect of the film. In my 2018 review I described Michael as a force of nature. In Kills he was a hurricane, all powerful all consuming. A thing that cannot be reasoned with, controlled or contained. Time, inactivity and age hadn’t slowed him down one bit.  However if this Michael was any kind of storm it would be the light rain, tapping on your glass. An ambient sound to accompany Lo-Fi beats while you sipped tea.  In this sense, Michael reflects the series. Looking and acting its age. Nothing left to say and anything left to do. Michael is here to die. At no point was he an imposing figure. I loved the last two films, especially 2018 because for this first time in a long time. Myers felt scary. Now I just felt bad for him. There are a couple of scenes with him that I liked but overall it was a huge disappointment. We go to see these movies for the killer. We want Michael and not Cory.

The ending of this film is the best part. The showdown between Laurie and Michael is decent and satisfying. Even as broken as Michael is at this point, he is still perhaps most dangerous when cornered. The demented funeral procession was great and in a sense moving. Myers is graphically and perhaps mercifully put down. Like this franchise seems to need to be.

I think in the end, Halloween Ends just proves that a small army of writers couldn’t make a trilogy work. Halloween and Halloween Kills could have ended with the final fight between Laurie and Myers, just as it is here. However, their decision to make us sit through a whole other film gives us a misguided and irrelevant story of a boy we never knew and never cared to know. This trilogy was supposed to be about bringing back Michael and Laurie for their final hurrah in the hands of experts and lovers of the material. It ignited an excitement around the horror community like I hadn’t seen in a long time. Even within myself.  This entire film just felt like everyone was meeting a quota. They had one more movie to make but ran out of story. Ran out of references and reverence. This hands down is the worst entry in the new trilogy and easily one of the worst Halloween sequels ever in my opinion. Everything it does well is done in spite of the material and not because of it. I hope for the sake of this franchise, they are as truly done as they appear to be.

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