The time has come to finally, FINALLY put Michael Meyers to rest. Blumhouse Pictures’ “Halloween Ends” has released in theaters (and on Peacock). And while the film has some pretty decent story elements, it’s neither scary nor terribly fulfilling. At the very least, it wasn’t as terrible as “Halloween Kills,” which I don’t think is saying much. I would say it just reaches passable at a 5.5 out of 10. But it has significant flaws that are a product of milking a franchise for too long.
In a strange turn, the film starts with the accidental death of a child at the hands of his babysitter, Cory (Rohan Campbell). But he becomes a complete pariah despite being acquitted of the murder charge. At which point he’s treated like someone out of a high school drama. Bullied by a singular group of high schoolers, that seem twice as young as he is. Meanwhile, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is trying to live a comfortable life with Allyson (Andy Matichak) — the only survivor of “Halloween Kills” aside from Laurie — writing her memoirs.
A Boring First Half
Laurie defends Cory from the bullies. Allyson’s treated like garbage by a sexist boss and hounded by a skeevy cop. And there’s a…romance? I guess? Allyson and Cory get together because they’re misfits? The movie refuses to let you forget this. Perhaps it’s a lack of chemistry between the actors, or the dialogue really is as bad as it sounds. Maybe both.
The human element that should draw viewers to the characters just isn’t there. The very first “Halloween” delivered a compassion for Laurie Strode that made you worry for her wellbeing. You couldn’t care less about anyone in this film except Laurie. And only because she’s familiar.
Any of the details that would make me care are glossed over so fast, I got whiplash. Cory has an overprotective, abusive mother, but you barely get the chance to process that. Allyson’s passed over for a promotion at work in a line spoken so quickly, you could miss it. Every attempt to build sympathy and remind you their lives suck fails every single time.
The movie slogs its way to Cory discovering Michael Meyers hiding in a storm drain. He becomes “infected” by Michael’s evil. Donning his own mask, he becomes a copycat, wreaking vengeance on his and Allyson’s enemies. It is an absolute snoozefest getting there.
Is Michael An Entity of Evil Or Isn’t He?
I know that jumping directors and writers has birthed different thoughts on what Michael Meyers actually is. Recent movies have turned him into a juggernaut seemingly fueled by evil itself. Highly unkillable and impervious. A little too much like Jason, if you ask me. Evil, perhaps, but not made of the stuff. So which is it?
Cory imprints on Michael, urging The Shape (James Jude Courtney) to teach him how to kill. It’s unclear whether Michael does this because he’s getting too old. But Laurie suddenly sees Michael’s evil in Cory’s eyes. She proceeds to do everything in her power to split him and Allyson up. It’s at least fun to watch Cory’s killing spree, mainly because we finally got to the violence in the so-called slasher film. It’s a little more poetic than Michael’s style of hack, slash, repeat.
But then that plot thread just dies. It seems like Cory wants to become a new Michael. He even steals his mask and seems to take on his trademark sturdiness. He survives two bullets to the chest and a self-inflicted knife in the throat. Which would have been wildly more interesting as a plot. Instead, we get the misunderstanding that Laurie has murdered Cory in cold blood when Allyson walks in directly after. For how much she supposedly loved him, she seems upset about it for all of ten minutes. Chemistry where? Finally, Michael returns and we get the showdown between him and Laurie the movie should have solely been about.
Halloween Doesn’t End Soon Enough
The only part of the movie worth watching is Laurie’s knock-down-drag-out fight with Michael as he once again invades her home to take her life. Laurie proves that she’s still as much of a bad-ass. The ultimate final girl well into her 60s. Though when you consider that Michael has to be at least around the same age, it can lose its luster a little. But that’s beside the point. At an hour and fifty minutes, the movie just drags it’s dying corpse to its conclusion.
This is where the meat of the movie actually feels fully realized. Laurie has spent her life in a bubble of trauma. Despite her victories over Michael, his existence haunts her, leaves her drifting. And her survivor’s guilt drapes her like a lead blanket. So when it comes time to face Michael she’s ready to go down with him if that’s what it takes.
Allyson keeps that from happening. But there’s a poignant feeling this is the end of something for both Laurie and Michael. Pinned to her kitchen island like a fly, Laurie bleeds him, and holds his hand as he dies, almost as a final comfort. As though he needed Laurie to stop him all this time.
Laurie’s had this relationship with Michael. Grounded in terror, but it’s where she’s lived for her entire life. She’s finally beaten him, he’s finally dead. Something has ended that has shaped who she is for 40 years. And she can finally move on. Which is where the movie should have ended.
It drags you along for another ten minutes as they tie Michael’s corpse to the top of a car and the entire town shows up to push an old man’s corpse into a junk yard grinder. It felt pointless. This entire film has problems with extraneous bulking. And the one time it was actually in a good spot to stop, it pooped the bed.
I’m glad this movie exists. If only so we can put Michael Meyers to rest as a horror movie icon. At least for a while. He needs a rest, and so do we. “Halloween” has been retconned, redone, and remade too much. Like a bad game of telephone, it’s come out the other side something different from how it started. Laurie Strode has gone from being an innocent victim, to Michael’s sister, to his nemesis, to dead, to alive. Michael’s a mentally ill man, a monster, or an actual boogeyman who can’t be killed. No one should have to deal with that much reinterpretation. The franchise is in tatters from all the people who think they can “do it better”. Give it some time to recover.
As a film, for as scathing as I’ve been, it’s passable. It works alright. But it’s not great. It’s not the worst either. There are some appreciated callbacks to the original film. But it doesn’t help the flaws. And it takes too long to get where it’s going. And when it arrives at its point, it doesn’t spend enough time there. It does have some genuinely entertaining moments, but it’s so emotionally disconnected from itself you don’t care about anyone. The writing feels bizarrely artificial, which had me tuning out of anything anyone had to say without meaning to.
So if you want to see this to complete your viewing of the “Halloween” franchise, just to feel complete, be my guest. I can’t guarantee that it’ll be the most exciting ride. But it’s not the worst thing you’re going to see, either. Just be sure to have plenty of snacks, and maybe a few games to play on your phone until you get to the good parts. You’re gonna need ’em.
Catch “Halloween Ends,” and pretty much all the other films in the franchise, on Peacock now.