Whenever you’re hewing to the trajectory of the unique Halloween films — as David Gordon Inexperienced has achieved for his only-the-first-film-counts sequel trilogy, co-created with Danny McBride — the principles say it’s important to tear up the method in movie three. After 2018’s Halloween channelled John Carpenter’s unique in bringing again Michael Myers for one more Haddonfield bloodbath, and 2021 follow-up Halloween Kills took a Halloween II-style detour to the native hospital, the rogue spirit of Halloween III: Season Of The Witch — which controversially didn’t characteristic Michael Myers in any respect, telling a completely separate story — is definitely felt in closing chapter Halloween Ends. Myers is current right here, however Ends (which deliberately apes Witch’s blue title card) equally feels distinctly completely different from its predecessors, shifting the main target away from Laurie Strode’s unique boogeyman.
It’s a daring alternative — although the outcomes aren’t as thrilling as you’d hope. Season Of The Witch is now thought-about a cult favorite, however Halloween Ends’ narrative left-turn is destined to be divisive. In reality, reasonably than a trilogy-capper it feels extra like an epilogue, a supplemental coda to the story to date. Whereas Halloween and Halloween Kills had been set throughout one violent evening — as Myers piled up our bodies throughout city and Jamie Lee Curtis’ grizzled, grown-up Laurie fought to finish her nightmare as soon as and for all — Ends jumps ahead 4 years. Myers himself has not been seen since, however the devastation he wrought continues to be keenly felt in Haddonfield, its folks struggling to maneuver past their collective grief and rage.
David Gordon Inexperienced’s strategy is attention-grabbing, however the consequence on display is a foul mixture of boring and miserable.
That point-jump affords a refreshing recalibration of Curtis’ Laurie — one of many solely Haddonfield residents now intent on seizing the day. It’s welcome to see our former last woman in a brand new mild after a long time consumed by PTSD, decided to hunt out the most effective that life can supply. However regardless of Laurie and Michael dominating the advertising and marketing, the stealth lead here’s a new character: Rohan Campbell’s Corey Cunningham, an area teen whose worry of Michael Myers culminates in a stunning tragedy, established in a well-handled and appropriately tense opening sequence. As he turns into a city pariah, his guilt, worry and rage turns inwards — till Laurie’s granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak, considerably under-served on this collection) recognises the character of his ache. For a lot of the runtime, Ends is ostensibly a Halloween character drama, as Allyson and Corey start a relationship that’s inevitably derailed by a sure masked determine turning up as soon as extra.
To Inexperienced’s credit score, he remixes acquainted components properly. Not solely does Ends cherry-pick from wider Halloween lore (from Season Of The Witch to the much-maligned Resurrection), however his intentions right here gesture in the direction of the type of psychological and sociopolitical horror explored in Ari Aster’s Hereditary and Nia DaCosta’s Candyman. Not like these movies, although, Inexperienced struggles to synthesise the intense stuff with the calls for of a popcorn shocker. His strategy is attention-grabbing, however the consequence on display is a foul mixture of boring and miserable. Time spent in Corey’s firm, alas, is a little bit of a drag.
There may be some inspiration to the filmmaking, a minimum of. Inexperienced has all the time achieved the nuts-and-bolts horror sequences effectively (although there’s notably much less of that right here), and Ends’ abrasive sound combine goes for a special type of viewers discomfort. Although he in the end will get swallowed up by his want to discover Large Concepts, there’s a pleasure in seeing Inexperienced actually go for one thing — to discover the notion of worry and trauma as a virus that exists past any mortal being.
Finally, the movie does get round to the long-promised Laurie versus Michael showdown — and to its credit score, Halloween Ends definitively, effectively, ends. However the journey there may be an uncommon one, unlikely to fulfill the calls for of an viewers hoping for slasher thrills and spills. Some impressed gore apart — a superb severed-tongue gag, and wince-inducing death-by-blowtorch — Inexperienced’s trilogy goes out extra with a sizzle than a bang, not a lot out of concepts as missing in power. When the credit roll, you would possibly really feel extra tricked than handled.