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'Halloween Ends' (2022) Review: A Square Shape in a Round Horror

Certified critic on Rotten Tomatoes. Member of the Houston Film Critics Society. Also writes for Bounding Into Comics and GeeksHaveGame.

One of several theatrical one-sheets for, "Halloween Ends."

One of several theatrical one-sheets for, "Halloween Ends."

An Unwanted Shift of Perspective

Halloween Ends is an unusual way to end not only a re-imagined horror franchise, but a brand new trilogy that finally brings the Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) saga to a close. Michael is almost an afterthought as Ends chooses to revolve around a new character named Corey (Rohan Campbell); a 21-year-old in between high school and college.

Corey is brought in to babysit last minute on Halloween. A tragic accident leaves Corey as the new Haddonfield scapegoat since Michael Myers has seemingly disappeared four years after the events of Halloween Kills. Corey is seen as a monster and is ridiculed and bullied by everyone he comes across.

He finds some comfort being around Laurie’s granddaughter Allyson (Andy Matichak). As the romance between Corey and Allyson thickens, Corey’s behavior begins to get under Laurie’s skin and a new blood curdling wave of Michael Myers hysteria inevitably rolls in.

Halloween Ends attempts to give the impression that it’s passing the knife and mask on to fresh meat. It’s a nearly two hour film where Michael has less than ten minutes of screen time. What little time he does have is spent showing that he’s an old, wounded, and winded shell of his former self. It’s a bold move that is sure to polarize audiences, but the fact that the last film in a trilogy that is very obviously being marketed as a concluding chapter is such an awkward and inconvenient jumping on point for anything to be introduced.

Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) battles Michael Myers one last time in, "Halloween Ends."

Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) battles Michael Myers one last time in, "Halloween Ends."

Taunt first. Think later.

There is a scene in Halloween Ends where Michael kills someone as somebody else holds them. They feel Michael stab this person multiple times. Michael is plunging an extension of himself into one of his victims as somebody else feels every stab and witnesses this victim’s last breath. It feels intimate almost like a sex scene. The whole thing is bizarre and taboo and messy like a forbidden affair.

This film somehow continues the trend of atrocious dialogue and a nonsensical mob mentality that was far too relevant in Halloween Kills. There is an underlying theme of grief in Halloween Ends. No matter how hard Laurie tries to live a normal life or how hard Corey attempts to get his life back after the incident they both realize that they can’t outrun their past.

Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) in, "Halloween Ends."

Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) in, "Halloween Ends."

The David Gordon Green version of Haddonfield is littered with monstrous bullies and overbearing A-holes. This is a town that has spent 40 years in and out of the clutches of Michael Myers, so a change in demeanor is expected. But it’s to a ridiculous extent that is borderline idiotic.

Laurie’s Silent But Deadly Turn as a Run of the Mill Grandmother

Laurie living a quiet and normal life is as intriguing as it is uneventful. In a way, she’s finally getting to live the life she never did because of her encounters with Michael Myers. She bakes pies and flirts with Frank Hawkins (Will Patton) at the grocery store. Laurie is the one that introduces Corey to Allyson only to regret it later. It feels like an act of sympathy from a freak show to a psycho since she knows what it’s like to have your life ruined by a horrific reputation.

Corey (Rohan Campbell) fights off some high school bullies in, "Halloween Ends."

Corey (Rohan Campbell) fights off some high school bullies in, "Halloween Ends."

There are at least two exquisitely nasty kills in Halloween Ends. The propane torch kill where someone is forced to swallow fire is incredible and the kill by the record player involving the radio DJ’s tongue is also really creative. Aside from the way the majority of the public acts in Haddonfield in Halloween Ends, the film is written in an unexpected way and has some surprisingly solid performances from Jamie Lee Curtis, Rohan Campbell, and Andi Matichak. The odd thing about it is that it wouldn’t feel like Laurie’s last hurrah if it wasn’t for the few Michael scenes in the film. It would be somebody else putting on the mask. Halloween Ends would basically be Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning.

To Shape, or Not to Shape, That is the Question

There’s always this desire for any sequel to be different than not only the genre films that came before it but also every other film out there. When a film finally comes along and provides something like that, especially a horror film, suddenly the genre audience that once supported it turns on it for not following the same old stab and stalk formula. Halloween Ends dumps Michael into a sewer to rot and is forced to watch as Haddonfield crumbles without him being the cause of it. This is The Last Jedi of horror films and it certainly won’t be for everybody.

Allyson (Andy Matichak) in, "Halloween Ends."

Allyson (Andy Matichak) in, "Halloween Ends."

Halloween Ends does provide what it promises and that’s a proper end to the Laurie Strode saga. However, the birth of a new rushed, hot-headed, and sloppier version of The Shape seems to take precedence only to be squashed before Laurie and Michael meet one last time. Entertaining at times and frustrating at others, Halloween Ends is a bloody scenic route of a conclusion that is mostly satisfying despite its underappreciated albeit risky detours.

© 2022 Chris Sawin