Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: David Gordon Green
Stars: Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, Rohan Campbell, James Jude Courtney, Will Patton, Kyle Richards, Michael O’Leary, Michele Dawson, Michael Barbeieri, Rick Moose, Joanne Baron.
Forty years after John Carpenter gave us the slasher classic Halloween first hit the screen, the long running franchise comes to an end. Or does it?
After forty years of watching horror movies of this ilk we know that it is very hard to kill off those unstoppable and seemingly indestructible movie monsters like Jason Vorhees, Freddy Krueger or Michael Myers as they keep coming back in endless sequels, remakes and reboots. But Halloween Ends, the thirteenth film in the franchise, certainly brings a fitting and definitive end to David Gordon Green’s trilogy that began with his 2018 reboot. And we know that Jamie Lee Curtis, whose iconic role as the feisty Laurie Strode has been the backbone of the series, has announced that this is her last Halloween. So, at least for the moment, it seems as though it is the end. And at least Green has come up with a satisfactory conclusion, even though it takes him nearly an hour to bring the knife-wielding Myers (once again played by James Jude Courtney) into proceedings.
The film takes place in Haddonfield four years after the events of 2020’s formulaic and underwhelming Halloween Kills, and the townsfolk of Haddonfield are trying to move on with their lives. Since then, Laurie has bought a house in Haddonfield and is writing a book that details her experiences and offers insight into the monster boogeyman that has haunted her. She lives with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak, a returning presence in Green’s trilogy), who has survived her own encounter with the masked Myers. But most of the townsfolk blame Laurie for bringing Michael Myers into their community and she is largely ostracised and regarded as something of a psycho herself.
A prologue, set in 2019, introduces us to Corey Cunninghan (Rohan Campbell, from the rebooted The Hardy Boys series, etc), a nerdy babysitter who becomes something of a pariah in the town after an accident leaves his young charge dead. Corey becomes the target of rumour and malicious gossip and local bullies. Initially Laurie, who is still processing her traumatic experiences at the hands of the psychopathic killer Michael Myers, feels an affinity for the beleaguered and awkward teen. But when Allyson and Corey begin a relationship, she begins to recognise the nascent evil within him.
Corey has met Myers in an underground drainage system just outside town, and the killer’s evil spirit has managed to somehow infect the troubled and misunderstood teen. The damaged Corey becomes a sort of murderous apprentice and embarks on a killing spree of his own aimed mainly at the town bullies who have made his life something of a misery. But Allyson regards Laurie’s concerns as interference and dismisses her warnings as paranoia, until things go pear shaped.
Written by Paul Brad Logan, Chris Bernier, Danny McBride and Green, Halloween Ends follows the formula of numerous teen slasher horror flicks that have preceded this one. But the filmmakers at least attempt to look at length at how bullying and abuse can create monsters out of anyone, and it ventures into deeper psychological territory as Green explores the effects of trauma on both an individual and the wider community of a town itself already full of fear and suspicion. And the film treats Corey’s character with some sympathy.
Curtis is typically strong as Laurie and has been given more to do here than in Halloween Kills. Campbell is solid as the troubled Corey and Matichak is good as Allyson. Will Patton briefly reprises his role as Frank, the former police officer who flirts somewhat awkwardly with Laurie.
Technically the film is well made, with some nice production design from Richard A Wright. Green’s regular cinematographer Michael Simmonds again makes good use of light and shadows to create tension, and John Carpenter’s iconic synthesiser driven score still sends chills down your spine. The pacing is a little uneven, although Green does deliver plenty of gory deaths, including a nasty bit involving a severed tongue, and the third act is particularly strong.