Halloween Ends does something one would consider to be damn near impossible… make members of a high school marching band threatening! Releasing via Blumhouse and Universal Pictures, Halloween Ends opens nationwide in theaters and streaming only on Peacock Friday, October 14th; just one day shy from a good ole fashioned Friday the 13th release.
Since 1998, pop culture has received multiple attempts at reigniting the Halloween franchise. This included 1998’s Halloween H20 to a Rob Zombified take on the material in the mid-2000s. Then in 2018 Blumhouse took over the property, which was good because John Carpenter, Jamie Lee Curtis, and perhaps most unusual, Director David Gordon Green (Eastbound & Down series, Red Oaks series) along with Writer Danny McBride (Your Highness 2011, Vice Principals series) were on board. Injecting some excitement into the franchise, Halloween 2018 was a huge box office smash and grossed over $255 million worldwide. In enough words, Michael Myers was officially back, and with that the box office mojo, spawned 2021’s Halloween Kills. A wall-to-wall bloodbath with mixed results, it also had perhaps the highest body count since 2009 with Rob Zombie’s Halloween II, which is a genuine accomplishment. Now in 2022, we have the conclusion to this revived trilogy with Halloween Ends.
Overall, Halloween Ends is possibly the most pressure-cooking chapter in the entire Halloween franchise. That said, it also might be the most anticipated Horror film of the year. It’s called Halloween ENDS, so it needs to wrap itself on a satisfying note that will please the hardcore fans and put the nail in the coffin for the series. Plus, it has to adequately justify Halloween Kills’ uneven middle chapter in a way that makes this new trilogy feel whole. In light of all that, does Halloween Ends live up to positive expectations? For the most part, yes.
The movie opens with a 21-year-old local of Haddonfield named Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell: Snowpiercer series, The Hardy Boys series), who is hired on Halloween night to babysit a bratty little son of a wealthy couple. The prologue feels like a contained short film in and of itself. And it’s quite possibly one of the most memorable, if not the most memorable, opening in the Halloween saga. Post the fantastic title card sequence, we focus on Corey as he’s now a social pariah in town because of an accident he caused some time ago. The only two people in Haddonfield who sympathize with him are, in fact, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis: Trading Places 1983, True Lies 1994) and Allyson (Andi Matichak: Halloween 2018, Assimilate 2019). However, things ramp up to eleven and beyond when Corey becomes the protégé of a particular shape hiding in the sewers donning a William Shatner mask.
Halloween Ends marks the first installment in this rebooted trilogy to prep, shoot, and post- produce post-pandemic, which is a good thing. The movie has a classic throwback vibe, as it feels like it’s returning to basics. There’s a handful of creatively brutal kills, but it’s not overloaded where it becomes monotonous. The cast is stripped down to just a few critical principal players so that you feel equally connected to everyone’s situation. And most importantly, this movie feels incredibly fresh, potentially alienating some fans but hopefully exciting others.
Like most Halloween movies, this one certainly is not perfect. Will Patton, as Officer Hawkins, feels like an afterthought within this story. It’s as if he was passing through town and decided to drop by for a couple of scenes. It’s always lovely to see the charming dialogue between him and Laurie, but you can’t stop thinking, “Yes, and?” There are also chunks of Laurie Strode’s narration which mostly get out of the way in the opening ten minutes but feel extremely overwrought, tacked on and tonally out of place.
All this in mind, despite Jamie Lee Curtis and Andi Matichak giving performances just as dynamite as they were in the previous movies, this is Rohan Campbell’s show. You might recognize him from the Netflix series The Hardy Boys, but as with Corey Cunningham, the range of emotional colors he brings to the table is unreal, and you believe it every time. In fact, it would not be surprising if Halloween Ends becomes a cult sequel for years to come based on his character arc alone.
In conclusion, Halloween Ends is a satisfying conclusion to this new trilogy of Michael Myers horror. Guaranteeing you will also never look at blow torches the same way, Cryptic Rock gives this film 3.5 out of 5 stars.