Oh well, at least that’s done with now. Last in David Gordon Green’s terrible new Halloween trilogy is Halloween Ends, a grating and illogical conclusion to what has been, well, an utterly irritating and stupid six-hour return to Haddonfield. The series’ themes are twisted into even more confusing knots by Green and his four credited screenwriters (among them Danny McBride). Really, what have all these films been about?
To answer your question, the first one did deal with traumatic experiences. The second dealt with a public outcry against senseless violence. Even the third picture, Halloween Ends, deals with the same themes, while it also includes some philosophical musings on the inevitable nature of evil that are meant to bring about some kind of deep thesis statement.
Alternatively, the picture may be a satire of the heavy-handed allegories and broad clichés typical in horror movies. Whether or if Gordon Green is being ironic is of little interest to me. That burden has been lifted from my mind, and I thank God for it.
Corey (Roham Campbell), a young guy plagued by guilt and isolation, is the focus of the first half or so of Halloween Ends, which is a bizarre and uninteresting drama. Several years ago, he was involved in a horrible accident that made him an outcast in Haddonfield, and ever since then, the residents of that town have avoided him like the plague, certain that he is some sort of Michael Myers–style monster.
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This section of the movie is reminiscent of a Joker movie from 2019 or a tortured indie film from the ’90s about Generation X’s disillusionment with modern life. Fans of the Halloween franchise were undoubtedly looking for a final fight between Michael Myers and his eternal victim Laurie Strode, but instead, they got something that had little to do with what was promised (Jamie Lee Curtis, struggling to find purpose throughout). It does get to that point, but not before we go through way too much of the other guy and his issues.
Green and the team may have been aiming to deepen the Halloween mythos by delving into heavy psychological and perhaps supernatural themes. A movie that tries so hard to be both funny and scary ends up being a jumble of ideas and emotions that no one can make sense of. This is Halloween Ends.
What an unpleasant, disconcerting mess Green has made of Haddonfield. Everything here rattling and clanging and squishing with an unpleasant determination to be heard. The collective horror they’ve endured could account for some of the meanness and irrationality of the characters, but I’d put my money on shaky writing being the primary culprit. Sometimes it feels like Laurie is a new person in each of these movies, making it difficult to understand her motivations.
Not merely different sides of the same individual, but a fresh creation tailored to the plot of each episode. In Halloween Ends, Laurie has undergone a fascinating evolution (if you want to call it that) from the jaded survivor of the 2018 film to a caustic, free-wheeling loon.
Laurie is chronicling her experience of being stalked by a psychopath and inviting him into her life despite the devastating consequences for the residents of Haddonfield. Until the killer returns, she has gained some insight, the message seems to be, but then she is degraded to a creature of vengeance once more.
Laurie is wary of Corey because she thinks she detects malevolence in his eyes when he flirts with her granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak). The way Allyson seems to gravitate toward Corey’s chaotic mix of anguish and rage suggests that she, too, may have a problem.
At this point, Halloween Ends could go in a whole other direction, but Green just can’t bring himself to do it. The picture lacks coherence and a coherent narrative. That was a lot of painful buildup for nothing. After a long and tedious buildup, the film finally delivers some gruesome murders, but it’s unclear what we’re supposed to take away from these shockingly graphic sequences.
It’s not the kind of pleasure that would be considered twisted, and it’s not even the kind of thing that would cause shock and revulsion. The film’s numerous deaths come off as completely random. Like its two prequels, Halloween Ends is primarily depressing and hopeless. Attempts at dissonant and repellent humor don’t help lighten the film’s banal gruesomeness.
Exactly why have we gone through all this hassle? Green’s Halloween antics have only dragged a moribund brand further into decay, but at least they’ve brought Jamie Lee Curtis back into the spotlight, which is always a plus. Halloween: H20, a film released in 1998, provided a slick, agile depiction of Laurie Strode’s adult existence, one in which Laurie’s outlook on the world and emotional state were easy to read.
For the haughty purpose of toying with legend and making pompous and (possibly purposely) meaningless great statements about the essence of evil Green’s films throw her into tedious disarray. It doesn’t matter who or what Laurie or anybody else becomes; the real release comes when Halloween Ends finally lives up to its title. Instead, it’s the encouraging certainty that this will be the last time we ever have to deal with something like this.
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