The Film Buffa reviews ‘Halloween Ends’: Does David Gordon Green’s finale deliver?

Most film franchises lose steam after 12 movies, but Michael Myers is something else.

The “Halloween” film series, which started 44 years ago, is as unstoppable as its antagonist, slowly walking through the decades with useless or embarrassingly bad sequels. But then David Gordon Green reinvented the franchise with his rebirth take in 2018, aptly named “Halloween.”

Jamie Lee Curtis made his triumphant return in Green’s reimagining of the aftermath from the 1978 original. She squared off with Myers alongside Will Patton’s sheriff and Judy Greer as her daughter. While that film didn’t land as well as I wanted it to, the horror fans came out and ate it up like bloody kettle corn, triggering another round of terror or treat. A sequel surfaced three years later in glorious slasher style with “Halloween Kills,” a film that went for broke with Curtis’s avenging survivor and Haddonfield’s residents teaming up to take on Myers.

That film embodied the relentless, brutal, and waste-no-time getting fired approach of a classic slasher movie. The living, breathing Grim Reaper in a mechanic’s outfit and pale-faced mask cutting through a team of firefighters and teenagers is what you walk into a “Halloween” film for. It doesn’t need to look like poetry in motion if the *very human* Myers walks slower than Yadier Molina’s run and manages to survive countless attacks.

Green’s trilogy reaches its finale with this week’s “Halloween Ends,” a movie that’s marketed as the last nail in this duel: Curtis’s Laurie and good old Michael. The survivor against the monster. That’s all I needed to hear. Give us another quick dose of bloody action and just enough drama and inside jokes.

The finale doesn’t get off to a great start though, abandoning the treats show in the previous film, instead introducing a new character in Corey Cunningham. A young kid whose earnest babysitting gesture turns into disaster, Corey finds himself as the black sheep of Haddonfield, replacing the monstrous aura of Myers, who hasn’t been seen in four years. Played by Rohan Campbell, Corey is the innocent looking kid with dark eyes who we aren’t sure about.

The problem is he isn’t interesting, and his character arc can be spotted from a mile away. We didn’t need his wrong time/wrong place afflicted soul to be here, but he does awaken the killer in Michael. Campbell’s lost soul essentially eats up the first hour of screen time, even taking time away from Curtis, whose Laurie is trying to create a normal-ish life with her granddaughter (the lovely Andi Matichak). When Corey meets her, things spark and not in a good way.

“Halloween Ends” takes its time in getting moving, creating a slow-burn aesthetic after its jaw-dropping first kill early on. I found myself waiting for the real showdown to take place, and it finally did about 80 minutes in. Green may have let too many writers into the screenplay room, as four other minds are credited with the script–including executive producer, Danny McBride. Letting too many voices into a room can clog the overall thinking and tone of a movie.

However, when Green’s finale does set its feet and gets going, horror fans are in for some of the best and most gruesome kills in recent cinema history. You haven’t the youth die young until you see a teenager get his entire upper body blow-torched. The squeamish parents won’t like a brutal kill early on, and other characters are dispatched in crisp crimson fashion.

When the two leads finally face off, Green’s “Halloween Ends” delivers big time. It keeps guessing about who survives: the guilt-torn Laurie or the merciless Michael. If only the guy could have ever encountered a good strain of cannabis or some stabilized mushrooms, this could have been avoided. But you’ll be roaring when Lauren hits him with a shot, and wincing when he throws her across the kitchen.

It’s the knock down drag out brawl that the marketing promised. Even if it shows up late, the fight delivers and along with the other big kills, helps give the movie a passing grade. “Halloween” fans will not leave disappointed.

When “Halloween Ends” becomes Curtis and Myers’ film, it *finally* comes into its own. Enjoy it this weekend as the cool air comes in, and go see my friends at Galleria 6 Cinemas if you reside in St. Louis.

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

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