Okay, right up top, I need to give you some advice. Before I get into the nitty-gritty spoilery stuff for everyone else who has been unlucky enough to sit through Halloween Ends, I want to say this: don’t bother. I know, I know, the temptation of a bad horror movie is a lot to ignore, but believe me with this one. Go watch Orphan: First Kill for a bit of crappy horror fun and save yourself the trouble. You’ll thank me for it, trust me.
And, for the rest of us not quite so sensible, let’s talk about why Halloween Ends is the worst movie of this already-awful trilogy – and probably the most dreadful release of the year so far.
When I first heard they were bringing this series back, with a focus on Jamie Lee Curtis’ iconic final girl, I was genuinely pretty excited; Lee Curtis is a great screen presence and solid actor, and I wanted to see what the modern horror landscape could do with her character a few decades on from the original. If that’s what you came here for – a conclusion to their plot, their decades-long battle between good and evil and all the gray area in between – well, I’m sorry. Halloween Ends has, if I’m being generous, about twenty full minutes of the Laurie-Michael plot, most of which is crammed in to the final act after Michael stumbles out of the hole in the ground he’s been hiding out in to wander about the Strode Abode once more, before Laurie feeds him into a paper shredder and dusts off her hands for good. This part of the movie – for the brief seconds it actually lasts – is alright, I suppose, if only because I never get tired of watching Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie.
The rest of the movie, though? Well, it’s downright unfathomably bad. I’ve seen some stinking movies in my time, but Halloween Ends has to be down there amongst the absolute worst I’ve sat through. The meat of the story revolves around Corey (Rohan Campbell, doing his level best against an onslaught of utter bullshit), a young man who accidentally kills a kid he’s babysitting and becomes the town pariah, driving him to further turn against Haddonfield and…join forces with Michael Myers to start murdering people? Okay, look, this premise isn’t actually too awful – an otherwise-decent person gets involved in a horrible accident that leaves them ostracized from their community, and leads to them fulfilling the role thrust upon them as a killer and a monster – but cramming it into the third part of a Halloween trilogy was an appalling mistake.
In order to somewhat tie Corey’s plot into the wider tale of Michael Myers and Haddonfield, the film shoves Corey and Allyson, Laurie’s grandaughter, into what the writers clearly think is some Wuthering Heights-esque doomed dramatic horror romance, but what really amounts to the mashing-together of two paper dolls while Laurie wrings her hands about it in the background. Corey’s shift from maligned but quiet loner to murderous psycho comes when he runs into Michael – who has, inexplicably, been chilling in a sewer for the last few years – and the film goes screaming entirely off the rails.
I’m genuinely not sure what the movie was trying to say about their connection, as Michael spares Corey after attacking him and then the two join forces to start a new murder spree. Is it that Haddonfield has some sort of free-floating evil that attaches itself to people when enough teens are mean to them? That Corey was a cold-blooded killer all along, even though the death of the child in his care is consistently described as a genuine accident? Neither possibility is given enough exploration in the movie to come to a conclusion, nor is the writing skilled or deft enough to lend it any weight. Myers himself – the reason so many people would bother to give this movie the time of day in the first place – feels almost incidental to the meat of this movie, with Corey featuring as the main killer.
In the third and final part of a series, pivoting to a brand-new villain as the focal point is a dreadful idea without a really good and compelling reason, and Halloween Ends never bothers to offer one. Laurie’s story – clunkily exposited as she reads aloud from the book she’s writing about the case, a framing device so horrendously lazy I’m surprised they dared shove it in here – essentially acts as an epilogue to Corey’s, and I have no idea what writer Danny McBride was thinking when he decided this would be a satisfying close to the Strode family saga. It feels like they had a really cool idea for a horror movie and then remembered they had to shit out a finale to the Halloween trilogy, and this was the result of trying to do both at once.
And shit out it was. Despite the actors giving it their best crack, the writing in Halloween Ends is shockingly bad, the dialogue so robotic, inhuman, and lazy it sounds more like a dial-up modem than human conversation. As Corey storms out of his parent’s house for the last time, his father yells “I hope you find love!” after him, and truly, it was the laugh-out-loud moment of the year, but it shouldn’t have been. I can handle bad writing, but when it’s as self-righteous and smug as this, it makes the movie near-impossible to watch.
Halloween Ends is an insult to everyone who actually invested in the rest of this trilogy – after promising one thing with the first two films, it veers off into an indulgent, boring, and non-sensical new character for the majority of it’s flabby runtime. I didn’t think they would be able to undercut the sheer awfulness of part one and part two, but Halloween Kills is a stinking end to this sewer-rat of a trilogy, and I’m glad to see the back of it for good.
By Lou MacGregor
(header image via Radio Times)