The Movie Waffler New to VOD - HALLOWEEN ENDS | The Movie Waffler


A troubled young man is empowered by an encounter with Michael Myers.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: David Gordon Green

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, James Jude Courtney, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Rohan Campbell, Kyle Richards

Halloween Ends poster

When a new Halloween trilogy was announced, many fans jokingly questioned whether the third instalment would follow the original's lead and give us a movie that didn't feature the series' villain Michael Myers. Of course, in these risk-averse times such a move was never going to happen. Yet, when the movie opens with a credits sequence employing the same font used in 1982's Halloween III, were it not for Michael's image having been plastered all over the marketing, we might begin to wonder if director David Gordon Green is following tradition after all.

Michael does feature, but barely, and the film would likely be far more interesting if he was completely excised from the narrative. Green - whose co-screenwriter Danny McBride is joined here by Paul Brad Logan and Chris Bernier – takes his narrative cues less from the Halloween franchise and more from John Carpenter's Christine, a tale of a put-upon loner who becomes empowered by discovering a possessed car which turns him to evil. Here Michael stands in for the Plymouth Fury, a silent mentor for a troubled young man.

Halloween Ends review

That young man is Corey (Rohan Campbell), a 21-year-old who takes a babysitting job on Halloween night, 2019, exactly one year after the events of the previous two movies. Perhaps the most difficult to swallow aspect of this ridiculous movie is that anyone would hire an adult male babysitter in 2019, but there you go. When his young charge pulls a prank that goes wrong, the boy ends up dead. Corey is cleared of any wrongdoing, but most of the town holds him responsible for the boy's death (this franchise really is a PSA warning against the risks of babysitting).

Three years later, Corey is a morose figure whom, in the first of several Christine references, we find working in his father's scrapyard. When an altercation with some bratty teens leaves him with an injured hand, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) comes to his rescue and takes him to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, where her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) is employed as a nurse. Thus begins an unlikely and wholly unconvincing romance, with Allyson taking pity on the downtrodden sap and forcing him to accompany her to a costume party. On the way home from said party, which doesn't go well, Corey has an encounter with Michael. Unlike most who meet The Shape, Corey doesn't just survive, but through some sort of Vulcan mind meld process, ingests some of Michael's evil, as though the masked meanie was transferring an mp3 via Bluetooth. Corey emerges emboldened from the encounter, and like Keith Gordon in Christine, embraces his confident new life, riding around town on a motorbike with Allyson clinging to his back, and bumping off those who have done him wrong, sometimes with the aid of Michael, sometimes alone.

Halloween Ends review

The idea of Michael transforming into some sort of mentor in a Big Brother for Young Sociopaths programme is ludicrous, but I'll give the film this – it at least commits to its daft premise. Unlike the previous two movies, which seemed to be making it all up on the fly, there is at least a consistent narrative here, even if it is very, very silly.

As with his previous two instalments, Halloween Ends once again finds Green out of his depth in the horror genre. The opening prank sequence is so badly constructed that it makes no physical sense and is rendered unintentionally laughable. Once again we're denied the sort of stalking sequences that make Carpenter's film such a suspenseful watch. The kills are staged blandly at best, incomprehensibly at worst. Yet again Carpenter struggles to score a movie whose rhythms are alien to his own considered style of filmmaking, leaving us with an unremarkable soundtrack that only sounds like a Halloween score over the opening credits.

Halloween Ends review

There are ironically a couple of moments that remind us of how good Green can be with character drama. There's a really sweet scene of awkward flirting between Laurie and now retired sheriff's deputy Frank (Will Patton), that's reminiscent of the dynamic between Al Pacino and Holly Hunter in Green's Manglehorn. After the insufferable gun nut "I want to speak to your manager" version of Laurie the previous two movies foisted on us, here we get a depiction of Laurie far more in keeping with the sweet-natured and smart 17-year-old we first met in 1978, and Curtis feels far more comfortable inhabiting this version of the character.

While the first two instalments of this trilogy were filled with little details that annoyed fans of the series, this has a premise that's so off the wall it's difficult to even think of it as a Halloween movie, and as a result it doesn't rankle so much. Like Rob Zombie before him, Green is doing his own thing here, which I'll take any day over the schizophrenic tone of his previous efforts, which seemed torn between pleasing the fans and taking the series in a new direction. In its best moments, which are admittedly few and far between, Halloween Ends plays like the pilot episode of a TV series titled Haddonfield, which examines the effects of Michael's legacy on a group of characters in the town. But once again the film can't make its mind up regarding whether Michael was just an angry young man who became an angry old man, or some sort of supernatural force. And again the decision to ignore previous sequels and remove the sibling connection between Laurie and Michael comes off as an own goal. If Michael and Laurie were related, we might have gotten a far more interesting third instalment in which Allyson takes over his mantle, fulfilling the promise of the shock ending of the vastly under-rated Halloween 4.

Halloween Ends
 is on UK/ROI VOD now.

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