Review: ‘Halloween Ends,’ starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Will Patton, Rohan Campbell and Kyle Richards

October 15, 2022

by Carla Hay

Jamie Lee Curtis and Michael Myers, also known as The Shape (played by James Jude Courtney), in “Halloween Ends” (Photo by Ryan Green/Universal Pictures)

“Halloween Ends”

Directed by David Gordon Green

Culture Representation: Taking place in 2019 and 2022, in the fictional Haddonfield, Illinois, the horror flick “Halloween Ends” has a predominantly white cast of characters (with a few African Americans) representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: Serial killer Michael Myers is on the loose again and will murder anyone who gets in his way.

Culture Audience: “Halloween Ends” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the “Halloween” movie franchise and star Jamie Lee Curtis, but anyone who sees this movie should brace themselves for a disappointing bore that fails in suspense and storytelling.

Andi Matichak and Rohan Campbell in “Halloween Ends” (Photo by Ryan Green/Universal Pictures)

There’s no other way to put it: “Halloween Ends” is a cesspool of bad filmmaking decisions. By now, most horror fans know that the “Halloween” move franchise (which began with 1978’s “Halloween,” directed by John Carpenter) follows the seemingly endless saga of masked serial killer Michael Myers (also known as The Shape), who somehow manages to survive after being shot, stabbed, beaten, and set on fire. Because indestructible Michael Myers has unrealistically escaped death so many times, the “Halloween” franchise now implies that he’s not completely human and there’s something supernatural about him.

In the first “Halloween” movie, Laurie Strode (played by Jamie Lee Curtis), who was a high school student at the time, was a survivor of his Halloween night massacre in the fictional Haddonfield, Illinois. Laurie and some of her teenage peers were babysitting on that deadly night. The Laurie Strode character has appeared off and on in “Halloween” movies ever since, with all reboots and sequels failing to live up to the groundbreaking and terrifying original “Halloween” movie.

“Halloween Ends” has been described as the third movie in a “Halloween” trilogy directed by David Gordon Green, beginning with the 2018 “Halloween” reboot and continuing wth 2021’s “Halloween Kills.” The 2018 reboot of “Halloween” was good enough to show there was potential to restore the “Halloween” franchise back to being critically acclaimed horror instead of the mindless schlockfest that the franchise turned out to be. “Halloween Kills” foreshadowed that the quality of the franchise was sliding back into idiotic territory. “Halloween Ends” is the proverbial nail in the coffin that solidifies the unfortunate pattern of filmmakers ruining the “Halloween” franchise with mind-numbing and silly stories.

“Halloween Ends” was written by Green, Paul Brad Logan, Chris Bernier and Danny McBride. (It’s usually not a good sign when a movie has at least four credited screenwriters, because the screenplay usually ends up having “too many cooks in the kitchen” syndrome.) How bad is “Halloween Ends”? Michael Myers’ killing spree doesn’t begin until nearly one hour into this horrific misfire. There’s not enough Laurie Strode and too much of a dull romance between Laurie’s granddaughter and an accused killer.

The movie begins on Halloween night in Haddonfield in 2019. A 21-year-old college student named Corey Cunningham (played by Rohan Campbell) has been hired to babysit a boy named Jeremy Allen (played by Jaxon Goldenberg), who’s about 9 or 10 years old. Jeremy’s parents (played by Candice Rose and Jack William Marshall), who don’t have first names in the movie, are going out for the night to a Halloween costume party. Corey is nerdy and socially awkward, but he’s also very responsible and has plans to go to graduate school.

Before the parents leave for the party, Mrs. Allen tells Corey that ever since the Michael Myers massacre that took place during Halloween the previous year (as shown in “Halloween Kills”), Jeremy has been very fearful, he’s been wetting his bed, and he’s been hearing voices. Corey tells her that’s a normal reaction that a lot of kids would have. What Corey also finds out is that Jeremy is a little bit of a spoiled brat who likes to get his own way.

Jeremy insists on watching a horror movie on TV with Corey. When the violence in the horror movie gets too intense, Corey decides that they should stop watching the horror movie, which he thinks isn’t appropriate viewing for a child of Jeremy’s age. Jeremy wants to keep watching the horror movie though and says he’s not afraid of the horror movie or Michael Myers.

Jeremy smirks to Corey: “Michael Myers kills babysitters, not kids.” (Apparently, Jeremy never heard what Michael Myers did in 2018’s “Halloween,” where a pre-teen child became a Michael Myers murder victim.) Jeremy puts up a little bit of fuss for Corey telling Jeremy what they can and can’t watch on TV.

The next thing Corey knows, Jeremy goes missing in the house, but Corey can hear Jeremy’s voice taunting him and laughing at him in the distance. Some sloppy film editing then shows Corey locked in an upstairs closet by Jeremy, who is standing nearby in the hallway but who refuses Corey’s demands to unlock the closet door. Corey kicks his way out of the closet with such force, it knocks Jeremy over the stairwell, with Jeremy falling to an instant death on the floor of the house’s foyer.

And what a coincidence: Jeremy’s parents come home just seconds after Jeremy’s fatal fall. When they open the front door, Jeremy’s bloodied and broken body is right in front of them. Jeremy’s mother wails and screams at this gruesome sight. Jeremy’s parents immediately think that Corey killed Jeremy on purpose. A panicked and remorseful Corey is arrested and proclaims that Jeremy’s death was an accident.

“Halloween Ends” then flashes forward to 2022. Laurie now owns a house in Haddonfield, where she lives with her granddaughter Allyson (played by Andi Matichak), who is Laurie’s only grandchild. “Halloween Kills” showed what happened to Allyson’s divorced mother Karen (played by Judy Greer), who was Laurie’s only child. What happened to Karen is also mentioned at the beginning of “Halloween Ends.” Laurie, who is now apparently working on a memoir, is shown in various “Halloween Ends” scenes typing on her laptop computer and reading parts of her memoir in ominous voiceovers.

Laurie says that that she bought the house as “a place to live with love and trust—not a trap, not a place to hide.” Allyson, who is in her mid-20s, works as a nurse at a local hospital. Laurie seems to be at peace with her past and is no longer hiding from Michael Myers. But there would be no “Halloween Ends” movie if Michael Myers (played by James Jude Courtney) were completely out of of Laurie’s life. It’s later revealed in “Halloween Ends” where Michael has been hiding in Haddonfield.

Meanwhile, Corey has had a rough time in Haddonfield because he’s a social outcast who is still thought of as a child killer by many members of the community. Although it’s not shown in the movie, it’s mentioned that Corey went on trial for Jeremy’s death and was found not guilty. Corey’s reputation was ruined anyway.

Corey currently lives with his parents and works as a mechanic in his father’s mechanic shop. Corey’s father Ronald (played by Rick Moose) is easygoing and compassionate, while Corey’s mother Joan (played by Joanne Baron) is domineering and impatient. Both parents firmly believe in Corey’s innocence.

One day, Corey is standing outside a local convenience store, when four teenagers approach him to ask him to buy them some beer. The names of the teenagers are Terry (played by Michael Barbieri), Stacy (played by Destiny Mone), Billy (played by Marteen) and Margo (played by Joey Harris). Terry is the leader of these teenage troublemakers.

When Corey declines the teens’ request to buy alcohol for them, they begin to insult Corey by calling him names such as “psycho babysitter.” Laurie happens to arrive outside and sees this bullying. The teens then begin to taunt Corey and Laurie, by calling them “the psycho and the freak show.”

Corey is holding a glass bottle of chocolate milk, and he gets so angry that he squeezes the glass bottle until it breaks, thereby injuring his hand. The teens just laugh and go into the grocery store. Laurie then takes out a knife and asks Corey if he or she should use the knife to slash a tire of the car that the teens used to get there. Corey then takes the knife and does the tire slashing.

Laurie insists that Corey go to the local hospital, where Corey happens to get medical treatment from Allyson. There’s an immediate attraction between Corey and Allyson, but Corey is too shy to act on it. Corey mentions that he’s a mechanic at the local mechanic shop, and he recently got a used motorcylce, given to him by his father. Allyson uses this information as an excuse to visit Corey at his job so that he can give her lessons on how to ride a motorcycle.

And so begins the most tedious part of “Halloween Ends”: the courtship of Corey and Allyson. This limp romance drags down the movie to the point where viewers will be wondering where Michael Myers and Laurie are. The misleading marketing for “Halloween Ends” makes it look like Laurie and Michael Myers are in most of the movie, but “Halloween Ends” actually takes a long and unwelcome detour into Corey’s world.

Allyson’s estranged father happens to be a Haddonfield cop named Officer Mulaney (played by Jesse C. Boyd), who acts like a stalker by showing up in the same places where Allyson is, and complaining that she never contacts him or returns his messages. Allyson is never happy to see him. Needless to say, Officer Mulaney (who has no first name in the movie) disapproves of Allyson dating Corey.

Laurie keeps an open mind about Corey, because she knows what it’s like to be misjudged. Some people in Haddonfield blame Laurie for causing Michael Myers to come back. There’s a scene where a wheelchair-using, mute, middle-aged woman named Sondra (played by Diva Tyler) and Sondra’s sister (played by Leila Wilson) happen to be in the same store parking lot as Laurie. Sondra’s sister angrily confronts Laurie and says that Sondra is “damaged” because of Michael Myers, and the sister berates Laurie for tempting Michael Myers back to Haddonfield.

As the romance between Corey and Allyson begins to blossom, there are hints that Laurie’s love life could also be heating up. In “Halloween Kills,” it was revealed that a Haddonfield cop named Frank Hawkins (played by Will Patton) was a young rookie on duty during the 1978 Halloween night when Michael Myers went on his massacre. Frank, who’s supposed to be about four or five years older than Laurie, has had a crush on Laurie ever since. In “Halloween Kills,” Frank and Laurie ended up in the same hospital room together, where they discovered their mutual attraction to each other.

Frank is still interested in dating Laurie, but she’s been more hesitant about getting into a romantic relationship with anyone. And so, for much of Laurie’s screen time, Frank is sometimes hanging around like a lovesick puppy who wants some sign of affection from Laurie. Is this a romantic drama or a horror movie?

Because “Halloween Ends” veers so far into being a romantic drama for much of the movie’s scenes, the tone of the movie is very disjointed and awkward. “Halloween Kills” character Lindsey Wallace (played by Kyle Richards), a survivor of Michael Myers’ 1978 massacre, returns in “Halloween Ends” as a good friend of Laurie’s. In “Halloween Ends,” Lindsey is a totally useless character who just stands around and looks sympathetic to Laurie. “Halloween Ends” gives Lindsey no character development or further insight into Lindsey’s life. Sheriff Barker (played by Omar J. Dorsey) from “Halloween Kills” also returns for a smaller role in “Halloween Ends.”

“Halloween Ends” has a yammering radio DJ character named Willy the Kid (played by Keraun Harris), from a local radio station called WURG “The Urge,” and his annoying voiceovers pepper some of the scenes with commentary about the legend of Michael Myers. As soon as this radio DJ character’s voice keeps showing up in the movie, you just know that sooner or later, Willy the Kid will be seen in person, and his fate is easily predicted. There’s also an unnamed, elderly homeless man (played by Blaque Fowler) who lives near some abandoned tunnels in Haddonfield. His purpose in the movie is also very obvious.

Because “Halloween Ends” takes so long for Michael Myers to actually appear, some viewers might be wondering during the first half of the movie if this is a “Halloween” movie spinoff, not a “Halloween” movie sequel. Curtis makes an effort to bring some gravitas and emotional resonance to her role. However, the rest of the cast members’ performances in the movie are mediocre and unremarkable. The scenes of Michael Myers on a killing spree have a “been there, done that” formulaic quality that look like tired retreads of previous “Halloween” movies.

Note to filmmakers of future “Halloween” movies: People want to see a “Halloween” movie to have mostly Michael Myers horror scenes, not lukewarm romance scenes that take up too much of the story and look like something from a bland soap opera. That’s why “Halloween Ends” not only fails to live up to the hype but it’s also a horror movie that lacks edge, originality and truly terror-inducing scenes. In other words, “Halloween Ends” is a ripoff and a complete waste of time.

Universal Pictures released “Halloween Ends” in U.S. cinemas and on Peacock on October 14, 2022.

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