Let’s rewind the clocks back to 1978. John Carpenter’s “Halloween” kicks off the slasher genre into high gear with inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho. That creates the end of 70’s early 80’s big slasher hits. Inevitably creating a string of “Halloween” sequels and reboots that even had Rob Zombie directing a trilogy. Fast forward to 2018, and David Gordon Green reinvents the “Halloween” franchise with a focus on PTSD. Jamie Lee Curtis is at the helm of it and centrally involved in the production.
“Halloween Ends” opening sequence felt like a well-put-together short film. Introducing a new key character, Corey Coleman (Rohan Campbell), a babysitter looking after an annoying kid who won’t go to bed and wants to watch John Carpenters’ “The Thing” on tv. Not wasting any time attempting to grab your attention, the child tragically dies, setting up Corey as the town’s pariah.
Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is living with her granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak ), who’s currently working on her memoir after the events of “Halloween Kills,” which took place four years earlier. Michael Myers hasn’t been seen since, but he still haunts Haddonfield after his decades-long attacks. The town has turned against Lori because they think she’s the one that provoked Michael to be the killer he is. Corey Cunningham becomes the town’s center of attention due to his babysitting incident. Corey and Allyson are interested in one another, probably due to their traumatic pasts. They kind of connect on that level, even though they were both in significantly different situations. Laurie attempts to heal but sees the same look in Corey’s eyes that she saw in Michael.
“Halloween Ends” is not a traditional “Halloween” or slasher. The point of this film is to tell a story about trauma and how sometimes that trauma, if untreated, can almost become worse than the events that caused it. The three main characters are each handling things in their own ways. Lori accepts what happened to her and has found a creative outlet to try to let go of her pain. Allyson has bottled things up and is not ready to openly address them. Corey has allowed his trauma to consume his entire life to the point where he has become bitter and angry. Meanwhile, Michael Myers didn’t just scar Haddonfield; he left a gaping wound that never healed.
After the shocking opening sequence, the story returns to the same boring stuff we’ve seen in this franchise. Tons of plot points, exposition, forced jump scares, and a few over-the-top kills that try to one-up the last film. The biggest problem I have with “Ends” is it does not build tension like “Halloween” 78′. I love movies by Hitchcock because it’s not about the gore or the kills. Hitchcock keeps you on edge by creating tension through visuals, the score, and acting. “Ends” does none of this and adds nothing new to the genre.
What “Halloween Ends” does right is, treat the central characters respectfully. The script takes time to show them in their current state dealing with crisis while providing strong dialogue that felt necessary to the narrative. The story takes its time to show the psychological damage Myers has caused. The people of Haddonfield feel like authentic people, not caricatures, as they did in “Halloween Kills.”
“Halloween Ends” isn’t the worst film of the franchise, but I wanted more from the final chapter between Michael and Laurie. I was patiently waiting for an epic conclusion to their saga and instead felt short-changed. Myers was sidelined for most of the run-time, which will probably upset the die-hard fans. Some aspects were okay, but in the end, it’s easily forgettable.