‘Halloween Ends’ Review: The Franchise Should Take Its Title’s Advice

Pretty audacious for the studio to put the word “ends” in the title of this film when you know damn well it isn’t the final installment of the franchise.

“Halloween Ends” is the third installment of the requel trilogy that picks up four years after last year’s “Halloween Kills.” Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her famed scream queen role of Laurie Strode as she tries to rebuild her life and move on from Michael Myers’ latest killing spree. James Jude Courtney, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, and Kyle Richards also star while David Gordon Green directs and co-writes.

I mostly liked 2018’s “Halloween” and very much enjoyed the follow-up “Halloween Kills” (the kills are so over-the-top, it’s a joy to behold). I didn’t have high hopes for “Ends” because I wasn’t really sure where there was left to go with the franchise, and having seen the film it seems the filmmakers didn’t, either.

I’m a simp for slashers (“Scream” is one of my favorite films and even the worst-written horror film can be redeemed if it has some fun kills), so I really liked “Halloween Kills” last fall (the firefighter sequence is the peak of the genre). Instead of doubling down on the blood and gore in the final installment of this “H40” trilogy, however, David Gordon Green and his writing team opted to completely subvert the genre and audience’s expectations. And on paper, I’m fine with that; like they said in “Scream 4:” after a while, the unexpected becomes the new cliché and filmgoers become savvy to a franchise’s “rules.” Without giving too much away about “Ends,” it is certainly nothing anyone would walk into a “Halloween” film expecting to see. I appreciate the *idea* of what they were going for, but there is a world of difference between premise and execution.

Jamie Lee Curtis is solid in her famous role, but just like “Kills” she is relegated to the sidelines for a majority of the runtime. To be honest, unlike the first two films, I don’t think anyone here turns in a genuinely bad performance, which I guess is to be commended in a horror film. Andi Matichak, who plays Curtis’ niece, is given a pretty strange character arc, but she does the best she can with what she’s given.

The kills, why we all come to a film like this, are incredibly tame. In fact, the first murder doesn’t occur until nearly an hour into the film (and it’s a lame kill at that) and most of the others are off-screen, with characters coming across a mutilated corpse. I don’t see the point of being rated-R, being part of a franchise known for its brutality, and yet be afraid to show some “candy carnage.” A few of the kills we do see are fun enough, but following up a film that features Michael kicking a car door into a woman who then accidently shoots herself, they aren’t very creative.

“Halloween Ends” is not the worst thing to ever grace the silver screen, but it is a massive disappointment and a whimper of an ending (teehee) for this trilogy and Curtis’ chapter in the saga that established her career. If you just want to see something new in a packed theater for spooky season (and already saw “Smile,” which isn’t even that great but is much better and more effective than this), I guess have at it. I just hope the inevitable Michael Myers reboot (which will likely be the fourth film of the franchise to be titled simply “Halloween”) gets a young director who can bring fresh ideas to the franchise; and ones that are actually what people would like to see.

Critics Rating: 3/10


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