If this truly is the end of the “Halloween” franchise as the name of “Halloween Ends” would suggest, it is sad that Michael Myers didn’t get to die with some shred of dignity. This production from director David Gordon Green (“Halloween,” “Halloween Kills”) is a jumbled mess of ideas and unrelated thoughts where Myers has been reduced to a supporting player rather than the omnipresent figure of evil that made him one of the great horror figures of all time.
It has been bad enough that social outcast babysitter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has had to deal with the shadowy figure of death that is Myers for more than four decades. Now, she has a new symbol of terror in her life – Corey (Rohan Campbell) – the young man who has won the heart of her granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak).
Strode knows evil when she sees it. Her granddaughter doesn’t or at least doesn’t care what she sees.
The audience gets to see the evil growing in Corey through the first half of the movie, which is less a horror film and more a long lecture on the nature of good and evil. Writers Paul Brad Logan, Chris Bernier, Danny McBride and David Gordon Green are content to explore the philosophies of human nature. The first half is all about how to recognize what causes evil to grow.
That would have been acceptable if it had made sense. Corey is pushed to be the new figure of terror but the elements that lead him to this point are vague. There was a horrific incident in his past but his transformation comes across as forced. He goes from victim to victimizer far too quickly.
This was needed because Green opted to keep Myers out of the picture through the first hour of the film. His only appearance makes it look like he would only be making a cameo in a franchise built around him.
That changes in the second half as Myers returns to his killing ways but even those moments have him acting like the film franchise – tired and worn out. There was a time no one could best Myers but he is so weak in this film his mask can be stolen.
Green finally pushes Myers in the closing moments as the killer and Strode have yet another final showdown. Their fight is one of the few moments worthy of being part of the franchise.
There are some moments in “Halloween Ends” that harken back to the original film. They range from an impaling to the use of knitting needles as a weapon. Green may have wanted the moments as a way to link the past and present but by doing so they only serve as a reminder of how good the original movie was and how watered down the terror has become over the passing years.
The real question is whether or not “Halloween Ends” means the end of the killing days for Myers. If you are ready for the franchise to end, then it will be easy for you to accept the way the final scenes unfold.
Keep in mind that no matter what is shown on screen, no ending is definitive when it comes to Hollywood. The story could continue as a prequel, with a new person inside the mask or even a complete reboot where all of the events of “Halloween Ends” would be ignored.
The original “Halloween” – released in 1978 – remains one of the scariest horror films ever made. The tension from start to finish was as sharp as the knife Myers used. No film in the franchise has been able to repeat the scary magic of the original and this one comes up short again.
These last three offerings in the “Halloween” series have been so far removed from the original in design and execution that they have tarnished the reputation of a franchise that may or may not be ending. If this is as good as it gets, may Michael Myers rest in peace.
1 1/2 stars
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, Rohan Campbell, Will Patton.
Director: David Gordon Green
Rated: R for violence, gore, language, sexual situations
Running time: 110 minutes.