44 years and 13 films later Halloween Ends with a throwback to the original film with a title sequence that plays with the pumpkin lantern motif and Carpenter’s iconic and simple piano earworm before homaging the babysitter origin story replacing Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) with Cory Cunnigham (Rohan Campbell) babysitting a young boy on Halloween night one year after the mayhem of Halloween Kills. Only too aware of the date the boy is only too keen to remind Corey that it is the babysitter not the baby that Michael Myers kills. He’s soon proved wrong and Corey is wrongly accused and traumatized by the death of his young charge.
The masked murderer Myers has since gone to ground – literally in this case as he’s seen to be living in a sewer – and Laurie and her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) are back living in Haddonfield where Grandma is writing her memoirs as a survivor tapping out the sort of homilies about the nature of Evil that will have her Editor sending the manuscript back for a rewrite.
But it’s Laurie who also does a bit of matchmaking for her granddaughter with Corey, now a social pariah of the town and increasingly looking like Nick Moran as the film goes on, after she sees him being harangued by the town’s teenage tosspots, one of which sports the worst mullet haircut since Chris Waddle went in to his barber and said, ‘I fancy something different!’, who adhere to the horror trope template of being dislikeable therefore they will soon be dispatched. That said Halloween Ends is far more character driven than its previous instalment Halloween Kills a film that had more slashing than the prices at a DFS sale but it’s really only Laurie who soon realises that Corey is bad news that can be attributed to his discovery of Myers in a sewer and the film suggest a transference of evil between the two with Corey becoming something of a demonic disciple. But all of this is….ahem…. killing time before what audiences are waiting for namely Strode v Myers as Halloween Ends and when it comes it’s not quite the titanic struggle that fans might be expecting especially in light of Michael’s almost Messianic ability to rise from the dead with supernatural strength. Furthermore for an intended closing chapter on the franchise and despite unmasking the masked Michael the film doesn’t have the courage of its convictions to finally to give audiences a full face reveal that we have had previously with villains such as Darth Vader. Whether all this will please fans is doubtful and the kills really come at the latter half of the film as it builds towards it climatic moment.
Thirteen films later and like every franchise it’s a reminder of the law of diminishing returns that the original is nearly always the best and Carpenter’s 1978 film was a masterclass in suspense and chills without the necessity for graphic gore that subsumed many of the following films. As a curtain closer along with Curtis another member of the original cast returns with Kyle Richards back as Lindsey Wallace seemingly morphing into Demi Moore’s twin. Will Patton as the now retired police officer flirts with Laurie but is underused and largely side lined to a couple of scenes and James Jude Courtney continues as the masked murderer Myers in the last part of this current trilogy. There’s a few decent jump scares but this is never truly frightening as the original was and perhaps the biggest scare is that maybe this is not the end.