Horror sequels, in this writer’s eyes at least, are deliriously fun. The more the number count grows, the crazier the ideas become. And while these become more glossed over by general audiences, true horror fans think that they even become synonymous and are even better in quality than the iconic originals. For example, this writer is of the belief that both “Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors” and “Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives” completely trump their originals in terms of quality and insanity. Both feel complete subversions to what their original films can become and the lengths the franchise name can reach.
With that being said, horror reboots are on the other side of this spectrum. Hollywood is in a bind because the general audiences love the idea of “legacy sequels/reboots”. What this phrase means is taking an original intellectual property and making a sequel based on that film, and any pre-established mythology told in subsequent sequels would be forgotten for mainstream audiences to jump right into the franchise. While this practice seems logical, given the state of cinema, and how audiences would like an easier way of attaining information, the execution seems flawed. You mean that the story from other filmmakers is completely lost just for money? This is a big question often sighted with this. And a big franchise that jump started this new wave is “Halloween.”
John Carpenter’s “Halloween” is nothing short of groundbreaking, not only for the horror genre but for cinema as a whole. It introduced the world to not only a horror/genre master but also allowed audiences to get a taste of who Michael Myers is. And while the sequels in the franchise range in quality, a reboot with Jamie Lee Curtis returning as Laurie Strode was inevitable. “Halloween” (2018) was a great time and surely showed audience interest at the box office, while the sequel, “Halloween Kills,” proved a complete loss in what makes not only the first film in this “trilogy” great but also what made Carpenter’s original classic so foundational.
With that information, “Halloween Ends” is the final film in not only this “reboot trilogy,” but the entire “Halloween” franchise, for now. The film stars Jamie Lee Curtis, James Jude Courtney, Andi Matichak and Rohan Campbell. And continues the story of Myers’s reigning terror on Haddonfield and is the ultimate showdown between Laurie Strode and Michael Myers. As mentioned before, I am a fan of “Halloween” (2018) and hate “Kills.” It shows that the director David Gordon Green has completely lost the spark and magic of what makes Carpenter an influential filmmaker and storyteller. And while “Ends” feels a step up in quality from “Kills,” I cannot say that this is by any means “good”.
“Halloween Ends” is a subversion of expectations, and not in the way you think. While this film feels in vain of the franchise’s past, pulling inspiration from “Halloween III: Season of the Witch,” but feels lost in form and technical filmmaking. This series feels very engraved in recalling its past, each film feels different in formality, but what made those feel different is the two films did not have the same filmmaker behind them. Gordon Green is the sole creator behind this trilogy, and his direction feels off and sloppy. The story feels tedious and at times boring due to its dull pace. The cinematography and lighting are flat and uninspiring. Lee Curtis is shockingly bad here, feeling like a completely different character from who she was in both “2018” and “Kills”. What has always been lacking in both of the films is compelling side characters. Sure, they mean most to the grand scheme of the narrative having a bloodline to Laurie Strode, however, I never felt compelled to care for them. Which makes Andi Matichak’s performance feel lackluster at best. Newcomer to the franchise, Rohan Campbell is the main “meat and potatoes” behind this film, and even then his character and writing are nothing to be worth praising. He is given a flatly-written character and is not given much room to care. While I do respect John Carpenter’s return to compose the film’s music, and its thoughtful subversion of expectations, it’s done so in a way that makes “Kills” feels insignificant of a movie, and if one part of your “trilogy” feels nonsensical to the grand scheme of it all, that is truly a bad sign.
While I cannot knock Gordon Green and company to try something different, “Halloween Ends” sets the franchise to go out with a whimper. It is a dull-paced and dull-looking movie that completely forgets what the initial plan of this franchise was going to be. And now that Gordon Green is tasked to helm an “Exorcist” trilogy, maybe it’s time to leave him and the idea of “legacy sequels” to be a thing of the past.