What can be said about the object in the heart of a black hole? Black is, by definition, the absence of light. Be ye an astronomer or storyteller, it is still impossible to imagine that on a cosmic scale, a huge inky vacuum is so overwhelming that actual light cannot escape its gravitational attraction.
Halloween is this weekend, for instance. David Gordon Green, the filmmaker, and his group of co-writers, which includes Danny McBride, have been trying to map a justification for the complete lack of light onto John Carpenter’s Boogeyman rendered alive for the past two films.
In other words, they have made an effort to justify Michael Myers. Michael, who was credited as the Shape in the original Halloween film from 1978, was always meant to represent the lack of any light, color, and anything else that might be interpreted as a shred of humanity. He was the epitome of evil.
Green has an innate understanding of this, as evidenced by his ability to precisely encapsulate the idea’s essence in 2018’s Halloween, a revival so successful that it brought Jamie Lee Curtis back as the best Laurie Strode in 40 years.
And it very much brought an end to both her and Michael’s stories. This is why Green and producer Jason Blum’s two required sequels feel so pointless. What’s left after they said everything the first time?
The solution seems to be a microcosm of the same old flaws that destroyed the original Halloween franchise with a succession of diminishing returns after two films and four hours.
The subject of Michael Myers is expanded upon by Green, and while his response is more complex and intriguing than the witchcraft schlock offered by the Cult of Thorn in Halloween 6 (1995) or Rob Zombie’s Goliath-sized Dahmer in the 2007 remake, it is ultimately just as disappointing.
We don’t want to discover what is actually out there in the shadows.
If you’ve noticed, up until this point I’ve been evasive regarding the specifics of Halloween Ends’ plot. That’s because the movie’s actual hook and even some of its instigating events contain spoilers.
Therefore, suffice it to state that the Boogeyman has not been seen since Michael Myers’ murder spree in the 2018 film the Halloween Kills (which occurred on the same Halloween 2018 night) four years ago. Haddonfield, Illinois, however, has never been able to forget the wounds Michael left behind.
The rest of the town is plagued by the craziness, but Laurie Strode (Curtis) is unconvincingly set up by the narrative as putting aside her anxiety and choosing to play housekeeper for her recently orphaned granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak). Officer Hawkins’ (Will Patton) haggard face and the way the lovable youngster next door, Corey (Rohan Campbell), is so easily startled are both signs of it.
No one in Haddonfield is immune to Michael’s ghost, whose control we shall examine for a very, very, very long time before the Shape makes his belated and if we’re being really honest, underwhelming return.
As our synopsis suggested, Halloween Endsis an ambitious follow-up that for over an hour rejects the slasher film paradigm. Halloween Kills may have been Green’s response to complaints that the 2018 film lacked gore or graphic set pieces, but Ends tries to right the ship following Kills’ excessive use of violence.
This installment of Green’s trilogy is about the unpleasantness of the morning after and how a hangover can linger for years. How can you recover after gazing into the face of evil, whether it takes the form of an individual or a neighborhood turning into a homicidal mob?
It appears to be an intriguing concept on paper. If the occasional chuckles at my press screening are any indication, it is monotonous and occasionally purposefully depressing onscreen. And I suspect it will prove fatal for Friday night crowds willing to sit through a slasher film.
The saddest part about this, though, is how completely Curtis is wasted by the strategy. While Laurie was confined to a hospital bed for the majority of the previous film, similar to a top pitcher being benched until the seventh game of a series, at least the impression was that there was a larger strategy that would save her for the dramatic conclusion.
But it turns out that wasn’t the intention unless it was to put the pitcher in the outfield. Although Curtis has more to do than in Halloween Kills, he mostly serves as the third wheel in a terrible melodrama acted out by Matichak and Campbell up to the eventual clash with Michael in the last reel.
Curtis is a scene-stealing talent who never wavers in his dedication. Even then, one can’t help but wonder whether the Shape is also checked out when Michael inevitably begins acting like a stalker and watching Laurie and her mini-soap opera from a distance.
In the final 20 minutes, there are a few fascinating encounters if you must know how Halloween ends (again) but beware: in this version, they actually drain Michael of his power.
If only they would have stopped before depriving him of all of his dignity, charm, and even entertainment value. Who knows, though—perhaps the work of this butcher will be what permanently buries him.
Now playing in theatres and streaming on Peacock is Halloween End.