“You’re just an old man in a Halloween mask.”
Story: When we last left Laurie & Co., her daughter had been killed by Michael Meyers, and Haddonfield was one big riot. Now, four years later, Laurie has bought herself a house, moved in with her grand-daughter, and tried to settle down. But Haddonfield is a pale shadow of itself…and the people within may be wearing masks of their own. And hey, where did Michael go, anyway?
Genre I’d put it in: Trilogy Enders That Are WILD
Release Date: 2022
Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: Part of the Halloween franchise. The third of the new trilogy.
Gotta say: [Okay. So I wrote this review last night, when the WTF’ness of it all was still firmly etched into my brainpan. I tried my best to gather my thoughts, and figured I’d do better after a polish in the morning. However. I have since decided that in order for y’all to get the maximum feel of what went on in my mind – and how this movie works – I’d leave my initial thoughts be. So, come with me on this wild ride of word vomit and unstructured mental mayhem. You’re welcome, I guess?]
Y’all. You are NOT READY. You. Are. NOT. Ready. Forget what you expected, and go into this one as blind as possible. I avoided the last few trailers…okay, because I was so damn disappointed with Kills, I just wanted everything to be over. But damn if Ends didn’t flip the table.
It’s gonna be tough to truly review this one without spilling the beans, but let me just say that there is a four year time jump, so Laurie’s granddaughter is a grown woman who is living with Laurie in a house that’s not a survivalist compound. There are a few new characters added to the mix, at various levels of importance to the plot, and all these performers fit in well with the excellent returning cast. Because yep, Ends does trot out a few of the survivors of the last two films beyond our two final women, making things feel like a true continuing story.
The overarching theme in Ends is that evil and its fallout can become something that taints a person, and/or a community. It’s a fascinating idea that isn’t dealt with as well as I’d hoped it would be… But there’s definitely a sullen ennui, a lack of cohesion, in the town, after all that’s happened over the years. Besides Laurie and Allyson’s friendship with fellow survivor Lindsay (a very welcome return by Kyle Richards), townsfolk feel separated from each other, never really connecting beyond basic interactions. That lends a chilling vibe to the goings-on, even before Big Mike makes an appearance.
Still, the pre-credits scene felt like a WTF, as it centers around characters we’ve never seen before, spending way too much time on their interactions. And I don’t think a round of applause was what the filmmakers were going for at the pre-credits climax, but that’s what happened (yeah I chimed in on that action. I am, as you know, a monster.) And let’s just say that a few of the new characters get a bit too much development. And that development takes Ends to places I never expected. That’s not really a good thing, but it’s what we get. Once I realized this is the story now, I settled in to watch the anarchy. And y’know what? I didn’t hate it. In fact, the final third of the film picks up from the gloriously gory pre-credits scene, and left me happy as I walked out of the theater.
Okay okay; overall I’d give Ends a solid B+, if grades are your jam. There’s gorgeous cinematography, maybe the best of this trilogy. It’s sharp, clear, and feels like an unblinking look at the proceedings. Ditto the gore FX – the kills are in your face, dripping wet and splattering everything nearby. So even though there are weird segues, and character decisions that feel strangely shoehorned in? It’s a helluva good time…once things get going. And the ending is absolutely worth applauding, and I love that there’s a firm end in Ends. I’m just a little confused as to why they spent so much time on a particular storyline that felt out of place, and out of character for a few main folks in the series.
UUUUUGH this was hard! I hope you feel me and what I’m trying to say without spoiling things for folks who want to go in fresh. I hope you understand that Ends is a good time, even though it might be a little too long (almost two hours? C’mon now), and absolutely, totally not what you’d expect, no matter how many no longer illicit substances you might ingest prior to viewing. Even though new character introductions feel plopped into the mix instead of added in with real forethought, the performances had me riveted, even when the story veered off into territory typically reserved for other series. Because Ends does do what we hoped it’d do; end the trilogy in a full-stop kinda way. And how they did it, in those last scenes? That, I loved.
#Protip: Now? Time for director David Gordon Green to shift gears and start that Exorcist sequel… Because that’s happening.