Is it over for masked boogeyman Michael Myers? Not by a long shot. “Halloween Ends,” now in theaters and streaming on Peacock, makes promises it has no intention of keeping.
It also makes the huge mistake of sidelining our killer (James Jude Courtney with help from original Michael, Nick Castle) for the movie’s slow-burning first hour and then saddling him with an accomplice we never heard of before. You call that an ending? Blood-lusting “Halloween” fans may just lose it over this divisive scam of a sequel.
There are compensations that can be summed up in three words: Jamie Lee Curtis. “Halloween Ends” really is the end of the Michael road for this Scream Queen supreme. Curtis has been playing Laurie Strode, the babysitter turned avenging grandma since 1978 when John Carpenter’s “Halloween,” with its jangly, jolting score, began its road to cult immortality.
"I need to now cut her loose and let her live in the minds and hearts of the fans that have supported her,” Curtis said of Laurie. Thanks for the scary memories, Jamie, and for acting the hell out of the role that made you at star at 19.
“Halloween Ends” does at least cap the trilogy from director David Gordon Green, who wisely pretended that 10 lame redos and sequels to Carpenter's classic never existed. Green’s 2018 “Halloween” came up aces, almost matching Carpenter’s slithery original. 2021’s “Halloween Kills,” which foolishly trapped Laurie in a hospital, was a bloodbath bust.
Curtis, 63, clearly relishes having a final go at probing the trauma and internal life of a character who’s mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. She’s dynamite.
Though Curtis has given terrific performances in films from “A Fish Called Wanda” and “Trading Places” to “Knives Out,” Oscar paid no heed. She’s now being buzzed for her first nod for playing a hilarious IRS auditor in “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” but whether the Academy notices or not, the Curtis take on Laurie Strode is officially iconic.
As the movie opens, four years have elapsed and PTSD-afflicted Laurie has moved into a new house in Haddonfield, Illinois, with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), now a nurse. That’s when Laurie makes the dubious decision to write a therapeutic memoir about Michael while her neighbors shun her as the reason Michael might return for more slicing and dicing.
The buildup is agonizingly slow until Laurie has to deal with her granddaughter dating a boy accused in the accidental death of a child. At first, Laurie identifies with this fellow outcast, Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell). Then the doubts seep in.
Is Corey just a confused kid or a pawn in Michael’s game to take revenge on his enemies and get close enough to kill Laurie? One thing’s for sure: there will be blood. Laurie preps for her last battle against Michael by proclaiming,: “maybe the only way he can die is if I die too.”
No fair spoiling what happens next, since the duel between woman and maniac—geared to have you jumping out of your skin—has been so long coming. Still, the addition of Corey feels like a cheat out of the old copycat killer playbook. And it dulls the concluding confrontation.
Curtis keeps you in the game by refusing to play victim. As the daughter of Hollywood royalty—mom Janet Leigh took that deadly shower in Hitchcock’s "Psycho" and dad Tony Curtis played the Boston Strangler—Curtis follows in the family tradition of in-depth characterization.
“Halloween Ends” loses momentum because you know the film will never kill the golden goose that is Michael. Not really. So savor the few moments when Curtis morphs this sub-par fright fest into a stirring feminist stand against the ultimate male predator.