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Halloween Ends (2022) Review

The legacy of Halloween and the iconic standing earned by not central villain Michael Myers, but final girl Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), have been stretched across decades as the franchise slashes its way into theaters with a new installment into the ongoing saga. Despite the false promise that insists that the Halloween series has finally reached its end, it feels as if an actual farewell for a leading name horror is still out of reach. The masked murderer himself shies away from making an appearance within Halloween Ends' first hour as audiences are asked to endure a slow burn toward the intensity teased during the much-anticipated final confrontation.

Halloween Ends is determined to cap off director David Gordon Green's Halloween trilogy which introduced itself in 2018, followed by Halloween Kills in 2021. While it's expected that focus is bound between Strode and Myers are their long-strung rivalry is destined to meet its fate, a confusing and unnecessary third party - a devotee to Myers and his unrelenting slaughter - enters the scene. It's an unusual choice made by the creative team to introduce an unexplained new killer so deep into the franchise that it distracts away from the purpose of Halloween Ends. It's unreasonable of Green to dedicate screentime to the wrong characters, and his intention to do so should have been brought about earlier in the trilogy. Of course, it provides room for the Halloween franchise to return with the new antagonist at its core, though feels anti-metaphorical to the symbolism of Myers. An embodiment of fear, and the determination to overcome it, is muted by introducing another thing to be feared.

Halloween Ends neglects its lack of closure while looking for a new beginning. Despite the aversion to truly seal away the series, Curtis's fierce feminist energy burns at the heart of the film. Halloween's insistence on keeping trauma as a primary theme lives on as Strode copes with the strains of her haunted past. Instead of findings its conclusive battle between hunter and hunted, Halloween Ends shifts its end goal and taps more into the psychological turmoil of its tortured cast. The lack of following through with the much-wanted face-off is a disappointing decision made by the creative team. Excluding a pivotal moment in a deeply famed title is nearly insulting to horror fanatics who have waited for such an event to manifest on screen.

Green's creativity and risk-taking deny the payoff that he envisioned. There's a thoughtful approach to concluding Strode's cinematic arc, even if evils both new and old are treated with a disservice. The time spent contemplating the nature of evil drains the energy from the third act, leaving audiences just as exhausted as Strode. Halloween Ends is a greatly dissatisfying close to a chapter that hopefully lives up to its name, and this sluggish culmination does exactly what the title declares: ends Halloween. 5/10.

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