Review: ‘Halloween Ends’ with more bloodshed

“Halloween Ends” kicks off the Halloween season in earnest with the reappearance of serial killer Michael Myers, who obsessively yet again attempts to murder one-time babysitter Laurie Strode, played by Jamie Lee Curtis in her final portrayal of the character she originated in 1978.

A close-up of the iconic mask of Michael Myers, a fictional serial killer in the "Halloween" horror movie franchise.
"Halloween Ends" is the latest sequel in the "Halloween" horror movie franchise. The new release is playing at Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter and Sunset Cinema in Jenkins. Jamie Lee Curtis returns for the last time to the role she originated in the John Carpenter original in 1978.
Contributed / Justin Caldarola via
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BAXTER — Serial killer Michael Myers is back on the big screen to once again torment former babysitter Laurie Strode in the new sequel “Halloween Ends.”

The latest installment in the venerable slasher movie franchise started by John Carpenter in 1978 promises to be the last for the boogeyman and franchise star Jamie Lee Curtis.

I’ll believe it when I see it.

Hollywood is not known for its modesty and particularly does not like leaving money on the proverbial table. Studios bank on sequels with their built-in name recognition. How else would you explain such awful feature films like “Deuce Bigelow: European Gigolo”?

Halloween Roundup.jpg
Pumpkins are lit up at Northland Arboretum during the haunted trail of years past.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

The “Halloween” horror franchise has collectively grossed more than $773 million at the box office worldwide after the release of the 10th sequel “Halloween” in 2018, a direct sequel and ret-con to Carpenter’s motion picture of the same name that came out in 1978.


“Halloween Ends” is the 13th installment in the series — for those of you keeping, or who have lost, count — and the end of the trilogy first introduced by director David Gordon Green in 2018.

“Halloween Ends” begins in 2019 with what appears to be a truly tragic death involving another babysitter other than Strode, who is played again by Curtis, in the two-hour movie playing at Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter and Sunset Cinema in Jenkins.

Curtis’ first role in a movie was as a teen in Carpenter’s “Halloween” in 1978. But in “Halloween Ends,” Strode is now a grandmother and more than four decades have passed since she was first stalked by Myers in the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois.

Rohan Campbell plays Corey Cunningham, the young man implicated in the death of a child he was supposed to babysit and whose once-promising life goes off the rails after the fatality on Halloween night in 2019.

Flash forward a few years and Strode is at a better place in her life in “Halloween Ends” even though Myers mysteriously disappeared at the end of last year’s “Halloween Kills.” She is working through her trauma and the death of her daughter and son-in-law by writing a memoir.

“Living” is a new drama starring English actor Bill Nighy a veteran civil servant who receives a terminal diagnosis from his doctor and decides to live it up with the help of a plucky young woman.

Cunningham and Strode’s lives intersect, however, in “Halloween Ends” when her granddaughter, Allyson Nelson, takes pity on, and is attracted to, Cunningham, who also is the subject of town gossip. Nelson was attacked by Myers in “Halloween Kills” but survived.

Cunningham is relentlessly bullied in the aftermath of the child’s death. But when Strode encourages him to stand up for himself and hit back at his tormentors, as she did with Myers — and after Cunningham’s chance encounter with Myers — a change comes over Cunningham.

With Cunningham and Strode, the movie’s writers Green, Danny McBride, Paul Brad Logan and Chris Bernier made more of a psychological study of trauma and how it haunts us — or how we empower our worst fears and give them life, i.e. Myers — rather than made a pure slasher film.


Frank Lee
Frank Lee

For die-hard fans of Myers, rest assured that the brutish, lumbering, relentless, single-minded, seemingly immortal, masked “embodiment of pure evil” still racks up the kills even though the body count seems restrained comparatively, although no less gruesome, in the R-rated film.

I was personally less interested if the characters of “Halloween Ends” succeeding in making mincemeat of Myers, billed in the motion picture only as “The Shape,” than I was in the mental health and sanity of those most affected by the havoc he creates. But maybe I’m in the minority.

“Halloween Ends” currently holds a 41% approval rating among critics and a 57% approval rating among audiences at Rotten Tomatoes, a review-aggregation website for film and television.

The consensus from the critics at “‘Halloween Ends’ — for now, anyway — with a frequently befuddling installment that's stabbed, slashed, and beaten by a series of frustrating missed opportunities."

FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at . Follow him on Twitter at .

I cover the community of Wadena, Minn., and write articles for the Wadena Pioneer Journal weekly newspaper owned by Forum Communications Co.
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