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Halloween Ends (2022)::rating::1::rating::1

Halloween Ends exists as both blessing and curse.  The blessing is, as the title suggests, it does indeed end.  The curse is everything else about it.  For 111 godless, joyless, hopeless minutes, this movie fizzles and stinks, like some unlucky bug in a zapper.  Most of the plot exists to subject its characters to cruel and unimaginative deaths, all while people bark howlingly funny dialogue that feels plagiarized from a bathroom stall.

But wait, you wanna hear the best thing of all?  The movie brings back Jamie Lee Curtis for one more go as Laurie Strode, and she spends most of the story at a laptop, clacking away at her life story.  That’s right, gang!  Nothing gets a horror movie smokin’ faster than somebody typing onscreen for several minutes at a time, mumbling as they go.  Even worse, Laurie’s memoir is a musty haystack of poorly written gobbledegook that sounds one step away from blank verse.

On second thought, it does get better!  Michael Meyers (James Jude Courtney ), the iconic boogieman from John Carpenter’s visceral 1978 classic, returns to Haddonfield once more.  While Laurie goes full QWERTY commando, ol’ Mike, looking like a moldy crash test dummy in a tattered Orkin jumpsuit, settles into a storm drain.  Yup, the scariest dude in movie history is now living like your average possum.  If the filmmakers are pulling a massive prank on the audience, it’s actually a pretty good one.

Unfortunately, I suspect this onslaught of monkey shit is all too real.  The kicker is that Laurie’s schlocky memoir and the Shape’s sewer livin’ are just one sliver of this stink pie.  Halloween Ends also cooks up a host of other characters for you to not care about.

Foremost of these will be Corey (Rohan Campbell), the tortured young man forced to serve as the town’s pariah.  It seems that Corey was once embroiled in a babysitting snafu where the kid died on his watch.  Yes, you read that right.  The boy’s parents hate him.  The hick townsfolk hate him.  You know what?  I’m not a huge fan, either.  He might be innocent of these flimsy charges, but he’s damn sure guilty of being an off-putting character, with motivations that are murkier than a failed drug test.

One of Corey’s weird-ass motivations is his poorly-written romance with Allyson (Andi Matichak), Laurie’s granddaughter.  Series devotees will remember that Allyson was a central figure in the previous two films.  She was once an intelligent, level-headed character who played a key role in Laurie’s redemption arc.  By falling for Corey–who looks like he should have flies buzzing around his head–the writers subtract about 40 IQ points from Allyson, and just about any hint of common sense.  This pedantic subplot takes up about half the film, so I hope you guys have been practicing your eye rolls.  You’re gonna need ’em.

The film also delivers a couple of useless cameos from players you might recognize:  Will Patton, a fine character actor, turns up again as the hem-hawwing cop who seems like he once graduated from the Boo Radley School of Detectives.  The writers hint at a romance with Laurie, but, of course, they leave it underdeveloped.  Kyle Richards, star of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, which is honestly more terrifying than anything in this movie, gets a few snippets of dialogue as a Meyers survivor.  (If Meyers had rampaged after a few fictional housewives in an Yves Saint Laurent store, I’d have added a full star to this review.)

Honestly, I’m not sure how to sum all this up.  Halloween Ends is just kinda something that happens.  People get stabbed and squished.  Gibberish dialogue gets hurled like water balloons filled with urine.  Then we just pick up and move on to the next scene.  The only reason it ends is because it must.  2018’s reboot-retcon of Halloween was the first movie I reviewed for this website, and it was a surprisingly decent experience.  Halloween Kills was a middling affair, but it could’ve been worse, as this exhausted, wheezing movie goes out of its way to prove.  Hopefully, Ends delivers on its promise, and puts this series in the cold ground.

111 minutes.  R.  Peacock.

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