Does anybody have a more important and imposing job in cinema this year than director David Gordon Green? It has been 44 years since Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis – True Lies) first faced off against the menacing Michael Myers in John Carpenter’s 1978 classic Halloween. Now it is in the hands of Green to close the saga with Halloween Ends. There have been some naysayers out there that have pointed out that a horror franchise is really only a prequel or a reboot away from starting up again but given that Curtis has broken down and cried in a number of interviews over the past few weeks the cinema audience has to assume that this is the final time Curtis’ Strode goes into battle.

No pressure at all on Green and his team of screenwriters – but if they stuffed up this film then there would be multiple generations of horror film fans baying for their blood.

At the start of Halloween Ends we find Laurie Strode trying to move on with her life. Myers (Nick Castle – The Boy Who Cold Fly and James Jude Courtney – Far And Away) is still on the loose but hasn’t been sighted for some time. Laurie is knowing using her time to finally better her life. As she says she is no longer in her ‘prison’ and there are no traps around her home instead she is now living in town, writing her memoirs, doing mundane things like baking pies and doing her best to look after her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak – Assimilate).

Concerned that Allyson is working too hard and not living her life Laurie decides to play matchmaker when she sees young Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell – Snowpiercer) being bullied by a group of teenagers outside a convenience store. Despite Corey’s troubled past it feels like he and Allyson are a good match but when Corey and Laurie’s pasts collide it sets off the events that lead into her final nightmare.

From an audience point of view Halloween Ends is an interesting film. You could have excused Green and his team if they had decided to make this a film that came out all guns blazing with Laurie versus Michael battles throughout the film. Instead they take a different approach and while some may feel that not seeing Michael for the early stages of the film could be disappointing for the audience others will appreciate the fact that it is Green and co going outside the box and doing exactly what the fans won’t expect.

In fact some people will find the most intriguing thing about this film is trying to work out what direction the film is going in at the start. It opens with an event that while in the same town as Michael’s kill sprees has nothing to do with him and from there at times takes on the same nuances and atmosphere of Andy Muschietti’s 2017 adaption of It.

You very quickly find out that it is the not knowing with this film that adds to the suspense. You find yourself being drawn to study the ‘Missing’ posters that appear during the early stages to try and work out the jigsaw in front of you – while the introduction of Corey, his family and the conspiracy-spouting DJ Willy The Kid (Keraun Harris – Millennials) just has you asking more questions about where this film will finally end up.

I would argue that the character of Willy The Kid could have been used a little better, especially given the world of ‘fake news’ and conspiracy theories that we now find ourselves living in, but to the filmmaker’s credit the other characters are used well and bring the story together… even though the character of Corey will leave fans of the franchise with a lot more questions about Michael Myers and what/who exactly he is. Some might question that… but hey is it wrong to leave the audience having to use their imagination?

The big question that many will have going into this film is whether the finale lives up to expectations? It certainly closes a lot of doors and many will find it an admirable way to close out the Halloween saga. The most rewarding thing about is that Green seems to understand the character of Laurie so well that he makes the finale more personal for her rather than going out with an epic, cinema and game changing close of curtain. Some people will like that – others may not.

The more character driven aspect of Halloween Ends certainly does let actors shine in their roles. Jamie Lee Curtis’ final outing as Laurie sees much more of her character’s personality shine through than in other movies and Curtis seems to enjoy that opportunity. Likewise Matichak embraces the chance to play the often confused Allyson but the star here is Rohan Campbell who gets to take his character of Corey through a range of emotions and he delivers on all cylinders.

There is little doubt that Halloween Ends is going to be one of the most talked and analysed films of 2022. Closing out the franchise is a monumental event in cinema history and to his credit Green goes about it in a mature way. His film brings everything to a close, perhaps at times in a way different to many would have expected, but at least he didn’t just serve up a piece of clichéd Hollywood junk.

3/5 Stars