Another Halloween, which means another year where Michael Myers comes home. But is this the last homecoming? Likely not, as the rights for the Halloween franchise are still owned by the Akkad family, who will possibly shop the franchise around if Blumhouse/Universal aren’t interested in future installments. Thus, David Gordon Green’s much anticipated Halloween Ends can’t truly promise a final conclusion for Myers and Laurie Strode. I don’t know if any movie could, not after we shot out both of Michael’s eyes, blew him up in a fire, or chopped his head off.

But the new film is set up as a finale for Green’s trilogy, the end of an era for the current surge in the franchise’s popularity, and potentially the last time we’ll ever see Jamie Lee Curtis appear on-screen as Laurie Strode. At the very least, we can probably go out on a limb and predict Jamie Lee Curtis will never be the main protagonist of a Halloween film again, for whatever that’s worth. So, the movie’s title may over-promise what the stakes are, but this still feels like a concluding chapter.

But the road to get here was a bit messy. Halloween Kills (2021) concluded the longest night in Halloween history. It was also the most fun Michael Myers has probably ever had, as he sliced and diced, attacked multiple couples like it was an assault against monogamy, and had a crowd of groupies assembled with the sole purpose of taking him down. Some say that the mob is still looking for fake Michael Myers. By the end, Myers was seemingly more indestructible than ever while doubling as an increasingly perplexing enigma. What can kill Myers is just as intriguing as what truly motivates his rampage. This brings us to Ends and potentially the final battle between Michael and Laurie; rivals turned siblings back to just rivals. However, Laurie is even more motivated this time s. She has the loss of familial blood to ponder. And as the final trailer was dropped, an all-out, drag-outfight has been promised to bookend this trilogy:

First, here are some positive observations. One, that score is ominous and bombastic, perfectly dramatic for a blockbuster movie. Hopefully, that is evidence that Ends may have one of the better scores in the series. Also, the filmmakers have continued to put enough care into these movies to have them look like movies you should care about. Many of the Halloween sequels are photographed like cheap B movies. But Green’s trilogy feels like it’s actually dressing the part for an upscale outing, even if that aesthetic may seem a little above horror’s lower-budget baseline.

Now, for the pessimism. Many of the stories beats, at least what’s advertised, feel too familiar. Yes, it’s an obvious part of the movie that will build to a final confrontation between Michael and Laurie. The challenge is making such a draw seem fresh when it was already the centerpiece of the 2018 reboot. Which, in itself, was a modern update on the characters’ brawl in Halloween H20 (1998). In addition, concluding trilogies like this tend to feel pressure to execute big twists, reveals, or climaxes in order to justify the hype. Endgame managed to stick the landing. Rise of Skywalker infamously did not. This puts Ends in a weird spot, where its main draw feels a bit derivative of several previous entries, while its potential surprises could pay off handsomely, or it could leave a bad taste for the audience.

Nonetheless, that’s the fun of this game. At this point in the Halloween franchise, each entry brings the potential for disappointment. So we should approach it with trepidation, hoping for the best but expecting the worst, and maybe we’ll be relieved when the movie turns out to be – pretty good. Not great, just good. That’s similar to my initial reaction to Halloween (2018). So it would be apropos if that’s how this all ends.

Halloween Ends hits theaters everywhere, including large format screens, and same-day streaming on Peacock, on October 14, 2022.