HOLLYWOOD—This is it. The battle fans of the “Halloween” franchise have been eagerly waiting for: Michael Myers vs. Laurie Strode. Well, the title says it all, “Halloween Ends” the third and final installment in the David Gordon Green trilogy of the franchise that relaunched in 2018 with “Halloween,” soon followed by the 2021 sequel “Halloween Kills.” Strode portrayed with perfection by horror icon Jamie Lee Curtis returns for her final dance with the boogeyman, Michael Myers who traumatized her when he stalked her and her pals on a cold, windy night on Halloween back in 1978 with John Carpenter’s classic.

Look let’s be honest, nothing will EVER come close to that iconic flick that is quintessential horror at its best people. The 2018 flick “Halloween” comes close, but nothing compares to the juggernaut that John Carpenter delivered. With that said, “Halloween Ends” has some highs, but it has some lows. For starters, its opening is clever and builds tension in a way that is so unnerving. I think the writers could have capitalized on that terror even more, but they don’t, as the movie follows a babysitter Corey Cunnigham (Rory Campbell) who is accused of killing a child he is watching on Halloween night.

That soon transitions to Haddonfield, which has been impacted by horror and violence Michael Myers has inflicted on the town for the past 40 plus years. We get re-acclimated to Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) who is writing a memoir, attempting to live a life where Michael Myers is not the center of her universe. She is living with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), who happens to be a nurse, who knew. The dynamic between Laurie and Allyson is interesting as you can sense tension between the two, but it doesn’t explode until the third act of the movie, which we will talk about more later.

“Halloween Ends” as much as the audience assumes is about Laurie Strode’s final confrontation with the boogeyman that would be a mistake. Its overarching theme is how evil changes forms and how being an outcast, bullied and shunned by one’s community can turn an everyday person into a sociopath. Corey has had a tough time adjusting to be accused of murder and everyone knows his story. That doesn’t stop Laurie from intervening and helping the kid out after a bunch of bullies cause a severe injury to his hand. That interaction leads Corey to meet Allyson who is smitten by him and the two start dating.

The red flags start to appear with Corey’s temper reaching dangerous levels and cue the interaction with Michael Myers. “Halloween Ends” gives the audience Michael Myers, but not in the expectation we have come to see a true “Halloween” film in the course of the franchise. His appearance is subtle, but when he really ramps up the chaos in the third act the movie excels. The fight sequence between Laurie and Michael Myers is an epic one, but as a fan I wanted a bit more. This movie had subtle hints of “Halloween III: Season of the Witch.”

However, unlike that flick Michael Myers is a presence, but it takes the narrative in a new direction. Intriguing yes, but it fails to acknowledge the characters we already know, Laurie, Allyson, Lindsay (Kyle Richards), Hawkins (Will Patton) who have endured the terror of the boogeyman and have been personally impacted by that violence. Allyson has limited interaction with Michael Myers, Lindsay is almost a footnote people and Hawkins has a dance with a love affair with Laurie that maybe goes somewhere based on the ending. This movie is more about Corey and his evolution over the course of time; a new character the audience learns quite a bit about, while ignoring those the audience already knows. Curtis is fantastic in this final outing, Campbell does a solid job here also, but Matichak is underused and so is Richards, who I think should have had more interaction with the boogeyman considering the horror they experienced in “Halloween Kills.”

I’ve come to expect a “Halloween” movie to have tension, suspense and this one has it at points, but it’s never this lingering feeling throughout the entire movie. There is no stellar chase scene that leaves you on the edge of the seat and the vicious ending of Michael Myers as we know it says it all. The Michael Myers the audience has come to know is dead, but with the success of this movie, Michael Myers will indeed return to the big screen in due time. How he returns is another question. Director David Gordon Green gives a solid outing, but out of the new trilogy, “Halloween Ends” is no knock out from the ballpark. Has touches of genius, but if it had took just a bit of the tension and terror of the 2018 “Halloween” and the brutality of “Halloween Kills” this movie could have given fans of the franchise and epic conclusion they’ll talk about for years to come.

However, there are those who love “Halloween Ends” and those who hate “Halloween Ends,” I find myself directly seated in the middle. Not the worst “Halloween” flick in the franchise, not the best, but it is indeed one that leaves you thinking long after leaving the movie theater.