Where is the next generation of slasher killers coming from? "Halloween Ends" has some ideas.

Supposedly the final "Halloween" movie with Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode — and the third in a latter-day trilogy she made with writer/director David Gordon Green — "Ends" starts with what could be dubbed "The Making of a Maniac." He's a bullied young man named Corey who enrolls in a loose Michael Myers Apprenticeship Program, interning as a serial killer who gets bloody revenge on the people who wronged him. And there are a lot of them.

That means more than half of "Ends" focuses on stuff that involves neither Laurie nor Michael, and it is not the good half. There's nothing special about Corey (Rohan Campbell), whose story echoes what we know of Michael's childhood, and his budding romance with Laurie's granddaughter (Andi Matichak) that is supposed to balance his hulking outsiderness. It just creeps us out instead.

The big issue is that Corey lacks one of the most frightening things about Michael, which is we don't know why Michael chooses to kill who he kills. Michael has always been unknowable and that's much scarier than a neo-bully with an obvious mission.

What should have been obvious to the filmmakers is that Curtis needs to be on screen every minute of a "Halloween" movie. She's been stereotyped as a "scream queen" but over the course of six "Halloween" films, she turned Laurie into a memorable, mordantly funny character. Curtis' withdrawn, inward-looking performance shows us that Laurie is a deeply sad woman haunted by the knowledge that her life has been in a holding pattern since she took that babysitting job that Michael crashed way back in 1978. She also knows her town blames her for keeping Michael interested in mayhem all these years.

Even worse, she worries that in fighting a monster, she may have become one. That's why, in "Ends," she abandons her approach from the last two movies, in which she drank a lot and hid in a bunker. In "Ends," she tries to return to the land of the living. One sign of that: She appears to be using conditioner again.

Green's directing chops desert him in the slack Corey scenes — you can tell because he resorts to over-the-top gore instead of the mounting tension he's capable of. But Green returns to form for the climax, a suspenseful, witty and satisfying battle between 44-years-and-counting enemies Laurie and Michael.

Powered by a couple of ticking clocks and clever editing, that scene makes sure all's well that ends well in "Halloween Ends."

"Halloween Ends"

**1/2 out of 4 stars

Rated: R for grisly violence and strong language

Where: In theaters and on Peacock.