The original 1978, John Carpenter directed ‘Halloween‘ is probably my favourite horror film of all time. It is the yearly Halloween tradition that I have yet to break and never plan to. The iconic piano and synth, suburban flair and excess usage of pumpkins. The embodiment of evil personified as Michael Myers, a person in a white mask with a knife in a movie with a $300,000 dollar budget who still manages to be terrifying even on the millionth rewatch. The introduction of Jamie Lee Curtis as not just an actress but as Laurie Strode, one of the first examples of the Final Girl. The ultimate tale between the forces of good and evil. Decades later, the franchise more relevant than ever finds the reunion between these two forces in a trilogy revolving around trauma, rage and survival. David Gordon Green has taken a slasher franchise to new places with his trilogy, places that might not be appreciated but for what it’s worth, it is admirable just what he has come up with for Laurie Strode, Michael Myers, Haddonfield and the franchise as a whole. In this final chapter, ‘Halloween Ends’, the atmosphere is heavier than ever, and there is a sense of finality that’s been long coming but in its execution as well as the presentation of its themes, ‘Ends‘ is a much more complex movie than just Laurie versus Michael. It eventually culminates in that event yes but the exploration of victim shaming along with legacy and healing make for a final chapter that although unconventional, it’s ultimately very effective and fitting. It is the unconventional finale this franchise needed and as a dear fan, I couldn’t love it more.
major spoilers for ‘Halloween Ends’ are featured in this review.
‘Halloween Ends’ is not for everyone and there is no doubt in my mind that David Gordon Green knows that. This trilogy has pushed the boundaries of the franchise in its storytelling and some fans just don’t watch these movies for that reason which is perfectly understandable. However, most of the complaints I have been hearing have to do with the fact that Michael Myers isn’t in the movie for that long and that the focus shifts to Corey Cunningham, a new and original character played by Rohan Campbell. If I wanted to watch another movie with Myers going on a killing spree in Haddonfield, I would not only watch the other two movies in this trilogy but quite literally any film in the franchise (except III). This is not me saying ‘Ends‘ is not flawed because I do have some gripes with it but Corey and Michael aren’t a part of them. My gripes more so have to do with the decision to timeskip to four years after the events of ‘Halloween Kills’ which was definitely not a bad idea however I felt that it took away from the impact Karen’s death had on Laurie after the previous two movies focused so much on Laurie wanting to keep her family safe. It should’ve been a turning point for the trilogy and it really wasn’t which is a very odd choice. Allyson’s entire character is ultimately underwritten, in fact, her entire place in this story is questionable. She isn’t really the lead in any movie of this trilogy. She is not meant to replace Laurie as a Final Girl but instead represent a girl who has the support of two generations before her unlike Laurie in 1978. She holds the future of the Strode name. Because of that, she isn’t drowning in trauma and hurt and is much more confident when it comes to facing Michael. After being warned by Laurie in 2018 to leave so she and Karen can take care of Michael, she steps up and slashes his wrist getting him to let go of Karen. Her connection to Laurie wasn’t really delved into that much in this trilogy but their similarities are evident in their actions. I hope that she finds a therapist ready for a challenge wherever she settles down.
If there is anything ‘Halloween Kills’ and ‘Halloween Ends’ achieve that is infinitely better than the 2018 movie, it’s the opening sequences. The incredible flashback sequence in ‘Kills‘ was hard to top but ‘Ends‘ comes awfully close. The flashback sequence this time takes place in 2019 when Haddonfield is starting to experience the wrath of new killings inspired by The Shape. As two parents get ready to go to a Halloween party, they entrust the safety of their child to the innocent Corey Cunningham. A nice kind babysitter in Haddonfield on Halloween night? Sounds familiar doesn’t it? This opening scene perfectly sets Corey up as a foil to Laurie Strode. Two good people who were thrown into tragedy and had the town turn against them. While the aspect of victim-shaming in ‘Ends‘ could’ve been better executed better but the overall effect was there. This trilogy has already explored Michael and Laurie’s connection, it is even established in ‘Kills‘ that Myers doesn’t have any emotional connection to Laurie in this trilogy. It makes perfect sense to rediscover the themes of good and evil through a new protagonist in the finale. He is a perfect product of Strode and Myers, it’s actually quite genius when you think about it. I love Corey Cunningham, I love what Rohan Campbell did with the character, he is easily one of my favourite parts of this movie. It makes so much sense to have what is almost a variant of Laurie’s, this kind babysitter who experiences tragedy and is thrown into the eyes of pure evil, only he succumbs to it like Michael and starts feeding into his inner evil. His connection to Michael was compelling, it was fascinating seeing Corey face and interact with the literal embodiment of evil. It was made out as if he were tampering with the forces of nature by teaming up with Michael and even more so when he takes his mask. If ‘Halloween Ends’ shows anything, it’s that the story has now gone beyond the two of them and is expanding on how it affects outside forces.
Considering just how many sequels this franchise has seen, it was genuinely refreshing to see the finale of it all (for now) be so unconventional and unpredictable. ‘Halloween Ends’ is definitely the most original film in the trilogy and just like the other two, David Gordon Green made sure to make it feel like its own thing. From the atmosphere to the brilliant score to the entire concept of Corey, ‘Ends‘ has a strong individual personality. I mentioned this in my ‘Halloween Kills’ review and I’ll say it once more here, Green has upped the stylization and personality with each movie and ‘Ends‘ is no different. He is at his most ambitious here and it proved a success. Out of all the three, this is definitely the one that resembles an 80s slasher the most. The lighting was way more noticeable in this movie, I loved how they used the emptiness that lies within darkness. It reminded me a lot of the original. Sometimes it was iffy, especially during the final fight and even more so in the scene where Laurie confronts Corey and wakes him up. Sometimes, however, there are shots that looked straight out of a ’70s movie. John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies did an outstanding job with this trilogy but the ‘Ends‘ score might be my favourite. The synths have never been stronger and the melodies so reminiscent of the original score. It truly feels like the perfect successor to that 1978 score. The tracks ‘Transformation’, ‘The Procession’ and ‘Cherry Blossoms’ are quite the original standouts. It must also be noted just how brilliant the use of the original score is, ‘Laurie’s Theme Ends’ and the Main Title are truly perfect. Seeing those flashback shots with the music in the cinema was insane. It was also nice exploring new locations, I loved how they embraced nightlife in Haddonfield, the Junk Yard, Radio Station and Club were utilized quite well. Not to mention, the transitions in this movie are quite literally insane. I showed this movie to four people so far and pointing out how insane these transitions are have been a highlight. Allyson’s hands fading into the moon? Perfection. Pumpkin guts smashing to the floor then cutting to spaghetti and meatballs? Inventive. Corey hitting the piano with a crowbar and then smashing to him on his motorcycle? It’s alarming just how much of this movie I’ve memorized.
Despite the ongoing statement that ‘Halloween‘ is an endless franchise, the truth is that the story of Laurie Strode and Michael Myers isn’t one that can be stretched that far. However, the way this trilogy goes about it is pretty smart, treating each movie like a finale. Each movie differently satisfies a finale’s needs. ‘Halloween (2018)’ gave the fans the anticipated reunion, ‘Halloween Kills‘ delivered the high action horror while ‘Halloween Ends’ delivers the emotional and spiritual finale. This is why the lack of Myers and Strode together wasn’t really a flaw in my opinion. We’ve seen them go at it in 2018, I didn’t need another movie with the two of them playing a game of cat and mouse. It is canon that Michael is now 65 years old, he is way too old for this shit. I have to say though that one shot with Michael hiding behind a tree staring at Laurie who is spying on Allyson and Corey and they play that iconic motif, it made me oh so happy. Laurie’s arc is one of the few things I wanted the movie to get right and while I would’ve liked them to at least explore the aftermath of Karen’s death, I would say they did a fantastic job portraying her as a complex protagonist. Someone who has faced so much trauma, paranoia and guilt yet still is brave enough to try and move on and find happiness. Seeing Haddonfield turn against her was interesting, she is unfortunately the face of those two tragic nights in 1978 and 2018. When she started preparing her suicide, I was petrified because I do believe that with all that happened to her, she would consider actually doing it and it’s interesting to see her fall so deep in her own head to start treating her trauma as a prophecy in which she is willing to actually die if it means that Myers dies with her. I like that they took Laurie in that direction because it makes sense, she knows the town is beyond saving and she is well aware that Myers isn’t emotionally driven to her but at the end of the day, Michael Myers is her boogeyman and she knows in her mind that she has to be the one to end it. The Fight itself in the kitchen was amazing, I just wish it was slightly longer, it felt a bit short and rushed but the ideas and references in it were perfect. Laurie’s entire monologue before slitting his throat is just so dramatic and iconic, I loved it! I love it so much that Michael was still willing to kill her, even as he is dying and that Laurie succumbs to that fantasy in her head that she has to die to finish what started back in 1978. I think it’s brilliant to have Allyson come in and break Michael’s arm because even though Laurie had already done most of the work, it’s the future of the Strode Family that comes back to make sure he’s dead and gone. She ended the cycle and gave Laurie the ability to have a future. It’s beautiful and I wish the movie paid a bit more attention to their dynamic and parallels but overall this ending was supremely satisfying. The entire procession was fantastic, words cannot describe the satisfaction of watching Myers getting thrown in the shredder by Laurie with all of Haddonfield backing her up. Now THAT is how to destroy a slasher icon (in a good way!).
Overall, when it comes to modern requels and sequel trilogies, David Gordon Green manages to be one of the few that in my eyes, reinstitutes originality into a multi-decade franchise. There isn’t any predictability in his ‘Halloween‘ trilogy and although some have shown their disdain for it, I think it’s commendable to go in this route. ‘Halloween Ends’ is campy, cheesy and oh so corny but it captures elements of what made the original so iconic, it transports these characters into the present in a realistic way while still maintaining what made them so iconic. This was an excellent send-off for Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode. She will forever be my final girl. I am so grateful to have been able to see the end of this saga in theatres, I went three times. As a ‘Halloween‘ fan, I am mighty pleased.
Thank You, John Carpenter, Debra Hill, Jamie Lee Curtis for creating Laurie Strode and Kudos to every single actor portraying Michael Myers for creating one of the most iconic horror villains of all time.
‘Halloween Ends’ is now showing in cinemas as well as available on Peacock.