Halloween Ends (Review) – Not The Ending You Might Expect

DIRECTOR: David Gordon Green

CAST: Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle, Will Patton, Rohan Campbell, Kyle Richards, Michael O’Leary, Omar Dorsey

RUNNING TIME: 111 mins

CERTIFICATE: 18

BASICALLY…: Laurie Strode (Curtis) faces off against Michael Myers (Courtney/Castle) one last time…

NOW FOR THE REVIEW…

The amount of times throughout the Halloween series that Laurie Strode has made her final stand against her slashing tormentor Michael Myers, is enough to where you now sow the seeds of doubt in your mind whenever you hear that the two are absolutely, definitely going to throw down once and for all. We’ve seen the two clash across several different timelines, and almost always Michael has somehow managed to escape the clutches of death in ridiculous, borderline impossible ways (I’m pretty sure there was one Halloween movie that ended with Michael’s head being chopped off, and he still managed to come back for a sequel), so despite things seeming pretty definitive this time, don’t count out the fact that Halloween Ends is not, in fact, the end of all things Michael Myers.

For many, however, this movie might instead be the end of actual investment in this series, because much like how last year’s Halloween Kills turned out to be extremely divisive amongst critics and audiences, there are bound to be some who will declare this to be the biggest franchise-killer of them all. The thing is, that would undermine some of the genuinely gutsy storytelling decisions made with this final entry in director David Gordon Green’s sequel trilogy, and if nothing else it does earn a bit of respect for being a Halloween movie that, for once, isn’t just Michael Myers killing everyone he sees.

The film takes place four years after the events of both the 2018 Halloween and Halloween Kills, which ended with Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) butchering practically half of Haddonfield, Illinois, including the daughter of his former target Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). While Laurie herself has seemed to finally move on and live a normal life with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), the town is still struggling with the aftermath of such a traumatic event, with some blaming Laurie for what happened, or finding themselves targeting new scapegoats to vent their grief and frustrations. One of them is a young man named Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell), who has become a social pariah after he accidentally killed a kid that he was babysitting, with everyone except for Allyson and initially Laurie giving him a hard time for something that was very much an accident. The constant badgering from the townsfolk soon leads to a run-in between Corey and Michael – who’s been hiding out all this time in the sewers – but, in an interesting turn, the masked killer lets Corey go, paving the way for the troubled young man to develop his own taste for murder in the same way that his unexpected mentor did all those years ago.

From that description, you’d probably be wondering if this is even a Halloween movie, because neither Michael nor even Laurie are in it that much (though she’s definitely more present than in Halloween Kills), and all the attention is being placed on this new character instead of bringing the established hero and villain’s story full circle. While that is technically true about the lack of Michael and Laurie, Halloween Ends is a very different kind of Halloween movie, marking perhaps the biggest shake-up of formula since the underrated Michael-less third entry Season of the Witch, and gives everything it has to exploring as much of this new realm as it can. It is interesting to see how Haddonfield just latches onto this poor kid as a coping mechanism, and the movie does a good job at making Corey sympathetic at first before turning him darker and darker, until the same evil that once lingered in Michael Myers is now very much within this guy, as a direct result of his nasty treatment by people unwilling to forgive or forget. Corey is a tragic character, and Rohan Campbell’s performance throughout is pretty strong as he really makes you feel for him before later feeling pretty intimidated, and it does feel like a natural progression (though, at first, his turn from a meek young man into a bloodthirsty killer is rather sudden). This concept makes the film feel fresh amidst the more formulaic Halloween sequels, and it progresses at a nice enough pace to keep you fully invested in where his story is ultimately going.

While there are some genuinely fascinating directions that Halloween Ends takes, going from the all-out bloodbath of Halloween Kills to this much quieter and more intimate character-driven piece, it is going to anger a lot of people who have come to this movie just to watch Michael and Laurie throw down for the last (but probably not) time, and I can understand why. Beyond the fact that they’re not in the film as much as the trailers or posters would have you believe, there isn’t much of a sense of finality that pumps you up more and more for the inevitable showdown, and by taking this slower pace it has the potential to frustrate viewers who are waiting patiently for what they paid to see. Rest assured, there is indeed a final face-off between the slasher villain and his original “final girl”, and it’s every bit as gnarly and ferocious as you might expect, but if you were going in expecting that to be the whole movie, then by that point any excitement you may have mustered up will have all but evaporated.

However, if you are the kind of viewer who is willing to be patient and allow the movie to do its own thing before getting right into the main attraction, then you’ll get a pretty interesting slasher film masquerading as a conclusion to one of the most influential slashers ever made. Personally, I enjoyed the very different approach that director and co-writer Green went for here, as it offers some interesting ideas about the need for a bogeyman beyond Michael Myers, and explores them in much greater precision than many of the previous Halloween sequels did with their own ideas. Is Halloween Ends the finale that everyone will be expecting? Absolutely not, and that’s precisely why it deserves more credit than it’s getting at the moment. It’s not a perfect conclusion by any means, but it at least shows more ambition and imagination than what one might expect from something that’s meant to cap off a successful slasher movies (for now, anyway).

Either way, it’s fairly safe to say that Michael Myers will be back in some form, whether it’s in a new timeline or if he’s miraculously resurrected in this one (which, given how things end for him here, would be pretty tricky to pull off).

SO, TO SUM UP…

Halloween Ends defies expectations by exploring some intriguing new themes and characters instead of just giving viewers the all-out slasher showdown that they want, which might alienate some audiences but earn the respect of others.

Halloween Ends is now showing in cinemas nationwide – click here to find a screening near you!

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