Time: 111 Minutes
Age Rating: Graphic violence, offensive language & cruelty
Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode
Andi Matichak as Allyson Nelson
Will Patton as Deputy Frank Hawkins
Rohan Campbell as Corey Cunningham
Kyle Richards as Lindsey Wallace
James Jude Courtney as Michael Myers/The Shape
Director: David Gordon Green
Four years after her last encounter with masked killer Michael Myers, Laurie Strode is living with her granddaughter and trying to finish her memoir. Myers hasn’t been seen since, and Laurie finally decides to liberate herself from rage and fear and embrace life. However, when a young man stands accused of murdering a boy that he was babysitting, it ignites a cascade of violence and terror that forces Laurie to confront the evil she can’t control.
I was very curious about Halloween Ends, but admittedly was very nervous going into it. David Gordon Green’s trilogy of Halloween movies following the original has been very divisive. I liked the first movie Halloween (2018) despite its issues, and thought that it would’ve been a solid conclusion to the Halloween series. While the second movie Halloween Kills had its moments, it was a very mixed bag and was a bit of a mess, and so I wasn’t confident in the upcoming Halloween Ends. Once I heard of the initial reactions to the new movie however, I started to be intrigued; so far its probably the most polarising movie in the franchise outside of Rob Zombie’s Halloween II. It definitely has problems and could’ve handled some aspects better, but it was way better than what I was expecting it to be.
Much of the marketing frames Halloween Ends as this big and epic final confrontation between Laurie and Michael Myers (for the last time), however that is not at all representative of what the movie is about. Right from the opening scene you can tell that Ends is openly goes out of its way to do something different, which I immediately respect especially when it comes to this franchise. Ends is an intimate and slower paced Halloween movie, in stark contrast to the previous movie Halloween Kills which upped the scale, violence, and yes, kills. From the trailers, Ends looked like it would conform to a generic finale, but it almost feels like an aftermath film, with more of an introspective angle for the story. Even the kills aren’t that frequent and are relatively tame until the final act. The cast of characters are relatively small, and aren’t just 2 dimensional people for Myers to plow through. When certain people are killed, they are actually important to the story or other characters, so it actually means something beyond just gore for the audience. I even felt like the family drama aspect with the Strodes works better here than in the last two movies. Many will be (and are already) disappointed in the fact that you don’t see Michael Myers all that much in this movie. Much of the movie focuses on a brand new character named Corey Cunningham; he’s already one of the most polarising aspects of a Halloween movie and that’s saying something. I think that the Corey storyline generally works and is one of the best parts of the movie. An idea that Halloween Kills (and other Halloween movies) touched on is Michael Myers influencing people to be evil. This is something that Ends leans into and fully realises, and its conveyed through Corey’s storyline. With this, the story of Ends closely resembles Christine (from Stephen King and John Carpenter) more than a Halloween movie, and I mean this as a compliment. It is an interesting take on trauma, fear, isolation and guilt, and is better handled than the past couple Halloween movies.
That’s not to say that all of it works, there is a forced relationship between him and Allyson which comes out of nowhere. Also, Corey’s change was a bit too sudden, and it feels like David Gordon Green didn’t quite follow through on a lot of the ideas that he had. It probably would’ve worked better if it wasn’t also saddled with the burden of being a conclusion. In fact, I think this story might’ve been better told if it had been the start of this new trilogy. It is weird to have it as the ending, and it almost feels like it is underserving Michael Myers and Laurie. Laurie is still a notable presence in the movie, but much like in Kills, her part is seemingly reduced. Also, a consequence of increasing the focus on the Corey storyline is that Myers almost feels like a non entity, you even forget about him at many points. He might not have had a massive amount of screentime in the original film, but he was in it enough to remind you that he was there. Its also very jarring seeing Myers as much weaker and less active after the last movie established him as basically unkillable and unstoppable. The pacing does drag a little in the beginning and middle, nonetheless I was intrigued throughout. The third act has a fight between Laurie and Michael Myers (not much of a spoiler there), and while there could’ve been more to it, the fight felt personal and fitting for the movie’s overall approach, and I was satisfied with the conclusion.
The performances are pretty strong overall. Once again Jamie Lee Curtis is really good as Laurie Strode. Like in Kills, Ends does distance itself from Laurie somewhat, but thankfully the cast of characters in this film isn’t nearly as crowded and so she gets to do more here. I think that this is the best version of Laurie in this new trilogy, there is a spark of human life here that just wasn’t in the last two movies. Here we see her attempt to move on with her life 4 years after Michael Myers returned in the events of Halloween (2018) and Halloween Kills; she seems mostly fine but everything is still hanging on by a thread. I thought that was handled very well. Andi Matichak also returns as Laurie’s granddaughter Allyson and is really good, she’s also at her best here within this new trilogy as a more dynamic and fully realised character. Rohan Campbell plays the critical character of Corey Cunningham and I thought he definitely helped to sell this character. The change in Corey might’ve been a bit too sudden, but Campbell nonetheless does very well at showing the different sides to him.
This is the third time that David Gordon Green has directed a Halloween film, and while there are some faults the films, I think that his direction has generally been good. There is a bleak and moody atmosphere here, and it somehow works better with this slower pace. As usual, the cinematography is great, and there are some shots that look more out of a contained and lower budget horror movie than a Halloween sequel (that’s a good thing). There aren’t a lot of deaths and they don’t reach the heights of the more brutal kills in the series, but there are still a couple memorable moments. Some of the best parts of this trilogy have been the new scores from composers John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies. Its incredible as usual, greatly setting the tone of the movie and adding to the atmosphere.
Halloween Ends definitely isn’t for everyone. The slower paced and introspective approach will be jarring for most people expecting a typical Halloween movie, and that Corey plotline in particular is going to divide people. However it mostly works for me. The ambitious ideas are refreshing and are at the very list respectable, and I found myself interested in what was happening beyond just waiting for Michael Myers to kill again. This is helped by some solid performances, good direction from David Gordon Green, and another outstanding Halloween score. While I do have my issues with this trilogy (mainly Kills), I appreciate that each entry is distinctly different. So while it could’ve ended on a fitting note with Halloween 2018, I’m glad that this trilogy exists.