After bringing Michael Myers back to the silver screen four years ago, Halloween Ends brings the slasher franchise’s latest trilogy, consisting of Halloween (2018) and Halloween Kills, to a close with a final confrontation between Michael and arch-enemy Laurie Strode.
For fans of the series, this final film is likely going to be very divisive. Halloween Ends takes a different spin on the classic formula with an interesting setup and themes about how trauma spreads through different people. It’s largely held back however by a disjointed plot, messy character development, and the cardinal sin of such a legendary franchise: Michael Myers just doesn’t feel that important in his own movie.
It’s been four years since the events of Halloween Kills where the masked serial killer Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) returned and massacred dozens of civilians in the town of Haddonfield. The survivors are beginning to recover with the main heroine Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) trying to let go of her anger and move on, living with her now-adult granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak).
Soon a young man named Corey Cunnigham (Rohan Campbell) comes into their lives, an outcast who is derided and demonized by the town for accidentally killing a child he was looking after. Both women see Corey as a kindred spirit and Allyson soon sparks a romance with him. One night however Corey has a faithful encounter with Michael Myers which leads to evil once again rising up to stalk and kill through the town.
Coming Back To Haddonfield
I can’t really say anything about the plot beyond that without going into spoilers however the main issue with the film is that despite being billed as the final confrontation between Michael and Laurie, Michael feels almost like a side character in this movie, and his rivalry with Laurie doesn’t play a big part in the film until right near the end of the movie. The majority of the film is focused on Corey and Allyson’s drama and romance.
That’s not to say it doesn’t have any good aspects. I actually really like the first few scenes of the movie as it sets the tone for the new Haddonfield. The big theme of Halloween Ends is how characters are moving on from Michael’s massacre and how he continues to influence the town even in his absence. We see that people a lot of people are more paranoid surrounding Michael, more willing to ostracize those deemed attached to his case and justify toxicity against them. It this a decent job of showing how such a tragedy can change a town.
Corey starts off with a solid example of this, because of one mistake, he is harassed and bullied because an accident made him seem somewhat similar to Michael. You see how it affects his work, social life, and family with his mother being an overbearing wreck.
From there, however, the movie really goes off the rails at a far too fast pace. Corey and Allyson seem to fall in love just after meeting and later in the movie Corey starts acting like a completely different person with only vague reasons as to why. It doesn’t feel believable and once the third act begins, a lot of this is quickly swept under the rug for Michael and Laurie to square off. It almost feels like two films stitched together with how quickly plots and character transition without being properly explained or developed.
For my gripes with the script, the cast overall gives solid performances. Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode continues to be the heart of this series and she really carries the movie. While Laurie spends the last two films bitterly hunting Michael, in this film she’s started to let go of her hatred and move. She now spends her time as Allyson’s sassy grandma but you can tell that deep down Michael still haunts her.
The film also shows more than ever that despite being an innocent survivor, many still treat her as a “freak” saying she “provoked” Michael into killing. It’s a great example of how victim-blaming works and how it can affect a real person. Through this Curis really shows her range as an actor, she knows how we act happy, sad, and patiently optimistic when she really hurting on the inside.
Allyson likewise does well. She’s now moved on from high school to a job at the local hospital but like her grandma, you see her grapple with losing all her friends and parents the night of the murders. It’s one of the why I actually bought her being attracted to Corey at first as they both know what it feels like to have dealt with death and trauma while also being gawked at by other people in town before it started going downhill.
Speaking of which, that brings us to Corey Cunningham. A lot of how much you enjoy this film will depend on this guy as it’s just as much his movie as it is Laurie and Michael’s. He first comes off as a hard-working but meek 20-something, kinda cute in how dorky he is, but after meeting Michael he just completely transforms becoming more confident but far more unhinged. The character change just feels too jarring, and often came off as too hammy to take seriously. It makes you question why Alysson would continue to go out with him as he’s so blatantly creepy to be around.
Michael Myers is probably the most disappointing part of the movie in that it just doesn’t feel like there’s a lot of him in it. Of course, he starts killing again but he is now working with other parties. The idea of Michael working with others already feels very out of character and takes away from the shadowy boogeyman persona the character was always known for. The bigger problem however is that these kills are planned based on others’ agendas as opposed to random like usual, which gives Michael less agency. It’s like he’s just along for the ride.
Outside of this, nothing new is really done with The Shape. You don’t learn anything more about his past, his motivations, and how exactly he was able to survive being stabbed in the head in the previous movie despite being like 80 years old. All the mystery surrounding him in the previous films, why he wanted to go back to his old house, it’s not brought up at all.
I will say though that his actor James Jude Courtney while never speaking gives Michael a lot of personality and presence. He still has the dangerous imposing aura but you can also tell that he’s far older now. There’s a slight world-weariness to Michael that’s hard to explain but you can almost sense that he knows that this is going to be his last hunt and he’s going to make the most of it. Is just a shame that you don’t see a lot of him. He just feels there, and it’s pretty underwhelming when the movie is the culmination of a trilogy surrounding this character.
One point I will give Halloween Ends is that, as always, the kills are pretty effective. They’re not as many as the mid-town massacre of the Halloween Kills but they make them count with a good mix of simple but visceral knight stabbings to some more creative use of new tools of murder. There’s one at the junkyard and one at a radio station that we’re particularly gruesome and complete with some deliciously visceral blood and sound effect.
John Carpenter’s score is likewise great as ever with an eerie minimalist group of tracks that add a tinge of dread to every scene in there. The Halloween theme returns once again and it’s used very appropriately.
Halloween Ends is a movie that has some neat ideas that were butchered by mishandled direction. It has a good setup and initial theme: Laurie, Alysson, and Corey attempting to move on from past trauma on for them to be pulled back only for these plot points to lead to messy follow-ups that aren’t properly explained or connected.
Curtis and Courtney are great as the two main leads, both more than comfortable in these roles and deliver powerful subtle performances. Unfortunately, they’re also pushed to the background in favor of contrived mellow drama and romance that often feels out of nowhere and unearned.
If you’re just looking for a gory slasher movie, you’ll probably have a good time with Halloween Kills, the knifing and slashing scenes are legitimately great. As the ending to the new trilogy and Michael Myers and Laurie Strode’s feud though, perhaps it’s time for The Boogieman to put the knife back down and take a long rest.
|Jamie Lee Curtis brings another great performance as Laurie Strode||Michael Myers feels like a side character in his own movie|
|The kills are as gruesome as ever||Incoherent plot with contrived plot points|
|Character development often feels rushed and unexplained|
Halloween Ends is currently playing in cinemas across Malaysia