“The saga of Michael Myers and Laurie Strode comes to a spine-chilling climax in the final installment of this trilogy.”

Director: David Gordon Green
Writers: John Carpenter, Debra Hill, Paul Brad Logan
Staring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Rohan Campbell, Will Patton
Rated: R
Release Date: October 14, 2022

Here we are in Haddonfield, IL, four years after the events of Halloween Kills (2021). Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has turned over a new leaf and is attempting to live with her past by commemorating it in a memoir. While she stares out her second story corner window, her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) is living with the memories of her dead mother while working at a hospital with a not-so-HR-friendly work enviroment.

The two survivors, as well as the town as a whole, are attempting to live with the trauma that Michael Myers triggered. His home is torn down, but evil doesn’t die with its residence is reduced to ruble. The town of Haddonfield is trigger happy and filled with crime and paranoia. The not-so-happy suburban neighborhood has a dome of angst over it, and the claustrophobia of it all hits some more than others.

Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell) was an engineering student with a promising future, but a horrendous accident while babysitting pins his hopes on a runaway dog. Corey crosses paths with Laurie and Allyson, and at firsts it all seems rather natural and understandably awkward for individuals who have been part of traumatic experiences.

Naturally, as you would assume, events transpire that catalyze into an avalanche of terror and violence. Thought-forgotten memories and instincts are brought back into the spotlight as the presumed dead Michael Myers makes a bloody, killer, comeback.

From here on out is spoilers. So spoilers beware.

Halloween Ends begins with a fantastic sequence. Absolutely outstanding. Corey is babysitting a terribly annoying kid. After showing him John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) (great callback to the original) Corey gets teased and led up to the attic by some obscure and ominous sounds. Everyone watching is expecting the return of Michael Myers.

Insert Dikembe Mutombo’s finger wag.

In a fit of fear of anger, Corey opens a locked door with extreme force. Little did he know that the child he was meant to be watching was actually right outside the door. SPLAT! This kid tumbles three floors to the ground and lands bloodily right in front of his parents who were returning from a Halloween party.

This opening vignette is an excellent short story of its own. Sure, there are mentions of Myers in an antagonizing way by the child, but this accidental manslaughter can be viewed by a non Halloween fan and be enjoyed thoroughly. What a way to set the scene for Haddonfield’s dangerous vibe and paranoia.

Corey is the fulcrum for this entire movie. He gets off with a relative slap-on-the-wrist for his accidental murder, and the stench of his past follows him endlessly. Rather than going to engineering school, he is working for his dad in an auto shop. Corey is bullied (by high school band students…?) constantly and finds himself as the butt end of many unfortunate circumstances.

The luck begins to shift for Corey with Laurie helps him against some of his assailants one day and introduces him to Allyson. Laurie, in an effort to be “normal”, is trying to set up her granddaughter with someone. Little does she know, then man she introduces Allyson to becomes a mirror of the shadow that cast itself over her entire life.

Corey (Rohan Campbell) before the chaos begins taking over…

Halloween Ends takes the turn everyone expects when Corey is recklessly shoved off a bridge by the aforementioned high school students. He lands under a bridge, near a sewer grate, in a forgotten but of rock-filled shrubbery. He lands there, but he wakes up in the sewer. How did Corey get there?

You know how.

Michael Myers is alive. Michael Myers survived the events of Halloween Kills and has been living off rats and whatever he can underneath the town. Corey is scared shitless of the situation and tries to escape, but his sprint is halted when Myers grabs him by the throat through a crack on the wall. The two meet eye to eye, and we see it. We see the transformation. We see the seed of evil being planted into the soul of Corey.

This is the moment in Halloween Ends where many dive in, or bail out. There is a sense of the supernatural here. The idea that evil can be passed down. The idea that Myers senses a kinsman sip with Corey. The hate that Corey has for the town that hates him is fertile soul for Myers to transplant into.

If you have seen all of the Halloween movies, then you know there is a hint at the supernatural in some of the sequels. There are evil cults, telepathic connections and other absurd contrivances thrown in expand the legacy and lore of Myers. Halloween Ends does the same thing here, and it works. It works because it is done without words and without explanation. Much like how the evil of Myers as a child is not explored in the original, the extended of the torch here is not rolled out for the audience to comprehend.

It is totally understandable for someone to struggle with this if they aren’t a fan of the franchise, the character, or the horror movie in general.

Once this moment happens in Halloween Ends, the entire story hits the accelerator. Corey and Allyson get very, very attached. Laurie senses a newfound evil in Corey and tries to get Allyson to see it (unsuccessfully). Corey gets a taste for killing…the purposeful kind. And Michael Myers reemerges, ready to remind Laurie and the entire town of Haddonfield of what real terror feels like.

Halloween Ends runs fast and it is a dead sprint to the finish line. The final 15 minutes are just as thrilling as the opening five. Corey is involved again, but he is just an appetizer to the entrée. Director David Gordon Green stages a tense, bloody, violent, and all-be-it surprisingly satisfying final showdown between Michael Myers and Laurie Strode. After an initial tease towards one conclusion, a quick detour and a surprising decision pins the two icons versus one another in a classic good versus evil showdown. Laurie reverts back to her badass don’t fuck with me attitude and faces her fears with reckless abandon.

It is bloody. It is gorgeous. It is satisfying.

Alright, let’s be fair now. Halloween Ends is not a perfect movie, even if it begins and ends with some of my favorite scenes from this calendar year.

There is a middle portion of this movie where the audience barely sees Laurie or Michael. It turns into a Corey and Allyson episode with a tinge of murderous thriller undertones for thirty minutes or so. It is effective in showing the change of Corey and how evil is intoxicating, regardless of if you choose to fall in love with it, or if it chooses you. It is fine for what it is because the movie doesn’t linger too long. But there was a way to make this better.

If I have one grip with Halloween Ends, it is that they introduce this character of Corey (who is not bad and is effective in this movie) was only introduced in this movie. The finale of the trilogy. It makes me think that Halloween (2018), Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends were written separately and not as conscience trilogy concept. While not as egregious as the newest Star Wars trilogy, this Michael Myers story arc could have been better if Corey was introduced in the first movie.

Corey is the same age as Allyson, so why not have them in high school together. We can meet Corey at the dance. Perhaps he lends Allyson a hand when her phone is thrown into the pudding. Nothing too crazy, but you see him as an awkward high schooler and someone who wants to be liked but is struggling to find that self confidence. Then in Halloween Kills, Corey knows someone who was hurt by the mob of townsfolk who were chasing after Myers. He sees the society he lives in turn evil. Then you have Halloween Ends, where he still kills the kid by accident, but you can have a built in rage inside of him when the townsfolk turn on him for an accident when he saw them hurt an innocent person on purpose. He sees the town as hypocritical. Now you have a backstory to the hate and evil that Myers connects with when he shares his shadow-nature with him.

Someone would argue that evil does not need to be defined, and I understand that. However, I think that three story arc would work because it would add some extra oomph to the townsfolk theme of Halloween Kills, which was arguably the weakest part of the this trilogy (for me at least).

But let’s not lose sight of the big picture. Halloween Ends makes Michael Myers fun again. It blends the lore, the violence and the small chunks of comedy of the Halloween franchise into a easily consumable short and spooky smoothie of entertainment.

Halloween Ends ends the David Gordon Green Michael Myers trilogy on a chillingly fun note. It marks a distinct tone change from Halloween Kills (2021), and Jamie Lee Curtis brings her (all-be-it very different) charisma to Laurie Strode. The brisk-paced final chapter (if you really believe it) starts and ends with showstopper moments, bookending the adequately acceptable and watchable middle act.

STANKO RATING: C+ (2.5/5 Stars)


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