Here we are. The purported end of Michael Myer’s murderous saga. Jamie Lee Curtis’ very last ride as Laurie Strode (although that’s what they said after Halloween Resurrection in 2002…) Certainly, this will be the last entry of the Blumhouse rebooted trilogy, which re-invigorated the franchise by ignoring all entries other than John Carpenter’s 1978 classic. I found 2018’s Halloween to be wildly successful – it skillfully brought Laurie and her bogeyman into the modern era by hitting the right mix of screams and smarts. 2021’s Halloween Kills? If they gave out Oscars in the “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed” category, it would have run away with it.
I’m happy to say I enjoyed Halloween Ends quite a bit more than Halloween Kills. I also fully admit this movie won’t be everyone’s cup of tea (or, in Michael Myer’s terms, everyone’s kitchen knife.) Director David Gordon Green and co-writer Danny McBride are grappling with big ideas, and take some bold narrative swings in this film. This is a movie that is less concerned with slices and screams. Instead, it reflects on the nature of evil, as well as the long-lasting effects of trauma and pain on both survivors and bystanders.
It’s a big switch, and it makes for a bumpy cinematic experience. This shift is embodied most clearly in the new character of Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell). It is Halloween Night in 2019 when we are first introduced to Corey (1 year after the events of the rebooted Halloween and Halloween Kills.) He is shy but bright and has the unfortunate luck to be a babysitter in Haddonfield, Illinois. An awful incident occurs, and Corey is much changed when we flash forward to Ends’ present day. A potential romance with Laurie Strode’s granddaughter, Allyson (an underused Andi Matichak) offers a hopeful future. But Corey is vulnerable, touched by darkness, and shamed by nearly everyone else in town. The core battle of Halloween Ends is in many aspects focused on this tug-of-war for Corey’s soul. Let’s be clear: if the above turns you off, then you will not like this movie.
Ultimately, what drew me to this film was the inevitable confrontation between Laurie and The Shape, and there Halloween Ends does deliver. It is exciting and exhilarating and left me wanting more. So much of this is due to Jamie Lee Curtis’ performance. In 2018’s Halloween, Laurie Strode was a type of haunted doomsday prepper – her every moment and movement was dominated by a fear of Michael Myers returning. In this final iteration, Laurie is looser and more free. She bakes pies and makes jokes. But she is not naïve. After 44 years and 6 prior appearances. Curtis still brings such fire to this character. All of the film’s best moments belong to her, and they are worth the price of admission.
It’s impossible to really evaluate Halloween Ends on its own. There is simply too much history at play (both between Laurie and Michael Myers, and across horror film history in general.) I appreciated that Ends tried to wrestle with this legacy. I also hope they let Myers and Laurie rest now. Those seeking a final slice, a final scream, and return to the many films that have come before. Nobody needs to see Halloween Ends, Again.
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