Jamie Lee Curtis has been speaking a lot about what this new Halloween trilogy has meant to her, in the wake of Halloween Ends. It’s no surprise, given the film has been billed and marketed everywhere as Laurie Strode’s final confrontation with Michael Myers, as Curtis’ last contribution to this franchise. Seeing the last movie means seeing the last of Laurie Strode, and for that, Curtis has been understandably very emotional in every interview and conversation about her strength, courage, and legacy. Thank God Halloween Ends has the decency to somewhat honor that.
The good news is that Halloween Ends actually ends. The bad news is… well… actually it may not be bad news. It really depends on what you go to a Halloween movie for.
The 2018 reboot of Halloween went back to basics but modernized the premise with a cleaner, expensive blockbuster feel, resulting in an extremely satisfying third act. Halloween Kills went all in on the kills and practical effects with one of the angriest Michael Myers we’ve ever seen, but despite the interesting ideas of collective trauma and mob mentality, the handling of such ideas left much to be desired.
And now we get to the finale, and for some reason, director David Gordon Green and his writing team think now is finally the time to write something completely different. The result is the most divisive and gutsiest (pun intended) film we’ve had since Rob Zombie’s Halloween II. Diehard Halloween fans will certainly have something to talk about with this one.
Originally conceptualized as an immediate continuation of Kills, Halloween Ends takes place four years after the events of Kills, after Michael has mysteriously vanished after his killing spree. Haddonfield was forced to move on, dealing with an unresolved void of the boogeyman possibly still existing around every corner. With that in mind, it becomes easy for a town’s people to give that mask to a new face.
The majority of the story revolves around a brand new character named Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell), whose backstory and motivation drives all the conflicts and events in the film. With the script taking this direction, the film gains and loses specific qualities. On one end, the film gets to play with an interesting dynamic of Laurie Strode on the verge of recovery clashing with Haddonfield always wanting a boogeyman. Somewhere between the lines, David Gordon Green flirts with ideas like nature vs. nurture, how evil is something we must all tame inside of us, and – as Jamie Lee Curtis has described – what we do to victims of violence.
On the other end, most of the film feels more like a drama and less like a “Halloween movie.” Though the film absolutely gives Laurie Strode space to live alongside her grief and try to move on with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), the script inadvertently sidelines them in favor of having to follow Corey longer, in order to fully flesh out its ideas. As a result, Laurie can seem arguably underwritten and Allyson is sadly the least interesting she’s ever been in this trilogy. Last but not least, we don’t get as much Michael Myers as fans might’ve hoped. The more time the film dedicates to new stuff, the more time it has to take away from foundational stuff the fans have always loved.
That’s not to say Halloween Ends completely underwhelms on the horror aspects. The kills are gnarly as always (one of them is so ridiculous, it will easily be everyone’s favorite) and the filmmaking team once again honors some of the suspenseful moments in the original 1978 film but with a modernized sensibility. With the help of the cinematography and a reliably great score by the returning John Carpenter, his son Cody Carpenter, and his godson Daniel Davies, David Gordon Green continues to show moviegoers that Michael Myers is undoubtedly the greatest, most watchable icon of evil on the big screen.
Once the bloodshed begins, Halloween Ends delivers. The last 20 minutes are intense, fast, and efficient, as Laurie faces Michael head on. She may be less prepared than she was in the 2018 film, but with that, the violence is much more raw and visceral.
Again, with this storytelling risk, the film gains something, but it also loses something. Not everything works, and this writing team juggles a lot. The wobbly dialogue can’t always keep the tone in control – an issue this whole trilogy has faced. At the same time, there are plenty of lines in Ends that are thoughtfully written and give the right effect. But loyal fans have always relied on Michael and Laurie to keep all the problems at bay. Now that David Gordon Green has thrown us a curveball, the question is how easily can fans embrace the new material. For this critic, I admire the messy effort.
Instead of playing things safe and being a typical conclusion, Halloween Ends goes in an unexpected direction and attempts a new story. The execution doesn’t always land, but it is all in service of interesting ideas the franchise has never seen before. But most of all, it gives an intensely satisfying ending to this Blumhouse trilogy.
For 44 years, Jamie Lee Curtis has given her all to this series. Everything good in her life, as she has said before, came from Laurie Strode. Finally, after all this time, it feels good to see Laurie have her own sigh of relief and live on through the hearts of everyone who has supported her fight since 1978.
Universal Pictures will release Halloween Ends simultaneously in theaters and on Peacock on October 14, 2022.