The infamous 1978 slasher flick “Halloween”, directed by John Carpenter, has since spawned a lengthy franchise that has spanned almost 40 years. The saga has included various adaptations of Michael Myers and his rampage across 13 films, including two remakes, and now what finally appears to be its final installment. “Halloween Ends”, directed by David Gordon Green, acts as both the conclusion to a trilogy of sequels that began with “Halloween”, and “Halloween Kills”– released in 2018 and 2019, respectively–and as the finale to the franchise. Where I’ll be discussing a lot of intricate parts of the movie, I’d like to caution readers that major spoilers are ahead.
“Halloween Ends” takes place four years after the events of “Halloween Kills”, with Laurie Strode now living with her granddaughter, Allyson, after the death of Laurie’s daughter and Allyson’s mother, Karen. Laurie Strode, our beloved final girl from “Halloween” (1978), has since healed a lot from the trauma endured at the hands of Michael Myers, and no longer spends her days preparing for his return–despite him still being out there somewhere. She spends a lot of time penning her experiences in a memoir as a way to process her trauma and losses, while facing backlash from her town of Haddonfield, Illinois for prodding Michael’s return in the previous two films. On the other hand, Allyson now works as a nurse, and crosses paths with Corey Cunningham, who becomes prevalent to this film’s narrative. The film opens with a flashback to Halloween night in 2019, where Corey Cunningham is babysitting a kid in the neighborhood. After the parents leave, Corey is pranked into being locked into a closet at the top of four flights of stairs by the child he’s babysitting. As the parents arrive home, Corey kicks the door open, which knocks the child over a railing, and he plummets to his death. When the incident is ruled a manslaughter, Corey’s reputation as a good neighborhood guy turns sour as everyone in Haddonfield recognizes him for what they think is an unjust ruling from the incident. After a physical altercation with a group of bullies, Corey is thrown into a ditch, and lands near a sewer grate. He’s dragged inside by none other than Michael Myers, who spares Corey’s life as Corey becomes further intrigued by him and his killing habits. Corey and Allyson develop a relationship, much to the chagrin of Laurie, who begins to see the same evil in Corey that she’s seen in Michael Myers. Her suspicions prove correct throughout the movie when Corey begins carrying out his own homicidal spree himself. All of this culminates in a final showdown between Michael Myers and Laurie Strode, following Corey killing himself in an attempt to frame Laurie for his murder, and to turn Allyson against her grandmother. Michael Myers and Laurie Strode begin an epic fight around Laurie’s home, during which Laurie pins Michael to a countertop, and finally kills him by slitting his wrists and neck. As Laurie and Allyson reconcile, the town converges to put Michael to rest by putting his body through an industrial shredder, which erases any possible chance he has of returning for another killing spree. Our film and franchise ends with Allyson finally leaving Haddonfield, and Laurie beginning a new life beyond Michael Myers once and for all.
So what did we think of this movie? Personally, I feel as though “Halloween Ends” follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, and doesn’t serve the franchise in the way I’m sure it was intended. While I think “Halloween Kills” and “Halloween Ends” each have some good plot points that would serve this trilogy of sequels well, the execution of them disallows them from having any positive effect on the franchise.
A growing theme throughout this trilogy has presented itself, in which evil isn’t just contained to Michael Myers, but can spread from person-to-person like a disease. I feel that at its heart, “Halloween” is a slasher franchise–an endless game of cat and mouse. If done incorrectly, adding too much substance to it that distracts the story from this main principle can squander the quality of the film. Corey Cunningham’s involvement in the main storyline was off-putting, especially where his relationship with Allyson felt so rushed and underdeveloped in the movie. Their relationship was built off a similarity of feeling isolated from their community for varying reasons, which while plausible, lacked depth. Corey’s arc in trying to become the new Michael Myers felt unnecessary and disorienting, where I thought his involvement might’ve been better suited for a minor protagonist role, and keeping the focus on Laurie and Michael’s rivalry.
I also felt that the film taking place four years following “Halloween Kills” stole away from any intensity and thrill that would have prevailed; having the movie start with Laurie finding out her daughter has died at the hands of Michael Myers could have built up the ferocity, desperation, and vigor for a final showdown more than it did in seeing Laurie loosen her grip on the past, only to reconnect with it over her granddaughter’s relationship. The final act of the film, including the final fight scene, was one of the only really enjoyable portions of the movie for me. Seeing Laurie and Michael battle it out reinforced my discontent with a lot of the movie prior, where I enjoyed their chemistry more than I did anyone else’s.
Shifting away from the more negative aspects of the movie, I want to touch on what I found to be quite pleasurable with the movie. For starters, Jaime Lee Curtis’ performance in this was nothing short of amazing. Even though I wish her character arc was different in this movie, Curtis brings a new level to the character of Laurie Strode–we finally see her moving towards happiness and joy as she heals from her past, and a budding romance with a neighbor grows. While we’re used to a hell-bent-on-revenge woman who’s concerned for her family’s safety, it was nice to finally see a different side to her character for once.
The final act of the film, and the way that the whole story has ended is also quite satisfying. The final fight is a sweet release from the buildup of tension that’s been at the forefront of the past two movies in the franchise. The aftermath and conclusion does its best to tie up the franchise in a neat, little bow, with laying the groundwork for our characters’ lives post-Michael–but thankfully, not for another movie. Ending the franchise after around 40 years is what I feel is needed to make way for newer, fresh ideas in Hollywood. At long last, one of the slasher genre’s inaugural final girls can rest.