SPOOKY SZN 2022 MOVIE REVIEW: Halloween Ends
An Unpredictable, Weird Final Chapter For Michael Myers — ★★★½
The time is finally upon us! After 2018’s Halloween reboot kicked off a new trilogy of films, set in the aftermath of the original 1978 film by John Carpenter, we have reached the end of the road with the release of Halloween Ends, the latest from director David Gordon Green. Following the release of Halloween Kills last year, and this film’s shoot being delayed due to COVID-19. the entire planned original story was changed, and in its place… an unpredictable, weird final chapter for Michael Myers and his legacy. While this is a franchise that will never die, and Michael will surely be seen once again years from now, Halloween Ends does offer finality to the character of “The Shape” while also taking the entire series into new territory, likely a reason for the very mixed reactions to this already. As for me, well, if you can read the subtitle of this article, you already know that I quite enjoyed it, so why not get into it already?
Sit back, relax, and enjoy this review of Halloween Ends!
Beginning with a cold open set on Halloween night in 2019, one year after the ending of Halloween Kills, Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell) is babysitting a young boy, whose parents claim has become increasingly paranoid following Michael Myers’ killing spree the previous year. During the night, the child pulls a prank on Corey, opening and closing doors around the house, stealing a knife and screaming for help, in order to lure Corey into the attic. Not realizing that it was a only a prank, a frightened Corey kicks the door open and accidentally sends the kid over the balcony to his death, as his parents walk in, with Corey accused of intentionally killing the boy. Roll the opening credits and cue the iconic Carpenter Halloween theme.
Three years later, with the timeline now jumped forward into 2022, the town of Haddonfield is still reeling from the aftermath of Michael Myers’s latest killing spree, as it becomes established that while The Shape may be gone, his impact on the citizens and their lives was not, with mysterious murders and suicides occurring each Halloween. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has attempted to finally move on from the torture of it all, hoping to be a beacon of hope, as she has bought an actual house in town, is now living with Allyson (Andi Matichak), and is even writing a memoir. Despite this, there are those in Haddonfield who now blame Laurie for Michael’s resurgence, with her having to face the reality that maybe she did share in some of the blame.
After being attacked by local high-schoolers, with the town having labeled him a psycho child-killer, Corey is helped by Laurie, who even introduces him to Allyson, with it being implied that she sensed a connection. From there, Corey and Allyson begin developing some semblance of a relationship, with Allyson heavily flirting with Corey and inviting him to a Halloween party. While he and Allyson hit it off in a steamy dance session during the party, the mother of the boy who Corey accidentally sent to his death is also in attendance, sending Corey spiraling as he leaves and wanders through town. Confronted by the teenagers once again, Corey gets thrown off a bridge before being dragged into the sewers by an unknown figure. Once awoken, Corey comes face-to-face with Michael, who has been living in the sewers since 2018 and appears to be a shell of his former self. Looking into the eyes of the younger man, Michael and Corey become bonded, with the serial killer letting him go, only for Corey to kill a homeless man outside of the sewers, once again sending him on a dark path of death.
While Corey and Allyson continue to bond, the two share an intimate night together, as Laurie begins to sense something off with him. Following an intense confrontation between Allyson, Corey, and Allyson’s ex-boyfriend, Corey lures the man, a police officer, to the sewers where he and Michael murder him together. During the bloodshed, it becomes visible that with more death at his hands, Michael becomes more powerful. Back at work, Allyson fails to land a promotion thanks to her annoying coworker sleeping with her boss. Upon finding this out, Michael and Corey, now donning his own mask from the Halloween party early in the film, tag-team Allyson’s boss and co-worker in a brutal affair. As time goes on, Corey begins picking up on Michael’s mannerisms, with Laurie noticing and confronting him after he leaves his home. Corey tells Laurie that they both have looked into the eyes of Michael Myers and that she should give in rather than fight.
When October 31st rolls around, an emboldened Corey returns to the sewers and successfully fights Michael for his mask, leaving the infamous killer maskless in the sewer. While Allyson prepares to run away from Haddonfield with Corey, he goes on a killing spree, murdering the teenagers that bullied him, a local DJ, and his own mother. Left alone after a fight with Allyson, where her granddaughter blamed her for Michael’s attacks after Corey had informed her of Laurie’s issues with him, Laurie stages her own suicide to lure Corey, whom she shoots and sends to the bottom floor of her home. During this confrontation, Corey laughs as he states that if he can’t have Allyson, no one will, before stabbing himself in the neck to frame Laurie for his death in front of the arriving Allyson. While Allyson runs off briefly, Michael makes his return to Laurie’s home, taking back his mask, killing Corey in brutal fashion, and proceeding to face off against Laurie Strode one final time.
Struggling to win, Laurie eventually pins Michael down to her kitchen table using several knives, and with the help of Allyson, she kills The Shape once and for all. Laurie, Allyson, and the police force of Haddonfield then strap Michael’s body to the top of her car, leading the entire town to the junkyard where the town lifts Michael’s body, ala Peter Parker in Spider-Man 2, into an industrial shredding machine where his body is crushed beyond recognition, thus ending Michael Myers for good. In the time after, Allyson moves out of Haddonfield to begin anew, while Laurie finishes her memoir and suggests that evil is never truly gone, it just takes a new shape… with the closing image being Michael Myers’ mask sitting in Laurie’s office.
So this is going to be a movie that rubs a lot of people the wrong way, and leaves the others feeling pretty great. For me, I fall into the latter portion as I was not really all that hyped for Halloween Ends going into the screening. Before going to see the movie, my significant other even asked me if I was excited and I had to think about it, which is crazy considering how much I loved the 2018 film. Halloween Kills really just left me not needing to continue with the series, and with this film being advertised solely as the final battle between Michael Myers and Laurie Strode, I had little hope that it was going to be anything aside from Michael returning (randomly) after a few years, going on a rampage, and he and/or Laurie die in the end. Instead, David Gordon Green, the writing team, and everyone involved delivered a wildly different movie than what has been advertised over the past several months. While the 2nd film in this reboot trilogy might not be my favorite, it did offer something new with Haddonfield becoming unglued and unhinged during a streak of Michael Myers’ murders. That would play into Halloween Ends, as the aftermath was actually felt. There is an overwhelming sense of dread, fear, and death within Haddonfield, with mysterious murders taking place on the subsequent Halloweens, with seemingly no explanation. That is, until you see the film all the way through and hear the line delivered by Jamie Lee Curtis with regard to evil not ever being gone, only changing shape. With Myers absent, living in the sewers for years, the evil he once brought into Haddonfield manifested in other ways, such as Corey Cunningham’s accidental child murder in the opening. An opening that I have to praise, as I had forgotten if the previous film took place in 2018 or 2019, so I was genuinely assuming Michael was going to appear and kill Corey. Instead, Gordon Green delivered a jaw-dropping, shocking opening that ends with a literal child falling to his death directly in front of his parents.
Making bold decisions in the form of sidelining Michael Myers for nearly the entire film, instead having his evil pass onto a new character in order to tell a brand new story, not just for Laurie Strode, but one more impactful for the character of Allyson as well, Halloween Ends stands out amongst the trilogy as being the boldest of the bunch. While not everything works, David Gordon Green and the writers behind the film went in genuinely new directions for the franchise, establishing (or re-establishing) that Michael Myers is not just a man and does possess some supernatural power, passing on the idea of “The Shape” from Corey and possibly to Laurie as well, and finally, killing the original Michael Myers to a point of no return. Some of these choices will be sticking points for some as they certainly are not for everyone. An example of this would be the two gentlemen seated to my right last night during the screening I went to, where throughout the movie they were quietly complaining to one another about it not making sense and wanting to see Michael Myers on the hunt. This was never going to be that for them, and that’s not even their fault. It is a marketing problem as all of the trailers implied this was some brutal, mega showdown between Laurie and Michael, when it was something much deeper and more interested in expanding the lore behind Laurie, Michael, Allyson, Corey, and Haddonfield as a whole.
With the film ending on such a curious note for a finale, audiences will be left to wonder what the final image implies for years. With Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode having finished her memoir, she promotes the thesis that evil may never be truly gone, that it may take a new shape, while it is revealed that she has the mask of Michael Myers in her home. Is Laurie keeping it as a reminder of her trauma? Is she blaming herself and using the mask to remind herself that it was not her that killed all those people? Is it suggesting that after decades of trauma and seeing innocent citizens and her loved ones killed, that following her killing of Michael Myers, and the fact that she looked into his eyes one more time, even seeing his face this time around, while quite literally mixing their blood together, that Laurie Strode is destined to become The Shape? We will probably never know.
Jamie Lee Curtis delivers her second great performance of 2022, coming off an extremely fun turn in Everything Everywhere All At Once, while Andi Matichak continues to impress. I had never seen her in anything prior to the 2018 reboot, and in all three films, I’ve come away liking her more and more. Delivering an electric, sultry performance during the Halloween Party scene, I loved her and Rohan’s physical chemistry, with their work during the dance sequence reminding me of Anya Taylor-Joy’s energy brought in last year’s Last Night In Soho. Should Halloween continue as a series, please give more to Andi Matichak.
While the film does thrive in taking the series into new directions, it is not without its flaws. A big area, at least for me, that I took issue with was the relationship between Allyson & Corey feeling rushed. Once into it, I did buy them having a connection together, but it made Allyson come off as feeling totally depraved and starved for sex, attention, or literally just human contact with how quickly she literally throws herself at Corey. The film does try to justify it by having Laurie be the one to hook them up with each other, sensing a connection between the two, but it is a bit hard to swallow at least at first. Pacing is another issue throughout, where timing just feels off throughout the film. This does change around the point where Corey and Michael begin working together, but it is evident nonetheless. The performances from the high school bullies also left a lot to be desired, with the leader of the group seemingly trying to do his best impersonation of a character from The Sopranos for literally no reason to the point where anytime he spoke, it became comical, something that did not feel intentional in the filmmaking whatsoever. The film also leaves a weird feeling, as despite me liking a lot of the choices and directions taken, they feel as if they were things that would have been done in the sequel rather than the final film. With there possibly (likely) being no 4th film, it leaves things very muddy with how you’re supposed to feel when the credits begin to role.
Halloween Ends is certainly a mixed bag that is going to leave a lot of people either scratching their heads or totally burnt out on the series. For others, like myself, this will likely serve as a movie that you have to defend to your friends for years before people finally look back on it and say, “oh hey, that was actually really cool and interesting”. Regardless, with Jamie Lee Curtis saying that she is 100% done with Halloween, it remains to be seen if the film will ever pick up on the ending, or if it will be left open to viewer interpretation for the rest of time. For me personally, I think I’d prefer to leave it as is. While seeing a new storyline where Laurie has the evil within her could become one of the craziest and most interesting Halloween films to date, the execution would have to be near-perfect to warrant it. Just let this trilogy go out the way it did, leaving it up to the audience to decide whether Laurie truly extinguished evil or if it has indeed taken a new shape.
Rating — ★★★ ½
Halloween Ends, directed by David Gordon Green and distributed by Universal Pictures, was released in theaters and on the Peacock streaming service on October 14, 2022 and is currently available to stream.
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