“Halloween Ends” Review: Laurie vs. Michael Myers

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“Halloween Ends” Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis

“Halloween Ends” might end up being the most polarizing film in the franchise. I think it’s destined to develop a cult following over the years and will provide continuous discussion among the fanbase. The final chapter, in this timeline, takes a step in a new direction.

Four years after the events of 2018, a babysitter is accused of murdering a young boy. He now lives with a controversial reputation and a trauma that haunts him deeply. He begins a relationship with Laurie Strode’s granddaughter, which kicks off a series of events that forces Laurie to confront the evil that has haunted her for years. Can Laurie extinguish evil once and for all? Or will the legacy of Michael Myers live on?

Positives

I am one who appreciates trying something new — “Halloween Ends” certainly does that. The story takes risks and goes to places the franchise has never been before. This makes for a compelling story centered around Corey Cunningham, our new character. Every event that takes place regarding Laurie and Allyson revolves around him.

Rohan Campbell gives a surprisingly nuanced performance and helps us feel the sympathy that his character deserves. Allyson is also given more to do in the film. I’ve always enjoyed her presence in the series and am glad her character was showcased more.

But Jamie Lee Curtis is the one worth noting. She was awesome, and her enthusiasm for Laurie is apparent. Her characterization in “Ends” is arguably my favorite. We get to see her writing a memoir and attempting to move on. This adds new layers to her character and helps Laurie’s arc come full circle.

I also enjoyed the angle that the story is told from. The film is more of a character study than the previous two installments and leans into themes of trauma and survival. If you weren’t a fan of the balls to the wall carnage in “Halloween Kills,” this will be a welcome change.

The best part of the film involves the opening scene and final confrontation. The first ten minutes of the movie are absolutely shocking. This sets the precedent that this is, indeed, a different kind of “Halloween” film. The finale is also great. As a passionate fan of this franchise, Michael and Laurie’s battle did not disappoint. I’d say if the rest of the story is jarring and unexpected, the climax is classic “Halloween.” I left pretty satisfied overall.

Negatives

Unfortunately, “Halloween Ends” wasn’t the cartwheel inducing finale I hoped for. I loved both previous entries and expected something similar. The movie is messy and certainly won’t jive with everyone. “Halloween” traditionalists will likely leave frustrated and disappointed with the tonal transition. It hardly feels like a “Halloween” film for most of the movie.

On the other hand, fans wanting a fresh perspective will probably welcome a change of pace. The film spends a large amount of the runtime getting to know a brand new character. Introducing a new character so late in the game didn’t strike me as a great idea, especially when the new character is essentially the lead. This sidelines Laurie and Michael for a duration of the film. If that were the case for a middle entry that’s establishing new ideas leading into a finale, I’d say this is great. But cramming all of this into the finale feels rushed and disappointing.

Another aspect that will be divisive is the treatment of Michael Myers. His screen time is cut down immensely and is utilized in a very jarring way. Following the trend of this new story, some will love this and some will hate it. While I did thoroughly enjoy the end battle, it was short lived. Circulating back to “the grand finale” idea, I was hoping the final confrontation would have been stretched out and more impactful to both Michael and Laurie’s legacy. It’s certainly satisfying, but I wanted more.

Believe it or not, these are my short thoughts on the film, ha! There is so much to dissect and analyze as a fan of this long running franchise. While “Halloween Ends” won’t satisfy everyone, it certainly provides enough of what we love about the series while entering new territory. I admire David Gordon Green and co. for swinging for the fences, but unfortunately it leaves his “Halloween” trilogy with a divisive reaction rather than a resounding hoorah.

I’m sure the thirteenth entry will have audiences discussing for years. Where the “Halloween” franchise goes from here…who knows? Being a lifelong fan of the series, I’m certainly satisfied. But one must wonder if a less chaotic finale would have been more effective.