A franchise like Halloween is always going to be a lightning rod of debate and deep fried in fandom, no matter which iteration you’re talking about. In the case of co-writer/director David Gordon Green’s new trilogy of direct sequels to John Carpenter’s original classic, we’ve seen that tide of opinion experience major ebbs and flows once again – especially in the reaction to 2021's Halloween Kills.
As the season of the witch has reared its head once again, so too has this franchise with Halloween Ends: a promised grand finale to the rivalry that started it all. And not only does it deliver a bold and satisfying finale for the modern trilogy, it’s the ending that Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode deserves.
While the previous two films take place on the same night in 2018, Halloween Ends jumps to the present day... save for one fateful Halloween in 2019. The movie opens with another tragic death occurs in Haddonfield one year after the events of Halloween Kills, leaving the reputation of a teenage babysitter named Corey (Rohan Campbell) tarnished for years to follow. In 2022, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has a similar problem, as various townsfolk blame her for the return of Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney), who still hasn't been captured.
Laurie writes her memoirs while caring for granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), and both try to put their tragic pasts behind them. It wouldn’t be Halloween Ends if the hulking shape of Michael Myers didn’t reappear at some point, however, and indeed it does. That’s just the beginning of where this threequel differs from its predecessors, though, and it’s part of what makes this departure worth the wait.
Director David Gordon Green’s trilogy capper isn’t completely what you’d expect, and that’s beautiful.
Halloween and Halloween Kills burst onto the scene as killing machines, with Michael Myers rampaging across Haddonfield and leaving tons of bodies in its wake. So if you’re going into Halloween Ends thinking you’ll get more of the same, you may be disappointed. How much you enjoy the film is up to how you embrace its approach, and in my case, I was pleasantly surprised.
David Gordon Green and co-writer Danny McBride return once again for the writing duties, with Paul Brad Logan and Chris Bernier joining the team for this final fight. As each installment has seen Green and McBride collaborating with a new player or two, each film has had its own unique flavor as a result. With Halloween Ends, we’re offered a Neapolitan of slow burn horror, character driven drama/romance, and bloody action. It may sound like a tall order, but it works rather well.
The film undergoes a gradual transformation into the sort of Halloween entry with scares and tears that one would expect. That’s only after we’re given time to become familiar with where Allyson and Laurie are in their lives, four years since Halloween Kills dealt them a most tragic hand. By kicking off Halloween Ends in such an atypical fashion, David Gordon Green and his co-writers establish the stakes for some pretty high value payoffs during the more traditional third act.
Jamie Lee Curtis and her Halloween Ends castmates get to explore who their characters are outside of their trauma.
With such a fresh approach to the lives of the Strode/Nelson family, the finale to the Halloween trilogy reminds us of what these characters are like when they get to exist outside of their usual trauma. That’s not saying previous entries didn’t build intriguing stories through the more violent and bloody means previously exhibited. If Halloween and Halloween Kills were about luring the boogeyman into what was supposed to be the ultimate showdown, then Halloween Ends is all about the consequences of that mission.
Jamie Lee Curtis’ classic final girl Laurie is the very definition of how trauma and consequences intersect in this universe. As the surviving Strode is trying to commit her struggles to paper, we see her trying to let go of the past and lead a normal life. In the earlier acts of Halloween Ends, that means we get to see her getting friendly with Deputy Frank Hawkins (Will Patton), which makes for some of the best moments in this movie.
The same could be said for Andi Matichak’s Allyson, who engages in a romance that actually infuses the movie with the vibes of other ‘80s horror films. Her courtship with Corey borders on the edges of darkness, as the two bond over their outcast status. It’s a combination that leads both to some sweet moments of love, as well as tense scenes that threaten to tear it all apart. It’s definitely not what I’d expect from a Halloween movie, but again, that’s part of what makes this movie so special.
Laurie Strode gets the ending she deserves thanks to Halloween Ends’ epic conclusion.
Going into Halloween Ends, I was expecting Jamie Lee Curtis’ ass kicking skills to be at full throttle throughout. If I had gotten the movie I’d expected walking into this screening, I don’t think I would have liked it as much as I did. Rather than making the endgame for Laurie Strode all about killing Michael Myers, this final chapter combines that old chestnut with a more powerful drive: to overcome the darkness that has sat with her ever since that fateful Halloween in 1978.
If marketing, and Jamie Lee Curtis’ own claims are to be believed, this is the actor’s final ride as Laurie Strode. That builds even more pressure to deliver the goods, as we’ve seen her character written off in some pretty surprising and unsatisfying ways before. Push that notion out of your head here and now, because Halloween Ends is the epic conclusion that Laurie Strode has always deserved.
Carrying an entire legacy of convoluted timelines and continuities on its back, David Gordon Green’s Halloween trilogy has stripped away all of the other sequels and was made with the intention to fully conclude the legacy John Carpenter originated so long ago. Your mileage may vary on how much Halloween Ends succeeds in that enterprise, and that’s not a result that comes from playing it safe.
This final chapter in the modern trilogy of Laurie Strode ends on a high note, which could only be sung after warming up through a non-traditional story of outsiders and the darkness that always threatens to overtake them. No matter the initial feedback that lands upon this movie’s debut, there's no question that Halloween Ends will have fans talking for some time to come.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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