The reboot sequel trilogy to one of the most popular horror franchises of all time – and arguably the best-masked killer – comes to an “end” in David Gordon Green’s final chapter of his Halloween trilogy.
Halloween Ends promises to be the finale to the 44-year face-off between Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and the faceless killer, Michael Myers, aka The Shape (James Jude Courtney/Nick Castle).
To recap: teenager Laurie Strode and her friends are stalked by a masked killer on Halloween night in 1978. Laurie is the sole survivor. In David Gordon Green’s reboot – Halloween (2018) – the story picks up 40 years later with Laurie, a recluse in a jacked-up home complete with booby traps and loads of security enhancements so that if/when Michael ever escapes prison and comes for her, she’ll be ready. She believes she’s right, and they do battle. He, of course, survives, leading to Halloween Kills, which takes place the same night and has the entire town of Haddonfield on a Frankenstein witch-hunt to get the guy. More murders and deaths occur, and Michael escapes – again.
It’s now four years later. Laurie’s daughter is dead at the hands of Michael, so she is living with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak). Inexplicably, she has decided to forgo building a new fortress and just gets a regular ol’ house in Haddonfield, even though Michael is still out there. Not only that, she and her granddaughter are excited about Halloween parties despite the fact that Allyson’s parents and Laurie’s daughter died on Halloween. Huh?
Meanwhile, Laurie is writing a poetic book about her experiences, and Allyson is a nurse at a doctor’s office.
But the film opens with a flashback to 2019 – a year after Michael caused havoc once again in the community. It involves a college student named Corey (Rohan Campbell) who is babysitting a bratty kid on Halloween night. Tragedy occurs, and Corey is accused of murder even though it was all an accident. He is now the town pariah, and not much has changed in the present.
However, Laurie spots him being bullied and comes to his rescue, eventually introducing him to her daughter. The two damaged souls hit it off, and all seems well. Or does it? Because another bullying incident with some local teens is the catalyst for the return of everyone’s favorite serial killer.
That is all of the plot I’m going to reveal. The joy of this movie is that it doesn’t play like a typical Halloween film, so you really have no idea where it’s going. There’s a lot of character work for a lot of the main players, which is compelling and gives the franchise some depth.
Laurie has become a pariah in her own right. Once the “freak” who built a fortress for herself, she is now the woman that brought Michael back into Haddonfield and caused more death. The resulting guilt and shame silence her in many ways, forcing her to retreat because she might actually agree with them.
Allyson has grown a tough exterior, having lived through her own hell, which is why she is so attracted to Corey, who is as damaged as they come. And as the film progresses, he becomes even more so.
Green’s film (credited to four writers in total) tries to go for some psychological depth here, and it works for the most part. The problem is that it just doesn’t feel like a Halloween movie. When you are completing a trilogy – and arguably an entire franchise – audiences want the familiar to get that thrill one last time (there’s a reason fans go to these movies). For this film, the final confrontation between Michael and Laurie doesn’t occur until the last fifteen minutes or so, much of which is shown in the trailer.
The rest of the film focuses on Allyson and Corey and how they tie into Michael. It’s a fascinating study on what turns someone evil, and there are notions presented here that make Michael seem potentially supernatural (although not much is really done with this). There is much to appreciate, and I applaud Green’s attempt at making something a bit more profound than the typical slasher movie. However, I’m not so sure fans will be as forgiving.
The cast is good here, with Matichak having more to do this time as a fully-realized character. New addition Corey is the most compelling, and Campbell is impressive at navigating his character’s various moods, personalities, and layers. He definitely makes an impression, and if this weren’t a Halloween movie, I’d argue he might have gotten some award season chatter.
Disappointingly, Kyle Richards, back as Laurie’s original babysitting charge, Lindsey Wallace, is barely utilized and never makes another appearance after a few brief scenes (and there’s one very specific scene where she is noticeably absent). I would have loved to see the two team up to battle Michael, but alas, she is acknowledged only as fan service (despite her claim to fame now being one of the Real Housewives, and she’s a really good actor who I’d like to see more of).
And then there’s Jamie Lee. Ms. Curtis always nails her roles, and she continues to bring a gravitas to Laurie Strode that is surprising after all of these years. While psychologically, I think the original legacy sequel Halloween H20 works better and features a more exciting battle with her boogeyman, she lends depth to the part that makes it feel urgent and important. Whether it’s the pain in her eyes at having brought Michael back to town or the fury over the wasted years Michael has engendered, Curtis digs deep and gives us a character to relate to and root for.
Despite this having a different feel from the rest of the trilogy, I applaud Green and company for trying something new and giving the end of the franchise more weight (or IS it the end?) Hardcore fans might be disappointed in the lack of Michael and the focus on other characters, particularly someone brand new. Still, some might enjoy the unpredictability of how it all goes down.
I did like Halloween Ends. Was I a bit let-down? Sure. I wanted a full-on 90-minute battle royale (I really thought she was going to buy the house she originally babysat in and wait for his return to bring the franchise full circle). But despite that, I was glued to the screen the whole time. I am now a fan of Campbell (The Hardy Boys, Virgin River) and felt a nice sense of closure to the Laurie/Michael story.
When and how it will continue is anyone’s guess, but I do have my suspicions we haven’t seen the last of our dear ol’ Michael.