Directed by David Gordon Green and starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Anti Matichak, Halloween Ends caps off the modern trilogy with a twist on the long-running franchise.
When audiences back in 1978 first saw Halloween and experienced Michael Myers in all his gory glory, I bet they weren’t thinking that this movie would transform into a series that would still be going 44 years later. In that span of time, we got to watch the journey of Jamie Lee Curtis’s Laurie Strode as she grapples with the trauma of that horrific Halloween night that would change her life forever. And although this series of horror films took many odd twists and turns (and completely went off the rails more than once), Michael Myers has solidified himself as one of the most formidable and classic killers in horror film history. Halloween Ends not only wraps up the trilogy that David Gordon Green began back in 2018’s Halloween, it also brings the story that started back in the original 1978 film to an effective close. Or does it?
Set four years after the brutal events of Halloween Kills, the film begins with Laurie Strode, who now lives with her granddaughter Allyson (Anti Matichak) in relative peace. Although her daughter was unexpectedly killed by Michael Myers in the last film, Laurie has decided to not let her past trauma run her life and make her live in fear like in the previous films. Although Laurie and Allyson are trying to move on, the townspeople of Haddonfield certainly haven’t forgotten and have begun to turn against each other. When Laurie comes across a young man named Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell) who is being bullied for his dark past, she decides to help him out and even introduces him to her granddaughter.
Allyson is immediately intrigued by Corey and the two begin hanging out and realizing they may have more in common than they initially thought. But, as Corey is haunted by his past and repeatedly reminded of what he did (you’ll find out in the opening scene of the film), you begin to feel that his intentions may not be so pure. When Corey stumbles upon a very broken and weak Michael Myers in a sewer tunnel, he sees an opportunity to learn from this legend and maybe use his legacy to take revenge on this town that has cast him aside. As Corey forms this uneasy alliance with Michael, Laurie Strode has a familiar yet unsettling feeling that Corey is going down an unforgivable path.
While the film does give longtime fans the final fight between Laurie and Michael as advertised, it is more focused on the idea of trauma and how it can affect people, even an entire town, in a more violent way than others. The concept of a tragic character like Corey is sadly too similar to what many people go through in today’s society. He did something awful that was technically an accident, but to those involved it’s impossible to think of him as anything but the person who ruined their life. As Corey tries and fails to live as normal a life as possible, his unresolved pain and anger is far more akin to the descent of Michael Myers than it isn’t. I genuinely didn’t expect this film to tackle such a serious issue in this way while still managing to deliver the familiar Michael Myers kills that fans expect.
The fight itself between Laurie and Michael is shorter than expected. It was an emotional and brutal brawl between these longtime foes that ends in a predictable, yet somewhat satisfying way. However, throughout this new trilogy of films, Michael Myers has been painted as a borderline Terminator, making this final confrontation almost a little too much to accept. In a way, the filmmaker wants you to think that the Laurie vs. Michael battle is what the movie is all about, but it’s really about the harmful, lasting effects of deep-seated trauma and how hard it is to let go of the past. Jamie Lee Curtis gives another great performance as Laurie Strode, making for an authentically enjoyable character journey dating back to the 2018 film and beyond.
The Halloween franchise is divisive among horror fans. While some of the films are silly and odd, every one of them has something unique and memorable for returning viewers and newcomers alike. While I still believe the 2018 film was the best of this new trilogy, Halloween Ends brings something unexpected and fulfilling to the table after the lackluster middle film last year. The story of Michael Myers may be over for now, but his impact on the horror film genre and pop culture in general will live on forever.
Halloween Ends is now playing in theaters and available to stream on paid tiers of Peacock. Watch the official trailer here.