HALLOWEEN ENDS (REVIEW)
Dir. David Gordon Green
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
44 years after John Carpenter gave the world the world a new horror icon. Over those years Michael Myers has carved his way through many audiences and giving horror fans at least a favourite entry in the franchise. Since 2018 the series was revitalised and erased all history post Carpenter's first film to give a reimagined timeline for Michael and his surviving victim, Laurie Strode. H40 arrived and gave us a fresh take on trauma, giving us a fierce final girl who was ready to fight back, this new Strode is a fighter, a survivor and one ready to match anything Myers throws at her. The 2021 follow-up HALLOWEEN KILLS showed how mob mentality and fear could drive a town into a frenzy and gave us Myers Vs Haddonfield, now we have reached the end of not only Laurie's story, but maybe even the ned of Michael's. Maybe.
Picking up four years after the events of KILLS, ENDS sees Lauri Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and granddaughter Alyson (Andi Matichak) are living life in suburbia but history has a way of repeating itself as echoes of Haddonfield's past are surfaced through new eyes.
Where HALLOWEEN KILLS gave us some of the series most memorable kills and ramped the violence up to Zombie level furore, HALLOWEEN ENDS strips it back and leaves Myers antics out of the first 90 minutes in favour of a rehash of plot points covered in HALLOWEEN IV and V.
The film has an interesting social political point on how monsters are created but this is quickly abandoned in favour of delivering a number of kills taken away from Michael's kill count. For hardened fans of the franchise, David Gordon Green's trilogy is little more than a streamlined, and cohesive of what's come before. H40 was a return to the monster but wrapped around the corruption of others captured in Zombie's films all delivered in a storyline of HALLOWEEN H20's already trodden post trauma Laurie Strode; KILLS gave us a glorious extension of the 1978 classic with so many references to HALLOWEEN III the only thing missing was a robot overlord and now ENDS takes aim at the series tail end entries with touches of Danielle Harris' Jamie Lloyd with Scout Taylor Compton's Laurie from H2.
There are some positives; that DGG's tighter highlight reel of the franchise gives us a better timeline for Jamie Lee Curtis and proves why she is the franchise MVP. This is not Michael's story, this is Laurie's and ENDS neatly closes her chapter in a respectful and welcome conclusion. The cast of favourites including Curtis, Matichak, Kyle Richards, Will Patton and this trilogies Shape, James Jude Courtney alongside newcomer Rohan Campbell all give the best they can and really give this film more heart than any film before. The problem is that for fans of HALLOWEEN and the series, we're back in 1982 territory with an audience clambering for more Michael but the coherence in his story across this trilogy is scathingly dumb, even insulting. From the film's credits to the nods of showing Carpenter films on the TV, there seems an irony that this is HALLOWEEN III mark 2 while still being a Laurie and Michael film. The themes are certainly solid fodder for storytelling and worthy discussion points but where these lie in the chronology of films covering only 6 years, it's frustrating that they feel like footnotes - after the devastation left by Michael in KILLS, it's amazing how we now return to normality where the town's fear remains a footnote in history and nothing more. Heck, Laurie's daughter and Alyson's mother is relegated to a hand print. Furthermore the questions of what makes a monster and the choices that can avert this are quickly abandoned leaving more threads lying about than a tired rug.
There has always been elements of the man behind the mask that have been supernatural, HALLOWEEN KILLS clearly showed he was an unstoppable evil and would stop at nothing to wreak havoc on those who got in his way, like a shadow always dawning over Laurie, always there and ready to strike. So why, for four long years, does the monster stay in hiding? Fighting for survival like a bear but knowingly hiding from society in such a way that makes him human, it gives him fear to be caught. Even worse, he's only coaxed out of hiding here because of a strange friendship he makes which somehow comes between killer and apprentice. It's a strange direction for a trilogy of films where Danny McBride and David Gordon Green's script seems to make it up as it goes along for convenience. There's a moment in ENDS where Michael's humanity is revealed and you almost feel sorry for him in that moment, which is completely against everything KILLS had led us to believe. After watching the trilogy it's still unclear whether Michael was human or supernatural but either way, there is a huge lack of cohesion that ENDS refuses to clarify.
This is the end of Laurie's story and thankfully Jamie Lee Curtis carries the film to give us a satisfying conclusion but the fact remains that ENDS, as well as DGG's trilogy are a tonal mess. The Myers she finally comes into conflict with is a pale comparison to the one she fights in H40 and furthermore lacks any of the weight he carried through KILLS, here is a shallow corpse of a man, one that is nowhere near as terrifying as the one we've seen before. The series has some highlights and can't be ignored but for the most part, ENDS turns the tide and gives us more questions than answers.