A Decent Final Bow
Haddonfield has a new and chillingly recognizable nightmare brought to us by Michael Myers: his legacy. It’s not even The Shape himself the town should be scared of; it’s the fear he injected into them. After all, he’s barely present for a notable portion of the 2022 movie. And that’s where Halloween Ends does its due diligence.
It’s not the satisfying finale we were waiting for. In fact, they cut out a few small moments we initially saw in the trailer and it ends on a weak note. But we’re handed a completely different plate to dissect this time around in comparison to 2018’s Halloween and 2021’s Halloween Kills. It’s lackluster in quite a few ways, but it’s a breath of fresh air nevertheless for the franchise.
Four years after Michael slaughtered the Illinois town, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has finally picked up the pieces of her trauma and moved forward with her life, now living with granddaughter Alyson (Andi Matichak). Laurie’s daughter, Karen (Judy Greer), sadly faced Michael’s wrath, and now that she’s gone, Laurie is working on a memoir. She even celebrates Halloween this time around! That’s right; she carves jack-o-lanterns, decorates her newly purchased home with cobwebs and spiders and encourages Alyson to go out with a boy at a Halloween party.
Enter the mysterious and traumatized Cory Cunningham (Rohan Campbell), who was accused of murdering a boy he babysat in 2019 even though it was an accident (maybe the bratty kid had it coming after locking his babysitter in a dark room, just saying strictly speaking in the horror genre). After Cory and Alyson get close, Laurie quickly recognizes how deep and far evil can go as she faces Michael once again.
Halloween Ends begins and ends with satirical rock ‘n’ roll tunes, taunting us of the fear we think we’re already acquainted with. We don’t even get a glimpse of Michael, but we’re given a new storyline that parallels the legendary masked killer. And, of course, it all starts with a jack-o-lantern at the beginning — several, in fact — peeling away to eventually reveal one plain, uncarved pumpkin to open the film. What could that mean? A sign of a new faceless terror, perhaps?
The Blame Game
Choosing a scapegoat is the easy way out for some people, and that’s the case with Haddonfield. We witness Laurie get jeered at and ruthlessly blasted by residents who chose to blame her for Michael’s killing spree.
A group of extremely rude teenagers mock Laurie for being a “freak show,” whereas the sister of one of Michael’s victims from Halloween Kills lashes out at Laurie at the grocery store for inadvertently causing her sister’s paralysis. The town is playing a blame game against her, and it even alters her granddaughter’s mindset at one point in the middle of her new romance.
When people don’t have the main culprit in front of them, they’ll punish the next person in line. Halloween Ends dramatizes this to the point where it’s unbelievable. However, it’s not wrong either. We see this in reality every day.
The new Halloween trilogy made the concept of romance and love laughably impossible. Sure, we saw Alyson date Cameron (Dylan Arnold) in high school, but he quickly turned out to be a jerk. Now, we see a whole new young love blossom between her and a guy who’s been bullied by Haddonfield and his abusive mother for years. Two star-crossed lovers, struggling with their pasts, bonding over a desire to move on.
For a split second, Alyson and Cory give us hope, especially when Laurie encourages her granddaughter to go out with him. But we soon learn that relationships based solely on trauma and anger can’t last. And that’s not Alyson’s fault.
Then, we see a few flashes of Laurie’s budding relationship with Officer Hawkins (Will Patton). We already caught sight of it in Halloween Kills during Laurie’s long hospital stay, but Halloween Ends teases a possible future for her.
The Finishing Touches
As the final installment, Halloween Ends had to live up to a lot of expectations. And it didn’t, but it tried to pack everything into an hour-and-a-half runtime.
Where is the “Come and get me, motherf–ker” line? Where is the powerful voiceover in the trailer when Laurie says, “Maybe the only way he can die, is if I die too?” We’re missing a bunch of key moments here, and that deflated the balloon that director David Gordon Green tried to blow up.
However, he did succeed with justice. Haddonfield and Halloween fans alike want to see them get revenge on Michael, and boy, do we see a skewer-filled battle between Laurie and The Shape. Guns can’t kill him; we know that. But he can somehow be weakened, and Green invented a way to do this in such a way that is gory to watch but understandable too.
Do we have a new Michael Myers or does our favorite masked killer just have an apprentice? We find that out in the middle of the movie while following along with this new plot that gradually entwines with Michael.
In Laurie’s memoir, she writes, “Evil never dies” — a seemingly hopeless mindset, but it’s more so just good ol’ reality smacking us in the face. It’s hard to grasp that since we’ve watched this oddly immortal serial killer constantly come back to life over the past 40 years. But it’s unfortunately true about evil in daily life.
In Halloween 2018, we’re reintroduced to Michael’s embodiment of pure soullessness. In Halloween Kills, Haddonfield mobilizes its “Evil dies tonight” motto, but, as we saw at the time, evil didn’t go away. It only worsened and continued from there. Now that we’re in Laurie’s true final chapter, we learn alongside her that humanity can’t bury evil; we can suppress it, but that doesn’t help matters either. Laurie even tells this to Cory, identifying it as an “infection” that eventually unfolds.
Here is where Halloween Ends paints Michael’s legacy. We may or may not get another Halloween film in the future. After all, this is show business; everyone wants to make money, and what better way to do that than to invite a fandom back into their favorite nightmare? The 2022 film leaves the door open for a possible resurrection of the legend of Michael. It doesn’t have to be him — a controversial point, yes — but anyone can wear that mask.
Remember Dr. Sartain (Haluk Bilginer) from the 2018 movie? That guy was obsessed with learning the reasons behind Michael’s insatiable murderous hunger. And to do so, he put the mask on and nearly kidnapped Alyson. After we saw that, who’s to say that someone else can’t wear it too?
It wouldn’t be the same, but Halloween Ends introduces us to the idea that it’s possible to have another masked monster who carries on Michael’s killer legacy.
Overall, Halloween Ends lacks many details that it could have used to be a real show-stopping finale. Perhaps it could have been split into two films, like how teen franchises went about that challenge. However, this is a famous and traditional story we’ve known since 1978. The babysitter murderer-turned-constant-killer has never died before, but there is one point in the movie that may quench the thirst for revenge. While it points out that humanity has the choice to either let go of our anger or to let it consume us, Halloween Ends also tries to satisfy that moment we’ve all been waiting for: our final girl’s vengeance.
Nevertheless, this is not just about Laurie Strode this time around. It was frustrating to see her practically absent in Halloween Kills, but Halloween Ends gives us just enough of a balance between Laurie and the other characters in this web that Michael spun. After all, that’s what leads us to wonder what Michael Myers means to us. As the “essence of evil,” he is the anger and brutal frustration humans are trained to suppress. We’re not rabid killers, but he shows us how a person can almost easily become him. They don’t need his help to exude violence; they just need a little nudge, and that’s what scares people.
So, will Michael — or his legacy — ever strike again?
All in all, Halloween Ends is a much more interesting ride than its predecessor. But for a movie with the word “ends” in it, there should have been more hair-raising suspense and surprises in its conclusion. If Green intended for a mundane ending to prove a point, that would have been okay if we were given a scene or two to feel as anxious as we were while watching 2018’s Halloween. Blood, guts and gore aren’t scary when we’re not on the edge of our seats.
Halloween Ends (2022) Official Trailer