Halloween Ends debuts in theaters and on Peacock on October 14th. Below is a spoiler free review.
The original Halloween practically invented the trope of the killer rising from his apparent death for one last surprise attack. In the same vein, Halloween Ends as a whole feels like one hell of a narrative curveball just before the curtain closes on the franchise as we’ve known it up to this point (this time, anyway). In deciding to jettison everything but the original film as canon, director David Gordon Green made an early decision to focus his Halloween trilogy on the essence of John Carpenter’s classic work, particularly how the violence of Michael Myers fuels evil depicted as an elemental force. Halloween Ends furthers Green’s exploration of whether evil and its ramifications can truly be transcended in ways that are intriguing in their larger implications, but at times at odds with his more grounded goal of bringing Laurie Strode’s story to a satisfying ending.
While the first two Green Halloween films explored how trauma affects a family and a community, Ends focuses on how trauma can mutate and form destructive cycles – something the opening image of a reincarnating pumpkin early heralds. The questioning of that idea in Halloween Ends rests largely on the shoulders of new character Cory Cunningham (Rohan Campbell), whose powerful introduction sets the stage for a study of how Michael Myers’ legacy influenced Haddonfield’s hopes for the future. Cory, a young man with great college prospects, has a lot in common with Laurie Strode at this age, and Green uses details like choosing chocolate milk over beer while babysitting to raise interesting questions about his moral compass. A shocking ending to Cory’s babysitting gig pushes him further in Laurie’s footsteps, with the whole decaying town treating him as an outcast – he’s even targeted by a roving band of dastardly band geeks. Of course, you don’t introduce a roving band of dastardly band geeks in a slasher movie without a very bloody end in sight for them, and their increasingly creative demise later serves as the backbone for one of Halloween End’s slasher mayhem classic sequences stand out.
Cory’s inner turmoil and his reaction to Michael’s recent activities at Haddonfield provide End’s most interesting, if confusing, character arc and an unexpected lens through which to examine The Shape’s legacy. Up to this point, Green’s trilogy has used Laurie and the entire population of Haddonfield as a counterpoint to this evil, but in each of these cases we, the audience, had a lot of history with these parties. Transferring all that thematic weight to a single new character so late in the game is a risk that doesn’t fully pay off. Rohan Campbell gets off to a likable start as Cory, with a boy-next-door charm so pure that the collective cold shoulder his character receives feels almost unreal in comparison, but Ends loses his commitment to the Character tends to flesh out near the middle and therefore changes in his personality always feel less motivated. Cory and Laurie’s granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) develops a bond through a mutual sense of non-belonging meant to contextualize his place in the larger morality game, but as time passes their bond feels more focused on the confrontation between Laurie Instigating and Michael that Green knows we’re pregnant. Matichak gets the short end of the stick here, as she has to serve as both Cory and Laurie’s likeness, giving Allyson no place in the story of her own.
After spending much of “Halloween Kills” in a hospital bed, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) takes a more active role in “Ends,” building on the admirable way in which she copes with whatever has led to this point Has. Now a surrogate mother to the orphaned Allyson, Laurie, who flirts with Frank Hawkins (Will Patton) at the grocery store and fumbles to avoid burning a cake, almost feels like a counterpart from a parallel dimension Michael Myers never met. Curtis is as focused on selling Laurie’s quieter emotional triumphs as she is her modern-day ass-kicking persona, leaving us a performance that combines both in a testament to how much she adores the last girl role that put her on the map Has. But of course, this is the last (?) Halloween movie and so Laurie is called upon to take on her oldest, scariest dance partner one more time. Green keeps a keen eye on audience expectations during the climax of Ends, with many nods to the imagery from Carpenter’s original film, but the Law of Diminishing Returns prevents Laurie and Michael’s ultimate confrontation from having the clout of their last reunion in Halloween 2018 . The rematch doesn’t feel like what Ends was working towards, and the immediate aftermath of it escalates at such a breathtaking rate that you barely have time to ponder what the outcome really means for the survivors.
After a long line of competing visions of mythology, this new Halloween trilogy has benefited most from the fact that a director’s vision ties it together. Even though Ends starts to distract with its self-serious discussions about “evil,” it feels very similar to David Gordon Green’s earlier endeavors and having seen many Halloween sequels that beg to be merged some, It’s hard to argue that having more chefs in the kitchen has ever served the Halloween movies well. Green’s approach to filming Michael’s violence remains as brutal and stylish as ever. Ends is perhaps the best looking of Green’s three Halloween films, with powerful glimpses of Haddonfield’s underworld and upper class serving as equally haunting backdrops for gory and tense sequences. The film’s opening scene is set in what is arguably the largest house in Haddonfield, and its opulent design gives Green space to both instill fear and draw attention to evil outcomes. Ends is largely serious business, but during these characteristic killing scenes, Green allows himself to wink at us with a series of pleasantly staged horror images. There’s only a finite amount a drumstick can twirl before it lands in someone’s eye, right?
The many pale faces of Halloween’s Michael Myers
#Halloween #Recap #IGN