“Halloween Ends” – A Creatively Bold, Incredibly Divisive Finale (Spoiler Free Review)

44 years, 13 films, 1 iconic killer, and 1 iconic final girl, all of which have led to 2022’s Halloween Ends.  It promises to be a true finale to this mammoth horror franchise (we’ll see how long that lasts), and because of that there is honestly no way possible that such a finale with so much riding on it could possibly please everyone.  The final result is a film that makes very bold and unusual creative choices that will probably make you either love it or hate it, with absolutely no in between…

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The film’s trailers really only highlight this decades-building showdown between Laurie and Michael, but that’s the tip of the iceberg as to what this movie’s about.

Legacy of Trauma
Opening 4 years after the events of Halloween (2018) and Halloween Kills, Halloween Ends picks up with a Haddonfield deeply scarred from the more recent killing spree of Michael Myers.  Crime and terrible accidents continue to thrive as the people of the town live with a sort of negative fog over them, reminiscent of how Pennywise negatively affected the townspeople of Derry in Stephen King’s “It”.

Despite all this, Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) seems to be doing better.  Between getting sober and going to therapy, she isn’t the same paranoid shut in she was in the last two films.  She now lives in town with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), who’s become a nurse in the 4 years since we last saw her.  Having lost a daughter and mother, the two of them bond even stronger, while also still hanging out with Lindsay Wallace (Kyle Richards).

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She doesn’t get a whole lot of screentime, but having her around makes the world feel more complete.

We’re also introduced to a new character named Corey (Rohan Campbell), who’s dealing with some trauma and baggage of his own.  When he and Allyson start dating, it seems like a breath of fresh air for both of them and a potential return to normalcy.  But of course this is a Halloween film, so we know that Michael Myers can’t be far behind.

And honestly that’s all we can really say plotwise without completely spoiling this movie.  In a strange way (which we’ll explain), it’s very difficult to discuss Halloween Ends without spoiling it.

“Last Jedi Syndrome”
Whatever you think this movie, whatever your expectations of it are, Halloween Ends will be completely different from that and unapologetically so.  Much like Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Halloween Ends seems to be playing a game to see how many expectations it can subvert for the sake of doing so.

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The whole first half feels like a completely different movie. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing in principle.

And it’s in this practice that many long term fans of the series are taking issue.  Some are claiming that it jumps the shark, others than that it doesn’t even feel like a Halloween movie.  And here’s the secret, both of those statements are absolutely true, and that’s a good thing (to a point).

Most fans took very well to Halloween (2018), but honestly that one didn’t do very much new or interesting for the franchise.  Both it and Halloween Kills spent a great deal of time focusing on heavy-handed nostalgia, reminding us why we love the original film.  But we don’t need sequels to do that since we can always just go and watch the original any time we want.

Halloween Ends makes very unusual creative choices, and to be fair, they don’t all necessarily pay off.  But at the end of the day, it’s the only movie in this modern trilogy that was primarily focused on telling a new and different story, and that’s what a sequel is supposed to do, because otherwise, why bother making one?

Something Old, Something New
In terms of plot, Halloween Ends feels worlds apart from the original 1978 classic, but in terms of tone, it feels like a true spiritual sequel.  Gone is the cartoonish, over the top energy that was Halloween Kills; replaced with a much slower-paced, character driven horror drama.  After being completely sidelined in Kills, Jamie Lee Curtis gives her most nuanced and layered performance of the franchise in this one.

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We’ve seen her paranoid doomsday prepper Laurie, and we’ve seen suburban Laurie trying to move on. This version of Laurie is the perfect blending of both.

This movie isn’t the massive, epic final showdown that its marketing campaign has suggested, rather it’s Laurie at her most vulnerable trying to learn and grow from her past, with a similar story arc for Allyson as well.  In a strange way, this movie feels the most vintage in its tone, but modern in its ideas.  It goes places that previous installments have only ever hinted at before, but it deserves credit for having the fortitude to do so.

Halloween Ends will inevitably be hated by a large chunk of fans for various reasons.  Those upset by the misleading marketing have a valid point, although it’s not the movie’s fault that the studio advertised it that way.  But at the end of the day, I predict this movie will probably take a lot of heat right now, and in the years that follow, fans will eventually come around to it much like they have Halloween III.

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Let’s be honest, this isn’t the last time we’ll see Michael Myers. It may be the end for this particular timeline, but in a matter of years there’ll be some other remake or reboot or prequel.

What did you think of Halloween Ends?  Was it a fitting finale to the franchise?  Let us know in the comments!

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