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Halloween Ends Review: What Happened at the End of the Series?

The “Halloween” franchise, which concludes this weekend (and if you believe that, I have a set of extremely rusty kitchen knives I’d like to sell you), has always been the least pompous of the horror franchises. A tall attacker wearing a rubber mask emerges from the shadows to cut one victim after another. It does not get much more basic than that in terms of horror.

But, of course, the “Halloween” series has always had a pretentious side โ€” the side that began with Donald Pleasance droning on about evil, and the side that has grown over the course of the present trilogy to include Laurie Strode’s self-actualized remorse and misery.

As for Michael Myers, who began as a murderer in a little village, he has been transformed into A Force Greater Than Himself. And in “Halloween Ends,” this trend culminates in a film in which Michael is, in a sense, barely there; he is the film’s totem, mascot, and ominous symbol of evil. “Halloween Ends” is hardly the most frightening or entertaining installment of the franchise. (Both should have been present, but neither is) Instead, it is the most meaningless and complicated entry.

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It begins with a promising scene crafted with a Hitchcockian sense of humor. Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell), the main character of the film, gets hired as a babysitter for Jeremy, a boisterous youngster, on Halloween 2019 in Haddonfield. In what looks to be a cruel prank, the child vanishes shortly thereafter.

As Corey searches the house for him, filmmaker David Gordon Green employs dramatic camera angles, and we eagerly await the appearance of the child or Michael from the shadows.

Instead, Jeremy confines Corey in the attic and makes fun of him from the other side of the door. When Corey busts in the door, he inadvertently knocks Jeremy over the banister of the two-story spiral staircase, just as the child’s parents arrive home to see his tragic demise.

Halloween Ends Review
Halloween Ends Review

It was a freak accident; Corey committed no wrongdoing. Even though he is cleared of manslaughter, he becomes a local pariah in Haddonfield, where he is regarded as the “crazy babysitter” who murdered a child. He will not be the only character in the film to be falsely accused of wrongdoing. You would assume that Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) would be a local hero at this time, but she is not. People now hold her accountable for triggering Michael Myers’ rampages.

Initially, Rohan Campbell appears to be a charming actor. He is appealing in a manner reminiscent of a young Tom Berenger with Roman-shaped lips, and the fact that he comes across as such a vulnerable nerd makes him a sympathetic character.

He ends himself at the clinic where Laurie’s live-in granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) works as a nurse after his hand is injured in a scuffle with a group of teenage punks. On the movie’s grounds, their instant attraction makes sense: Corey is an outsider (for unjustified reasons), and Allyson wants to heal and protect him, perhaps because her grandmother has also become an unjust outcast.

However, after too many encounters with neighborhood thugs, Corey is pulled into a sewer pipe. We can determine who is dragging. Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney), who has been hiding out in a sewer with rats for companionship, does not kill Corey in the same manner as he kills everyone else.

This is something we cannot predict or fully comprehend, even after it occurs. Instead, the two share a long, meaningful stare, and we are intended to interpret this as Corey absorbing Michael Myers’ spirit. Michael is not required to murder him.

He now has something more valuable than another victim: a disciple! A partner. And perhaps, in a sense, his follower represents the killer in all of us.

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Or some other thing. David Gordon Green, who directed all three films in the H40 trilogy, tackles this series with a sprinkling of “creativity” that, in the end, serves to dampen the series’ fundamental entertainment value.

His 2018 “Halloween” was a shrewd piece of slasher nostalgia because it was as basic as the first “Halloween” โ€” an old-fashioned film about slicing up and hanging people. But “Halloween Kills” got lost in its mushy attempts to be contemporary, and “Halloween Ends,” despite having a revenge-of-the-nerd plot and a thematic superstructure that feels a little out of the usual, fails to execute the fundamental work of revving up and frightening the audience.

Halloween Ends Review
Halloween Ends Review

Corey-as-the-appropriated-spirit-of-Michael-Myers is a half-interesting, half-baked concept that does not exactly evoke fear. He simply lacks Michael’s menacing nature. Who desires a “humanized” murder machine?

Regarding Laurie, I’m sorry, but I preferred her when she experienced less metaphysical inner turmoil. Laurie is writing a book about her experience battling Michael’s evil, and she must repeatedly read passages such as “People create their own stories and make their own decisions.

They believe whatever they desire.” It is difficult not to root for Jamie Lee Curtis, but in this instance I wanted her to stop being the Joan Didion of slasher fighters.

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Obviously, Laurie and Michael will battle to the death. They now complement one another like the Joker and Batman. However, the climactic kitchen-utensil fight is marred by a sense of inevitability, and Michael’s death in the film’s grinding conclusion leaves the viewer wondering, “Okay, so how will they bring him back next time?” The truth is that this series has been cheating death since the final shot of 1978’s “Halloween” โ€” a moment so grotesquely dishonest in its setting-up-the-sequel opportunism that one could say it helped pave the way for the new unreality culture.

Halloween ends, but the “Halloween” series is defined by the fact that it never ends. That is Michael Myers’ true power. Regardless of how many times they kill him, he always returns with the unholy might of a person with back-end deal points.

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