Film Review: Halloween Ends brings the iconic horror franchise to a close in the most unexpected manner

Despite the fact that last year’s Halloween Kills drove the chant home that “Evil Dies Tonight”, the contrary proved more accurate as the series’ central figure quite brazenly refused to go down with the bloody beatings he was afforded towards the climactic moments of David Gordon Green‘s divisive sequel.

Said figure, Michael Myers, has been terrorising the sleepy town of Haddonfield, Illinois for the better part of four decades now and, really, it’s about time both he and the Halloween series lay to rest.  We are promised with such a title as Halloween Ends that his knife-happy ways will come to a close, and whilst any choice that Green and co-writers Danny McBride, Paul Brad Logan, and Chris Bernier made was always going to have its critics – we all know how vocal the audiences were with last year’s Kills – I can confidently say that the long-running franchise comes to a close in an entirely unexpected manner; whether that’s good or bad remains to be seen or, more correctly, heard.

It’s been four years since the blood-soaked events of Kills, and quintessential final girl Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has seemingly finally moved on from her many battles with “the boogeyman”, including the slaughter of her daughter, Karen (Judy Greer).  She’s writing her memoir, she flirts awkwardly (and kind of adorably) with fellow survivor Frank Hawkins (Will Patton), and she’s shacked up with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), who has also found a purpose in her life through her hopeful career as a nurse; her choice in men on the other hand is questionable – but we’ll get to that.

The irony in that statement regarding Allyon’s love life is that it’s Laurie who introduces her to town outcast Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell) – a red flag name if ever we heard one – a reserved young man whose introductory scene to the film lays the groundwork for Green’s unconventional narrative path.  A jovial lad tasked to babysit a young child, an innocent prank performed by the latter leads to a brutal accident that labels Corey a child killer.  We learn that he wasn’t significantly jailed, but keeps a low enough profile in town to avoid the stares and insults he oft endures.  Laurie, knowing how it is to be demonised for actions out of her control, sees the good in him and plays cupid, hoping his lost soul will be found by the open Allyson.

It’s here in Ends that the film takes some extreme swings, with both its treatment of Corey and of Michael Myers unexpectedly handled.  We know that Michael’s “disappearance” is to lull many – namely Laurie – into a false sense of security and it’s their dynamic that has driven so many of these films – the good and the bad – to some sense of satisfaction.  It isn’t a spoiler to say that, yes, Michael and Laurie face off against one another, but how that interaction comes to be – and the who and why behind it – is another story entirely, one that leans into the last film’s suggestion of Michael’s supernatural transference without truly committing to such an exploration.

Whilst Ends, at times, doesn’t always feel like a film that belongs in the Halloween canon, it does feel like it has something of a tighter grip on certain motivational actions behind its bloodshed.  Kills, for all its faults, enjoyed itself immensely from a gore point of view, amping itself up and displaying no mercy as it offed as many people as possible, and whether or not they were connected to Laurie didn’t seem to matter.  Ends has a more specific mentality in its killings.  Sure, it may kill off a predatory doctor, a group of bratty teenagers, and a chatty DJ – the latter probably earning the film’s nastiest send-off – but there’s a method to their murders, and though you may not agree with Green’s decision to do so, you have to kind of respect him for such a ballsy, uncharacteristic move.

Throughout it all though is Curtis.  Feeling far more human and useful as a character than her more side-lined stint in Kills, Ends at least showcases both the actress and her character in the resilient, emotional light she deserves.  For so long a “final” showdown has been teased and, admittedly, Ends showcases a welcome fight between the two that speaks to both their unstoppable natures.

Whilst there’s something to be said that Green suggests the presence of evil will never truly die through the actions of other characters, this feels definitive enough for the filmmaker and Curtis to send the series and its beloved players – yes, even you, Michael – off into the blood-soaked sunset.  It may not be the Halloween film we want or deserve, but it aims for an altered presence that, at least, slices away any predictability.


Halloween Ends is screening in Australian theatres from October 13th, 2022

Peter Gray

Seasoned film critic. Gives a great interview. Penchant for horror. Unashamed fan of Michelle Pfeiffer and Jason Momoa.