This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
JasonRLatham’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Now that our Now Playing Podcast Halloween Ends review is out (listen for my special guest appearance!), here’s my review of the sequel. And there are spoilers.
The most divisive of David Gordon Green’s Halloween films brings the director’s “Haddonfield Trilogy” (the unofficial name I’ve given it) to a close with Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode and boogeyman Michael Myers facing off for the last time – following a four-year time jump from 2021’s Halloween Kills -- in a climactic kitchen battle.
But first… Corey.
Fans have a right to feel bamboozled by the film’s marketing, which is all about Laurie v Michael, when the story largely centers on a new character, Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell), who became the town pariah after accidentally killing a boy he was babysitting years earlier. Though Laurie, who also feels like an outcast, tries to bond with Corey, she recognizes a familiar evil in his eyes and fears he may be going down the same path as Haddonfield’s boogeyman.
Throughout his trilogy, Green has shown how Michael Myers infects those around him – his doctor in 2018, Tommy Doyle and the townies in 2021. Here, Corey’s encounter with an aged, weary Myers leads to his transformation, and he soon begins a killing spree, targeting the townsfolk that have harassed and ostracized him since the accident.
But this is about Laurie, right? Yes, Laurie is here, and in the years since Halloween Kills she’s gotten therapy, started writing a memoir, and has taken on many of the maternal traits of her late daughter, Karen (Judy Greer). Like she’s done in 1998 and in 2018, Curtis has reinvented her character – from teenager to trauma victim to survivalist and now, recovering survivor. Living at her new home with granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), we get to see a bit of what Laurie’s life could have been like if she hadn’t met Michael Myers back in 1978, but only briefly, as Corey’s arc drags the heroine back into her previous life of paranoia (and preparedness). When Allyson and Corey begin dating, and she starts to echo his contempt for Haddonfield, Laurie knows she’ll have to fight to get her granddaughter back.
I had the opportunity to see Halloween Ends at a preview screening in late July, and the version I saw is nearly the same (maybe a few lines changed here or there, nothing consequential) as the one that hit theaters and Peacock last week. I knew that Corey was going to be a polarizing character to fans expecting a showdown between babysitter and boogeyman. But after giving them that exact thing in 2018, Green has focused the rest of his trilogy on Haddonfield and how its people have been impacted by Michael Myers.
Here, Green presents a town that has not yet recovered from Myers’ last rampage, and with the killer gone, they’ve turned their ire and blame on Laurie and Corey. In this sequel, Haddonfield feels bleak and hopeless, populated by the angry and bitter. Moving the production from North Carolina to Georgia feels intentional, as the landscape often mirrors the Haddonfield of Rob Zombie’s 2009 Halloween sequel.
The Halloween franchise is hit-and-miss when it tries to break out of the traditional set-em-up-knock-em-down slasher mold. Sometimes it works (Halloween Kills), sometimes you get Busta Rhymes karate fighting Michael Myers. Like its two predecessors in the trilogy, Halloween Ends is a strong entry in the series, but not a perfect one. Corey’s transformation and alliance with Myers had to be the most challenging storyline to execute, and it needed more work to help the audience overcome the implausibility of it all, given what we know about the killer.
It doesn’t reach the highs of Halloween Kills, but it’s a satisfying conclusion, closing Laurie Strode’s arc and Jamie Lee Curtis’ time with the character. There will be another Halloween film, though it’s unlikely the next creators will try something so bold. Recommend.
Note: I don’t usually grade on a star system, so...
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ = Recommend, good movie
⭐️⭐️⭐️ = It’s fine, whatever
⭐️ = Not recommend, I don’t like this movie.