‘Halloween Ends’ Review: The Strode Saga Comes to a Strange, Polarizing Conclusion

Movie Review

Director David Gordon Green’s Halloween Kills ended with Michael Myers finally coming home after an enraged mob encounter, slaying Laurie Strode’s (Jamie Lee Curtis) daughter in the process. It left the door wide open, ensuring one final showdown between two enduring horror icons in the sequel.

But Green’s trilogy steadfastly refuses to give in to expectations. Halloween Ends does live up to its title, but that confrontation gets tacked on to a bizarre new story set four years after Kills.

Since 2018, Michael Myers has disappeared, and his house has been bulldozed to the ground. Laurie finally attempts to move on and find peace. She bought a new home in Haddonfield, where she lives trap free with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak). Ends isn’t Laurie’s story, though.

Not really. Laurie may be the town’s freak show, but Haddonfield has a new target of scorn in young Corey (Rohan Campbell). Corey’s promising life derailed when, in 2019, a babysitter gig on Halloween night ended in shocking tragedy.

The trauma lingering beneath the surface in Haddonfield comes boiling forth, igniting a new chain of violence when Corey crosses paths with Laurie and Allyson.

‘Halloween Ends’ Review – The Strode Saga Comes to a Strange, Polarizing Conclusion | FMV6

(from left) Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Michael Myers (aka The Shape) in Halloween Ends, co-written, produced and directed by David Gordon Green.

Writers Paul Brad Logan, Chris Bernier, Danny McBride, and Green frame the trilogy’s conclusion around Corey. It chronicles the inciting event that derailed his life and his present as the browbeaten pariah who can’t catch a break.

Through him, Green further explores the overarching themes of infectious, nebulous wrath and evil, and Haddonfield is crueler than ever. Because this is mostly Corey’s story, some of the more established, returning players become nothing more than avatars to Ends’ themes; their personalities shift based on narrative need.

Allyson is far from the young woman we met in the first two films. This version is more impulsive and eager to find love at the expense of deep family bonds.

Despite being put through the wringer and coming out an orphan, this Allyson learned nothing from past mistakes.

Not helping is how quickly Corey loses rooting interest as a central character or the utterly bizarre home life Ends gives him to flesh out his story. Allyson and Corey together can be downright frustrating.

‘Halloween Ends’ Review – The Strode Saga Comes to a Strange, Polarizing Conclusion | FMV6

(from left) Allyson (Andi Matichak) and Corey (Rohan Campbell) in Halloween Ends, co-written, produced and directed by David Gordon Green.

In his bid to explore the psychological toll of cruelty and trauma, Green forgets some of the tension and menace from previous entries. The filmmaker doesn’t hold back on some memorable and brutal kills, but they’re fewer and further between.

In its place is an audacious storytelling swing regarding the handling of Michael Myers. Those kills won’t be enough for many to follow Ends’ unconventional path. Neither will the forced closure, almost an afterthought, to the Strode saga.

Ends winds up underscoring this trilogy’s disjointed nature. The overarching narrative lacks organic fluidity and even seems to disregard previous entries in specific ways. Save for Laurie Strode, the trilogy relies on the tiresome concept of trauma and its toll on a community as the sole connective tissue.

That and the desire to subvert the idea of a Halloween film. On that front, Green more than delivers; this trilogy closer defies expectations and is guaranteed to ruffle more than a few feathers with its bold and often baffling choices.

Green delivers plenty of franchise callbacks, stellar shot compositions, and gnarly kills that elicit cheers. There’s admiration to be found in his defiant storytelling and using the final entry to swing for the fences, but the significant tonal and character shifts are jarring from the outset.

The saga does reach a fitting yet contrived conclusion for the most part; the legacy characters make their final bow, yet the core themes fizzle out. Ends works best as a standalone feature, but its place in the trilogy and the Halloween canon overall is sure to be polarizing.

Halloween Ends opens in theaters and on Peacock Friday, October 14, 2022.

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