Note: the following article contains heavy plot spoilers for Halloween Ends.
It’s been almost two weeks since Halloween Ends premiered in theaters and on Peacock, and some audiences still feel disappointed by the conclusion to director David Gordon Green’s Halloween trilogy. Though the film delivers a gripping final showdown between Laurie Strode and Michael Myers, many audiences were put off by how the film focuses less on this conflict and more on newcomer Corey Cunningham, who becomes an agent of evil after encountering the Shape.
The audience backlash is understandable since the film they watched went against what they expected to see. Nevertheless, Halloween Ends still has many fine qualities that make it much better than people think, and audiences should acknowledge all the things that make the film a real cinematic treat.
Much like Avengers: Endgame, Halloween Ends deals with the aftermath of its villain’s violent rampage from the previous film, exploring the fear, anger, and grief left behind and building up to the villain’s return later in the movie. Though audiences have been critical of Michael not having much screen time in this film, his influence casts a large shadow over Haddonfield, making him an even darker force of nature than he was before.
Also, the fact that he’s hardly ever seen makes him that much more frightening. Like in John Carpenter’s original film, the suspense of waiting to see when and where he’ll show himself makes the film more unsettling for the audience. According to @SourceHalloween on Twitter, Michael has 10 minutes and 55 seconds of screen time in Halloween Ends, while in 1978’s Halloween, he has 9 minutes and 37 seconds.
Though the filmmakers could’ve just focused on Laurie’s final pursuit of Michael, this wouldn’t have been that interesting, as this story has been done many times before. In order for a reboot to justify its existence, it has to bring something fresh to the franchise with something new to say. And so, Halloween Ends shows how Michael’s evil can spread to other people and take a new shape. With the citizens of Haddonfield still reeling from Michael’s last massacre and the Boogeyman nowhere to be seen, they all redirect their rage and malice toward an easy target: Corey Cunningham.
After accidentally killing a boy he was babysitting on Halloween night, Corey becomes an outcast in Haddonfield, as the townspeople see him as a sadistic murderer like Michael Myers when he is just a lonely and misunderstood young man. Eventually, the people’s constant abuse and mistreatment of Corey cause him to become a vengeful killer. As a result, Corey’s descent into evil shows how any person, even someone as seemingly “normal” as Corey, can end up becoming like Michael given the right set of circumstances.
The Halloween franchise, specifically Michael Myers, has contributed to society’s stigma toward mental illness with its frightening depiction of a mentally ill killer. Halloween Ends brings a more progressive portrayal of the subject by exploring the humanity of the characters who have mental health problems following Michael’s murder sprees.
Throughout the new Halloween trilogy, Laurie struggles with alcoholism and PTSD following her traumatic encounter with Michael as a teenager. However, Halloween Ends shows Laurie is now sober and trying to live a life not dominated by her trauma. Laurie even writes a memoir about his experiences with Michael as part of her healing process.
Despite this, Laurie does become fixated on Michael once again as she notices the darkness inside Corey. Her worries are proven correct, but she falls back down a rabbit hole of obsession and relapses into drinking, making her fake suicide attempt much more believable to the audience. All in all, Laurie’s struggles in the movie show how trauma and grief don’t just vanish, and they can continue to follow someone like how Michael stalks his victims.
Likewise, the way the film explores the misery that Michael left in Haddonfield invokes troubling memories of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was a difficult time for many people’s mental health. Laurie even claims that the people of Haddonfield “descended into a plague of grief, of blame, of paranoia” after Michael’s massacre, and the suffering he caused “became an infection passing on to people who never even crossed his path.”
But in spite of how the people of Haddonfield demonize Michael and liken him to a supernatural plague, once Laurie takes off his mask at the end of the film, she acknowledges that this so-called Boogeyman is still just a man inside. There’s nothing supernatural or scary about him anymore; he’s just a now-physically helpless human just like the rest of them.
Like Green’s previous films, Halloween Ends continues to display a fond love for the entire franchise, including its black sheep film, Season of the Witch. Specifically, the opening title sequence of Green’s third film uses a blue font instead of an orange one, just like in Season of the Witch. In hindsight, how this new film referenced such a controversial movie implies that the story wouldn’t be the one fans expected to watch and that the filmmakers knew it would be just as divisive.
Likewise, Halloween Ends replicates multiple shots from Carpenter’s first film, such as when an exhausted Laurie rests her head against a doorway and Michael impales one of his victims to a wall and stares at it. Corey even recreates the iconic image of Michael looking down from a balcony while holding a knife, with Laurie later shooting Corey like Dr. Loomis shot Michael in the original film. Fans may say the filmmakers were unfit to reboot Halloween, but it’s obvious from tributes like this that the entire trilogy, including the finale, was a labor of love for the franchise.
Another thing the movie excels at is delivering frightening moments to audiences. Halloween Ends presents a particularly horrifying moment in its opening scene when Corey accidentally kills Jeremy by kicking him over a balcony. While watching a child die on-screen is more than scary enough, the fact that someone besides Michael Myers killed a young boy in this film makes this moment especially shocking.
Likewise, the filmmakers continue to present many creative and gory kills like the ones seen in the previous two films. For example, after Willy the Kid insults Corey and Allyson, Corey doesn’t just get revenge on him by smashing his face into a desk; he delivers an extra bit of karma to the radio DJ by cutting off his tongue, which lands on a spinning record and interrupts the music playing. It’s a brutal but darkly comedic moment that shows how the filmmakers know how to create some truly unique scares.
After watching Michael Myers return to terrorize everyone around him many times across many films, audiences saw Halloween Ends bring the best conclusion to the franchise by ending Michael’s reign of terror once and for all. Since his body was destroyed in an industrial shredder at the end of the film, there is no chance of him returning or for any writers to retcon his death. The Shape is gone.
Thus, the people of Haddonfield finally gain some closure and can move on to a brighter future. Allyson makes amends with Laurie and leaves Haddonfield to live her own life, while the latter finishes her memoir and finds new love in Deputy Hawkins. These characters endured so much suffering throughout the franchise, so it’s nice to see Laurie and Allyson finally achieve the happiness that they deserve.
Halloween Ends is currently playing in theaters and streaming on Peacock.
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