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" I may be on the devil’s hit list, but I’m on Jesus’ mailing list. "
— Robert Duvall, The Apostle

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An exercise in atmosphere, with some really inspired surrealism —John Adams (DVD review...)

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“Could it be one monster has created another?”
Aaron Korey, investigative journalist (Halloween (2018))

This conclusion to the Laurie Strode-Michael Myers multi-decade slasher saga is destined to be an underrated punk job.

Love Lives Today

The original scream queen screams (Jamie Lee Curtis)
The original scream queen screams (Jamie Lee Curtis)

Halloween Ends needs to be put in the context of David Gordon Green’s trilogy rather than as a standalone slasher horrorfest.

In 2018, the series was reborn, bringing the original scream queen, Jamie Lee Curtis (Knives Out), back for a duel to the death that picks up narrative threads from John Carpenter’s original entries while sidestepping some of the bunkum that left little more than a filthy residue on movie (and TV) screens. (Umm, thanks for not so much, Rob Zombie.)

For many, the 2018 movie hit all the expected marks of gore and Michael’s mayhem. But the initial setup of a couple journalists trying to understand Michael falls to the wayside in favor of the usual. It’s in Halloween Kills when things get interesting. There’s an inkling there’s a method to Green’s madness as he ramps up the punk job and Kills turns into a satire and condemnation of the mob-rule mindset.

In Halloween Ends, Green refers back to the initial thought of the 2018 chapter: could one monster create another? That’s exactly what happens this time.

As is tradition with this series, a pre-opening credits sequence sets the tone and this one’s a doozie involving a male babysitter and a bratty kid. There’s a terrible accident, relegating the babysitter, Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell, Hulu’s The Hardy Boys), to being the latest scourge of Haddonfield, Ill.

The other scourge is Laurie Strode and it’s great to see Jamie Lee Curtis dominate this episode. Laurie’s expanding her influence as an outspoken village vigilante and Curtis is really, really good here. Her role is much bigger than in Kills, plus she’s back home and no longer confined to a hospital bed. She is all about kickin’ some buttocks and she does it with all the verve and vigor of a teenager.

Homemade Horrors

Michael, on the other hand, has a surprisingly smaller role, but there’s an interesting twist that keeps him central to the mayhem.

Halloween Ends takes a stab (apologies for the necessary pun) at a legitimate romance between Corey and Allyson (Andi Matichak, Assimilate). They are two broken people looking for an out.

And that’s where Green finds two hooks for bringing this Halloween series to an end.

The first hook is the romance between two broken, insecure people coming from distressed home lives. They are surrounded by the wild behaviors of domineering, insulting parents, bosses and other forces lacking empathy, including a gang of bullies from the local high school marching band (you always have to be cautious around those punks, but that should go without saying).

Many of those suffocating, demeaning behaviors are over-the-top caricatures with sickening actions intended to supplement a relatively mild kill count. Halloween Ends with only around 20 kills and not all of them are attributable to the man in the Captain Kirk death mask.

The other hook is the idea that evil can be an infection.

Psychos and Freak Shows

Michael
Michael

The romantic thread serves as a buffer to what is a slow burn into the horror. At times, it’s an uneasy blend of a love story veering toward a Bonnie-and-Clyde lifestyle, gross-out humor, earnest psychological concepts, bumps in the night and traditional slasher tropes.

Nonetheless, Green keeps it all hanging together thanks to efforts in character definitions and relationship building. Campbell makes Corey a sympathetic character as his life devolves from a talented nerdy kid without a friend in the world to a psychopath.

Enter a silent bromance — of sorts — between Corey and Michael. Corey unwittingly enters Michael’s lair in the sewers, where the masked man’s been hiding out for the four years since the events of Halloween Kills. It turns out death does in fact grow old, too. As Corey first encounters Michael, it’s apparent he’s lost a step or two. He’s getting unsteady in his advancing years, but all it takes is one good kill to resuscitate pure evil.

In the reflection of Corey’s eyes, Michael sees himself. Literally.

And therein is the triumph — which might be a little too strong of a word, but it’s fitting nonetheless — of what Green pulls off. Ends, like Kills, is another statement about today’s society and how the evils of the world are projected onto the innocent, with sometimes devastating consequences.

Unfortunately, the strengths of the subtleties might too easily get lost amid the strain of the more obnoxious elements.

Halloween Ends on what seems to be a pretty definitive note. But there’s a comment made by Laurie, “Evil doesn’t die. It changes shape.” That’s followed by a really great closing scene. It’s strangely reminiscent of Christopher Nolan’s closing shot of a spinning top in Inception. Except this time, it’s Michael’s mask that’s the central prop lingering in the final frame.