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HALLOWEEN ENDS (2022)  l  Universal Pictures Canada  |  October 14, 2022

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Rohan Campbell

Director: David Gordon Green

The saga of Michael Myers and Laurie Strode comes to a spine-chilling climax in this final installment of this trilogy.

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REVIEW BY: Darren Zakus

Halloween Ends is an ambitious conclusion to David Gordon Green’s trilogy, which delivers the final showdown between Michael Myers and Laurie Strode it teases, as well as creating a fascinating story revolving around nurture versus nature that is certain to divide fans for years to come. 

 

After the lukewarm reception to Halloween Kills which had tons of kills and no character development, David Gordon Green and his team react and provide a heavy character piece for the concluding chapter in Laurie Strode’s story. However, it is not at all what fans are expecting from this film. It is bold, ambitious, and vastly different from the standard slasher film that fans have come to expect from the genre. We meet Laurie and her granddaughter Alison four years after the events of Halloween (2018) and Halloween Kills, each having adjusted to their lives despite the fact that Michael is still out there somewhere. But when Corey Cunningham, a young man in Haddonfield, is accused of a crime, Michael’s legacy of fear and hatred takes over the town of Haddonfield, setting off a series of attacks that forces Laurie to confront Michael one last time. 

 

Throughout this story, the writers weave in themes of nurture versus nature as they slowly build towards the out of control violence of the second half of the film that fans expect from the film. The screenplay spends its time building the characters of Laurie, Alison and Corey throughout the first hour of the film, holding off on the brutal kills that the franchise is known for. The result is a fascinating exploration of evil and the legacy and effect of Michael Myers on the town of Haddonfield, that at times feels like a tribute to Stephen King’s Christine due to the direction that one of the plot lines take. It’s slow and reflective, which is why the internet is currently divided on the film, with many calling it the worst film of the franchise. 

 

Then in the second half, it unleashes an uncontrollable terror and violence upon the audience, and the results are terrifying. The deaths are brutal and gory, more so than the kills in the first two films of this trilogy, delivering so many moments that had me muttering under my breath “holy crap!” as Michael savagely claims his next victim. Though, it is the opening scene kill that truly made my jaw drop as it was so unexpected, even for a franchise known for horrifying kills. That scene, which is disturbing and heartbreaking beyond anything I would have expected from this film, sets the tone for the entire film. And everything builds towards that long teased final showdown between Laurie and Michael. The showdown itself is excellent, allowing Laurie to unleash decades worth of rage and hurt onto Michael as these two horror icons fight to the death. It’s an intense sequence, reminiscent of their final duel in the original film, that will have audiences holding their breath to see which one of them survives. 

 

At the same time, there are two main storylines in the film constantly at war with themselves. On one hand, we have the final showdown between Laurie and Michael, and then on the other, Corey’s tale and the effect of Michael’s hold on Haddonfield. Both stories are compelling, but given the two hour run time of the film, there was only so much time for both stories to take centre stage. I think both stories would have benefited from having their own film set over the course the same day, like Halloween (2018) and Halloween Kills, with the first film exploring Corey and Haddonfield and concluding with a big spectacle of a film with Michael on a rampage to find Laurie. But even with that thought eating away at me since I saw the film, I am so appreciative of what a bold and unique direction they took with this film and would not change it at all. 

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Throughout the film, Green’s direction keeps the intensity high throughout the kill sequences and the character development, plunging the film into a truly unsettling atmosphere unlike any that this franchise has seen before. Combined with Michael Simmonds striking cinematography, which is drenched in darkness and blinding lights so that you cannot see what is coming at the characters on screen, the film is guaranteed to have chills running down your spine throughout. Once again John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies’s musical score is a standout, capturing the brilliance of the stylings of the main theme of the franchise, while creating a mournful and eerie theme for both Corey and the changing form of evil experienced throughout the film. 

 

Though, it is the main performances of Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak and Rohan Campbell that give the film its soul. Curtis is the ultimate final girl, delivering an excellent final performance as Laurie. Within this trilogy, Laurie has had a beautiful story arc over the three films as a woman trapped in her desire for revenge, and we see her finally break free of that in this film. It is in these moments that Curtis brings her undeniable and genuine warmth to Laurie, reminding the audience why they initially fell in love with this actress decades ago. But when it comes time for Laurie to face Michael one last time, Curtis finds an emotional depth to Laurie that we have yet to see yet from her in this role. Not only does she have the determination and drive she possessed in the past two films, there is a vulnerability that Curtis brings to the role as Laurie begins to realize that this time she may not survive her battle against Michael if she wants to protect Allyson. 

 

Matichak continues to be great as Allyson, finding a tenderness to Allyson as she grapples with the trauma and society’s view of her after her encounter with Michael four years earlier. Once again, Matichak brings strength to this young woman trying to break free of Michael’s effects on her and her family, while delivering some wonderful moments as Allyson grapples with the trauma and loss of her past. Though, it was Campbell who stole the show for me. His arc as Corey over the film is compelling, watching this young man slowly transform into something else due to Michael’s legacy and hold over Haddonfield. It’s a heartbreaking tale, one that Campbell captures with every facial expression that even in his character’s darkest moments, still somehow displays the shattered promise of the young man he used to be. Plus, he has some outstanding onscreen chemistry with Matichak as the two of them bond their characters over the horrors of their past, despite being on two incredibly different paths. While his character is the one gaining the most controversy, I think that Campbell was outstanding and I cannot wait to see what he does next with his career. 

 

Bound to be one of the most divisive films in horror movie history due to the daring direction of the plot that creates one of the most unique slasher film stories I have ever seen and personally found it to be fascinating, Halloween Ends once again features the wonderful Jamie Lee Curtis who finally gets her big final showdown moment with Michael Myers, delivering a showdown for the history books.

RATING: 3.5 out of 5