Warning: This review contains spoilers!
"Evil doesn't die. It changes shape."
For a character like Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), October 31 is a dark and memorable date that doesn't just represent a holiday when children innocently dress in costumes and seek out candy. It's a date that lives on in Laurie's mind and represents the killing spree Michael Myers first embarked on in 1978. As a survivor of that spree and the subsequent one 40 years later, Laurie is well versed in post-traumatic stress, sobriety after years of alcoholism, and guilt at losing family and friends.
"Halloween Ends" is the fulfillment of Blumhouse's and director David Gordon Green's vision of a modern trilogy that begs for the end of Michael Myers. Known as The Shape to those following Myers' trajectory, the masked figure stalks the town of Haddonfield to demonstrate what true evil is about. In the 40 years since his first massacre, Myers has transformed from a "he" to an "it," terrorizing the town of Haddonfield even when he's presumed dead.
After the events of "Halloween Kills," in which Laurie's daughter dies at the hands of Michael Myers, Laurie and her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) strive for inner peace by staying put in Haddonfield and establishing roots in a community that's tired of bloodshed. "Halloween Ends" begins with a babysitter named Corey (Rohan Campbell), a teenager who finds himself in a predicament when the kid he's babysitting on Halloween night dies by accident. Four years later and an outcast in a town that sees him as the next Michael Myers, Laurie sees some good in him and encourages Corey to start dating Allyson. Two broken souls falling in love, what could be the harm?
It quickly becomes apparent that evil lurks in every part of Haddonfield. Even without Michael Myers, he looms large in a town hellbent on imploding from within. Residents quickly judge and torment Corey for his past mistakes, simultaneously accusing Laurie and Allyson of being the catalysts for Michael's rampage. Laurie can be heard in voice-over narrating her memoir as if to let the audience in on some deeply unpleasant thoughts running through her head, possibly foreshadowing events that may occur on Halloween night, 2022. It seems like a disturbing place to live for a town that has not seen the boogeyman in four years. Common sense would dictate these people should just move away, but Michael Myers has a stranglehold on their daily lives.
But, of course, none of this would make sense if Michael was dead. Spoiler alert: He's not. Yet.
However, "Halloween Ends" is not about Michael Myers. Sure, his lack of presence throughout most of the film distracts regardless of whether he appears on the screen. The movie is weirdly more about Corey than any other individual. David Gordon Green does a fantastic job of making Corey the new boogeyman, as he always seems to fall over himself to kill people accidentally. The evil elements control his every move, and Green's direction sheds light on a very dark reality. While most moviegoers will watch the film to see Laurie go toe-to-toe with Michael in a fit of rage, they may be disappointed to learn that it's Corey that takes center stage. It's an odd choice by the filmmakers, but it sort of works.
"Halloween Ends" contains predictable elements, as in most horror flicks of the genre, and it's laughably gross at times. For a franchise built on jump scares, Green is too savvy of a director to throw away the best thrills, especially in the opening sequence. It's a thriller baked in history and nostalgia, standing on its own two feet. While many actors reprise their roles from the franchise alongside Curtis, including Kyle Richards, James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle, and Will Patton, they are minor pieces to a puppet show that's left Corey holding all the strings. The events leading up to the climax see a team of rivals asking who the real perpetrator is: Corey, The Shape, or the evil from within?
A decent culmination to 40 years of terror, spliced together with archival footage and new characters. In theaters and on Peacock October 14.
Ticket Rating: 🎟🎟🎟1/2