“He took our dreams and turned them into nightmares,” Jamie Lee Curtis’s Laurie Strode narrates. It’s been four years since Michael Myers ravaged the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois, for the second time and four years since he killed Laurie’s daughter, Karen (Judy Greer). David Gordon Green’s Halloween Ends, much like Halloween Kills, is about the trauma carried by the town and the last two Strode women standing, Laurie and her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak). “The Boogeyman” may have vanished, but his presence is everywhere and his name continues to cross the lips of those he has terrorized. In the last film, he was hunted. He made the town’s residents turn into monsters. Now, with all the grief, blame, and paranoia he caused, the town has turned on itself. Newspaper clippings on a wall emphasize his impact and terror, and all anyone wants is for it to end – and it does.
Halloween Ends begins in a similar way to how the first Halloween started. It’s Halloween night and Corey (Rohan Campbell) has agreed to babysit a couple’s young son. As you can predict, it doesn’t go smoothly. The child disappears and Corey suspects an intruder is in the home. Shadows moving in the background and a child’s screams establish the tone, but unlike Laurie’s babysitting gig in 1978, Michael Myers is nowhere to be found. The kid is just messing with Corey. (A horror film to add to the long list of ones featuring an annoying child.) Then, after a tragic accident, Corey becomes Haddonfield’s new “Boogeyman.”
At first, Corey’s introduction feels questionable. It’s the final chapter of Laurie and Michael’s story that we came to see, so why is a new character being introduced? And why does he take such a big chunk of screen time? The film does attempt to validate what feels like an unnecessary choice. As the townsfolk begin to project their pain and anger onto someone else in Michael’s absence, the point the film is trying to make does start to make sense. However, as we get to know this character and how he changes, it takes away from Laurie’s story. She wasn’t in Halloween Kills very much, so this film needed to be about her, first and foremost, and it’s the opposite.
When we finally see Laurie, she’s almost unrecognizable in her calm demeanor. Baking a pumpkin pie in a turtleneck sweater with freshly cut blonde hair, it’s a far cry from the gun-wielding Laurie hiding in her fortress of security. By giving fear the finger, she’s no longer ruled by it and it allows her to finally be able to tell her story and take the first steps toward healing. One of those steps comes in the form of showing compassion and mercy for Corey, who is no longer the upbeat young man he was at the beginning of the film. Thanks to Campbell’s performance, it feels like his soul has been drained from him. His trauma has left him a shell of a person. As many see Michael’s return as her fault, Laurie is familiar with the ire of Haddonfield that Corey now faces. The town has given Laurie and Corey labels, her the freakshow and him the psycho, so she sympathizes with him. Allyson does, too. Allyson and Corey find an attraction and comfort in each other and they both know what it’s like to have people think they know what they’ve been through and to feel like outsiders. In Halloween Kills, Laurie yells, “Let it burn,” as firemen approach her home up in flames. She wanted it to burn because Michael Myers was in it. Now, when Allyson says, “Just burn it all to the ground,” she means the town itself because of the evil now infected within. Corey lights the match, but the flame blazes out of control.
Through the addition of Corey, Green, and co-writers Paul Brad Logan, Chris Bernier, and Danny McBride play with more of an internal manifestation of evil. Halloween Kills is an example of how fighting a monster can risk you becoming one, but here, evil is a part of us that is unlocked in Corey through trauma and how he is treated by those around him. To him, Michael Myers is just a man in a Halloween mask. The script plays with this statement, showing how difficult it is to differentiate between Michael and someone else who wears his iconic mask because evil is evil, simple as that. The film takes some unexpected turns with the addition of this new character, but as previously said, if this is the last film in the franchise, it should have been more heavily focused on Laurie. More focus on how Allyson and Laurie’s relationship has evolved since Karen’s death would have been great to add, as well. Their scenes together feel insignificant and their relationship is frustrating to watch at times.
Luckily, when Michael Myers in Pennywise fashion emerges from the sewers, Laurie gets the final showdown fans have waited for. The film, while not as creative with its kills as last time, still remains brutal and it’s at its highest level here. Laurie and Michael’s final moments at each other throats are both hard to watch and impossible to look away from. It’s a satisfying, bloody conclusion to this franchise and to an otherwise mediocre entry.
Like fans of the films, Haddonfield comes together to see the Halloween terror of one of the horror genre’s most iconic characters come to an end. While it does feel like it’s time, watching Laurie Strode and Michael Myers battle it out also feels like one of the holiday’s traditions. It’s a franchise whose end is bittersweet, but it means peace is now perhaps more permanent for one of the slasher subgenre’s first final girls.