The third installment of the Michael Myers trilogy, Halloween Ends, is the best of the three, and it will be released in theatres and premiere on 14 October. 2018 Halloween hoped that audiences and critics would conveniently ignore the existence of Halloween: H20 in order to play shamelessly in the Force Awakens playground. Halloween Kills, which is also a loose replica of Halloween II and The Return of Michael Myers, aimed to play “hold my bear” with the nihilism of Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake. As a Halloween sequel, Halloween Ends takes a new approach by creating an original horror drama set in a collapsing industrial town. Halloween Ends more closely resembles a movie directed by the same person who gave us Snow Angels and George Washington than any of the previous two movies, especially in its opening act.
A little boy torturing his Halloween night babysitter is featured in the film’s opening sequence, which takes place a year after Halloween Kills. The night doesn’t end well—slight spoiler—and we jump to the present when the once-promising young man (Rohan Campbell) is an outcast making ends meet as a largely alone mechanic. In the meantime, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has purchased a (regular) home and is frantically attempting to provide her granddaughter with a normal, trauma-free existence (Andi Matichak). Grandma should really schedule a date with Deputy Frank Hawkins because she is now writing her autobiography (insert the customary navel-gazing voiceover) (Will Patton). Nevertheless, she at least makes an effort to pair up her lonely grandchild with the adorable (in an Edward Scissorhands-style manner) misfit. Can two broken people find fresh love in a terrified community?
As a riveting and engrossing character drama, the first act succeeds. It capitalizes on The Curse of Michael Myers’ finest notion, which is that Haddonfield has been so decimated by Michael Myers’ harm that the remaining citizens are little more than glorified zombies. In this instance, the scares of the first two Halloween movies—during which Michael murdered 45 people in one night—have only exacerbated the decay already present in formerly industrial towns and/or formerly prosperous suburbs, with the populace giving in to prejudice and fear and expecting the worst from their neighbors. It is almost subversive to demonstrate how false such locations are in light of the retroactive nostalgia for the stereotypically idyllic rural towns embodied by the first Halloween. Even though the slice-of-life drama reminds you of Stephen King’s It, it nevertheless works.
As Allyson pushes herself at the hurt and obviously distraught Corey, the central romance also advances. In a place with few opportunities and little else to look forward to in the morning, they both cherish the idea of discovering traditional happiness. There are times when Allyson should probably back off, as Corey calls her out for treating him like a “I can fix him and save him” project, but what else are they left with? Yes, Michael Myers does eventually have a part to play in this plot, and the movie eventually caves and gives the audience what they came for (as seen in the promos). Similar to Jurassic World Dominion, Halloween Ends loses some of its appeal as it becomes a more typical installment of the genre. However, I suspect it was a compromise that said, “Check these boxes, and we’ll otherwise let you do anything you want.”
After directing two successful sequels, director David Gordon Green is enjoying himself this time around. He is now able and willing to play in this sandbox and create something that is more in the vein of his earlier modestly-sized character dramas. Even while his total filmography (Our Brand Is Crisis, Your Highness, Stronger, Pineapple Express, etc.) rivals Ang Lee for “blind dart-throwing” craziness, this is closer to what I hoped for when the director of All the Real Girls agreed to do a Halloween movie. This is an unexpectedly big-budget, over/under $30 million horror sequel with a variety of locales and numerous big-deal characters on the (IMAX) screen. The gruesome killings and the issue of whether or not Michael Myers plays a role in them are practically beside the point given the tone and focal point of the film.
The Michael Myers/Laurie Strode franchise’s conclusion, Halloween Ends, is gloomy and melancholy. Offering up a Halloween sequel that functions (at least initially) as a drama first and a slasher second is practically a challenge to people who claim that Halloween and Halloween Kills were just the same old film and/or just Michael killing people for 100 minutes. Still, eventually, we encounter the more typical horror cliches. Even though it provides us with at least one fantastic character beat, Laurie does finally succumb in to her fears. The second half of the film features multiple brutal fatalities and is reminiscent of It and Hellraiser. But the movie is unique in that it (theoretically) provides viewers with what they need before they get what they want. It’s a really fantastic movie, especially considering that it’s essentially Halloween 13.
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