Halloween Ends Concludes the H40 Trilogy on a Polarizing Note

Finally. Four years after David Gordon Green et al. resurrected The Boogeyman, we’ve reached the end of what’s been branded the H40 trilogy. If Halloween 2018 felt like a return to form for the franchise, Halloween Kills took something of a step backwards. Among the criticism leveled at the sequel, many felt it sidelined Jamie Lee Curtis in favour of bit players, lots of gory deaths, and an angry mob chanting ‘evil dies tonight’. But Halloween Ends promises to give Curtis’ ultimate Final Girl, Laurie Strode, the finale she deserves. Does it succeed? Critics largely say the concluding chapter falls short.

Synopsis

Four years have passed since Michael Myers returned to Haddonfield. No one has seen him since that Halloween night. Despite losing her own daughter, Laurie Strode has finally moved on with her life. Now she lives with her orphaned granddaughter, Allyson, and spends her days writing her memoir. But when a young man accused of killing the boy he was babysitting enters her life, Laurie suspects that evil has returned to the small town.

Halloween Ends Takes The Audience on an Unexpected Detour

If there’s a silver lining to Halloween Ends, it’s that writer and director David Gordon Green – along with three co-writers – didn’t phone in the kind of lazy sequel that once plagued the franchise. This is a concluding chapter filled with interesting ideas and often contrasting styles. For most of the sequel’s first half, Michael Myers is missing in action – and so are the scares and kills. On one hand, Green’s opening, which focuses on the tragedy that befalls a babysitter named Cory, subverts audience expectations. It also sets the story on a unique path that proposes to explore the nature of evil. Are we born bad? Or can evil infect us? And Halloween Ends picks up the thematic threads started in Halloween Kills. Green takes the time to show the ways in which Michael Myers’ killing spree has ‘infected’ Haddonfield.

Halloween Ends rarely feels like a Halloween movie.

However, big ideas don’t always produce big results. While Halloween Ends takes the road less travelled, it rarely takes audiences where they probably want to go. By and large, the sequel’s first half often drags, lacking much in the way of suspense and scares. Once Green picks up the slack, he tries to re-visit the brutality of Halloween Kills. But the editing often feels too jarring, which drains the kills of some of their potency. There are some nice callbacks to the original Halloween. Nonetheless, the hyped finale feels tacked on and almost anti-climatic. As for the procession that concludes Laurie’s journey, it just doesn’t strike the right note. Halloween Ends rarely feels like a Halloween movie.

Halloween Ends Makes Some Bold, and Often Baffling, Creative Choices

Perhaps Halloween Ends tries to do too much for a movie already tasked with delivering a satisfying resolution to a journey that’s lasted over 40 years. The result feels like a lot of tangents and backstepping on previously introduced ideas. Just introducing Cory – a wholly new character – to the concluding chapter of a trilogy has its own challenges. But Green et al. build almost everything entirely around Cory and it proves to be too much for a sequel that needed to get one thing right – deliver a satisfying conclusion to Laurie Strode’s story. It’s a creative decision that also pushes Laurie into the background of her own story again. Of course, Jamie Lee Curtis is amazing in the role regardless of what the screenplay offers.

But Green et al. build almost everything entirely around Cory and it proves to be too much for a sequel that needed to get one thing right – deliver a satisfying conclusion to Laurie Strode’s story.

Other problems creep up into Halloween Ends. Characters often feel contradictory to what’s been established. Maybe it’s the timeline jump but this Laurie Strode often seems like a very different character. But this concern is most apparent with The Boogeyman himself, Michael Myers. By the end of Halloween Kills, Green et al. teased the idea of a supernatural killer. Yet Halloween Ends immediately walks that back when we find a weakened Myers hiding in the sewers. And why would Myers – a killing machine – spare Cory? Because he recognized the same evil in his eyes? Again, the idea is interesting – it’s just too much to pack into the backend of a trilogy capper. Sidelining Michael Myers for most of Halloween End is controversial enough.

Halloween Ends Likely Not The Concluding Chapter Fans Were Anticipating

At least no one can say Green et al. turned in a generic slasher sequel. On the contrary, Halloween Ends swings for the fences with a strange twist on audience expectations. This almost feels like an attempt to circle back to John Carpenter’s original idea for the Halloween franchise – an anthology of sequels featuring different monsters set around the October holiday. Unfortunately, it’s a largely a swing and miss finale for the H40 trilogy. Simply put, there’s too many ideas here that never coalesce into a compelling singular vision. What’s left is occasionally interesting, often frustrating, and rarely feels like a Halloween movie. And maybe that was the intent.

THE PROFESSOR’S FINAL GRADE: C+

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I am a Criminology professor in Canada but I've always had a passion for horror films. Over the years I've slowly begun incorporating my interest in the horror genre into my research. After years of saying I wanted to write more about horror I have finally decided to create my own blog where I can share some of my passion and insights into the films I love.

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