Review: Halloween Ends, the series dies with a fitting funeral

One of the most iconic slasher franchises comes to a conclusion. But will this be the permanent end?

Mitchell Hall
29th October 2022
Image courtesy of @DiscussingFilm on Twitter
Iconic slasher series Halloween, well… ends? Audiences were promised a fitting conclusion to the saga, hopefully filled with tension, kills, and the reverence which such a significant franchise has surely earned and something horror reboots so often neglect. So did it live up to the giant expectations, or did it collapse under its own nightmarish weight?

Quick note: I really couldn't address this film without spoilers so if you have yet to see it feel free to bookmark this and come back later...

I am a massive horror fan, and yet I don’t feel particularly attached to this series personally as its antagonist felt a tad bland in comparison to more colourful slashers such as Freddie, the various Ghost Faces, Jason etc. It’s therefore very impressive that I can feel the respect for the originals oozing out of this film in all areas. The iconic score is as effective as ever, and new additions in this department hold up thanks to the continued involvement of John Carpenter, alongside his son Cody and his godson Daniel Davies. I really appreciated the atmosphere the music provided, and the balance in terms of its use was neither conservative or over-abundant. The film is shot in a way that evokes the feel of a picture from the time of the original, the late 70s to early 80s (despite being set today). It's almost as though a slight grain has been applied, and areas like the scrapyard and the radio station feel like they float between now and then.

Speaking of mainstays from the original, Jamie Lee Curtis as professional Michael Myers survivor Laurie Strode is a joy to watch, which should not be a surprising statement but her performance really caught me off guard early on. Andi Matichak returns as Laurie’s granddaughter, although due to no fault of her own, becomes one of the movie’s key drawbacks as her character acts bizarrely at times and feels like the vehicle through which the film clunkily sets up certain plot points. Rohan Campbell joins as troubled young Corey Cunningham, and does really well with a decently challenging role, perhaps because much of the plot develops around him.

This was perhaps the biggest surprise of the entry, with ‘The Shape’ (played here by James Jude Courtney) taking a back seat throughout much of the film to his new protege. It’s a bold move for the finale of an established franchise to largely sideline its main antagonist, a decision I didn't think much of when I heard about it, but incredibly, I don't think it’s too much of a detriment to the overall experience. The opening especially was truly shocking and packed a real punch, it’s hard to imagine a bigger statement to follow up the opening credits than the first five minutes of this film. His development into a monster isn’t necessarily something original in the world of horror, especially recently, and his ill-fated relationship with Allyson Strode doesn’t really land, for me anyway, but a lot of what Campbell brings to the table works well.

The special effects are of course very impressive when they feature, which isn’t particularly much considering its nearly two hour runtime. Not that this makes the film suffer, the fact the brutality of the movie features in quick bursts of hyper violence means you don’t become numb to it as filler, instead each crunch and squelch resonates within the audience. Even I cringed at certain moments towards the end. *Cough spoilers now Cough*

I won’t go into detail about Myers’ method of death initially because it is a bit much for the paper, but I have no issue discussing the thoroughly foreshadowed industrial shredder through which they prove that he will not be returning. Not that it means much in the age of concurrent reboots and storylines and canons, but as far as this timeline is concerned, Michael has met his end. I would say it is handled as well as it could’ve been, leaving time for the film and Laurie to mull over the events of the series with an earned (if a tad self-indulgent) montage of moments from the series before his death. The characters can survive with at least a bit of closure, safe from the Shape that has been stalking them for decades.

I feel the film does as well as it really could for the finale of a trilogy of reboot entries. There’s clearly a respect towards the history of the franchise whilst also taking the movie in a bold and unexpected direction, something unheard of for what everyone imagined to be the by-the-book money machine the studio would have wanted. It’s a fun watch for fans and non-fans of the series alike, and leaves Laurie and the audience with a glimmer of hope that was a poignant touch to round off such a highly regarded story.

Halloween Ends is currently in cinemas.

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