Finally, Halloween Ends.
The forty-four-year-long saga of the Halloween slasher film series has come to a close, and it’s not in the way we expected. Rather than focusing on the endless bloodshed incurred by the franchise’s recurring villain, Michael Myers, Halloween Ends presents protagonist Laurie Strode, teenager Corey Cunningham, Deputy Frank Hawkins, and the residents of Haddonfield, Illinois. as they attempt to heal from trauma and find peace after Michael’s reign of terror.
Michael’s total screen time in Halloween Ends is a mere 10 minutes and 55 seconds, less than a tenth of the film’s runtime. We are no longer fed mindless hour-long sequences of gore for gore’s sake, nor do we have to act surprised when an unsuspecting victim inevitably stumbles upon Michael. Instead, most of the plot revolves around a new character, Corey. Like Laurie and her family, he suffers as an ‘outcast’ in Haddonfield.
Halloween Ends’ ability to escape former tropes certainly deserves praise, especially after the franchise included a distasteful baby murder in 2018’s Halloween. Unfortunately, these creative risks do not pay off. Halloween Ends is entertaining almost solely because of its stupidity. Corey, desperate to enact revenge on those who’ve wronged him, becomes Michael’s protege and goes on killing sprees with him. (Gal pals!) He’s also sleeping with Allyson Nelson, the child of two of Michael’s victims and Laurie’s very own granddaughter. Scandalous, yes, but more importantly, confusing. Since when has the boogeyman ever shown mercy, and where has this been throughout the franchise? Who in their right mind thought it would be a good idea to portray a serial killer having sex with another serial killer’s survivor?
You would think that such an incredible diversion from the franchise’s trademarks and the film’s trailer would have serious consequences. Corey is even presented as the first victim in the final sneak peek, but despite his centrality in the plot, his actions have no significant material impact on the town, nor is he a proxy for Haddonfield’s recovery from suffering. Corey’s plotline serves as nothing but a screenwriter’s equivalent of a “gotcha, bitch!”—simply shock value and nothing else.
The most recurrent theme in the Halloween franchise is the black and white morality embodied by the “good people of Haddonfield” and Michael Myers, respectively. While reality is not as clear-cut, it’s a comforting idea. Halloween Ends, however, rejects this mantra; Corey’s plotline urges us to believe that bad people are born out of bad circumstances. But frustratingly, the films’ writers do nothing to rehabilitate or empathize with Corey.
Most concerning to me is what a narrative like this means politically. The “people have wronged me and so I should kill them” trope has become too normalized, as seen in movies like Joker (2019). While depicting real stories of pain and trauma, these narratives can be easily weaponized by incels and white nationalists to justify violence.
This only touches the surface of why Halloween Ends isn’t the greatest conclusion to the franchise—Allyson’s stubbornness and the town’s hatred for Laurie feel extremely unrealistic and frustrating. Perhaps the singular redeeming trait of the film is its finality: an end to the decades-long nightmare of the Halloween franchise.