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Halloween Ends ★★★★



Director: David Gordon Green

CastJamie Lee Curtis, Will Patton, Kyle Richards, Andi Matichak, Nick Castle, James Jude Courtney, Rohan Campbell

Release14th October 2022 (UK)

David Gordon Green’s modern Halloween trilogy is a bit of an enigma: while the glossy 2018 film proudly displayed its legacy sequel badge, Halloween Kills ended up being a much meaner and bolder affair, reinstating the franchise’s nihilistic viciousness in lieu of a commodified exploration of “trauma”. At first glance, it may feel slightly reminiscent of Rob Zombie’s stabs at the legacy of Michael Myers: the reverent first film acting as the gateway into Haddonfield’s evil, with the expansive sequel thoroughly exploring the intricacies of its effect on the victims. But despite what the naysayers may claim, Zombie never tried to emulate Carpenter’s film – an issue Green inevitably had to face when bringing back Laurie Strode, played by Jamie Lee Curtis. When the consciously divisive Texas Chainsaw Massacre chose to satirize and ridicule the legacy sequel trope earlier this year, one could almost feel the bubble finally starting to burst – and Green, who was at the outset of it, seems to acknowledge that with the wildly ambitious trilogy caper in the form of Halloween Ends.

Set three years after the Haddonfield massacre on October 31st 2018, Halloween Ends takes a decidedly atypical route: following in the footsteps of Halloween III: Season of the Witch and Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Green’s latest shifts its focus towards the legacy of Michael Myers and the irreversible aftermath of pure evil. With the finale of Halloween Kills practically deifying Myers as the immortal essence of sin, Green opts to further emphasize this idea with the introduction of Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell), a young man who was “touched” by the presence of Myers in Haddonfield.

If all that sounds like a strangely intricate way of staging “the final showdown” between Laurie Strode and Michael Myers – that’s because it is. But it works and does so with a remarkable disregard for elegance or tact, as Green seems to be absolutely enraged by the viciousness of the American collective mindset. His rather crude and nihilistic view on the matter in Halloween Kills reaches its pinnacle with the desecration of suburban ideals, the death of a generation that gets dragged into the gutter by the unstoppable evil. Through Corey’s arc, Green gets rid of the Myers constraints that seemed to hamper Kills and elects a new target for Haddonfield’s cruelty.

It’s notable that Ends is the least gratuitously violent entry in the trilogy – Green wants this to be a tragedy of human nature, as the entwined lives of Corey and Allyson (Andi Matchiak) begin deteriorating with the reintroduction of Michael Myers. And ultimately, it’s not the Pennywise-esque Myers that prompts the return of evil, but the town itself that cannot survive without another incarnation of its cyclical pain. The town is hurting, and the simplest way to channel that torment is by attacking those who publicly reckoned with their trauma. Laurie and Corey become the local “freaks” as they don’t fit the faux-moralistic ethos of the town, where blame becomes the primary mode of interpersonal connection.

The question posed by Green here is one that naturally contradicts the trilogy’s opener: maybe, this isn’t Laurie’s story after all? What if all the talk about “#trauma” and girl bossing the evil was nothing but an examination of the contemporary obsession with the publicized trauma plot? Haddonfield is a guilt-ridden town, a decaying collective that no longer has a soul to bear – consequently, one that foregoes compassion in favour of victim vilification. Even if the film’s finale hints at bittersweet closure, one has to walk the path of innocent human bodies to get there. So, was it all worth it? Is this the catharsis Haddonfield needs, let alone deserves? When the façade of Myers is gone, and all that’s left is a shell of the town’s former humanity, everything suddenly starts making sense – and Green’s sinister viewpoint echoes through the final chords of Don’t Fear The Reaper.

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