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'Halloween Ends' on a pleasantly good note

Image from IMDb
Image from IMDb

The battle between Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Michael Myers in Halloween, which has progressed over the course of the past 45 years, finally comes to an end in the trilogy film Halloween Ends. After David Gordon Green's 2021 Halloween Kills fell flat I was nervous to see what would happen in the new film, but I was pleasantly surprised with the overall resolution of the series even despite the areas of the film that were lacking. 

The film starts with the tragic story of a young man named Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell) whose offer to babysit for a local family turns into his worst nightmare. After a hide-and-seek game gone wrong, Corey goes from a normal 21-year-old to a social pariah, labeled "psycho babysitter." In the three years since the accident Corey has become the target of Haddonfield’s unresolved anger. The once quiet town was now full of anxious community members and hostility due to Michael’s previous bloody stroll through town, which directly contrasts the healing journey Laurie is undergoing. 

After Michael killed Laurie’s daughter, Karen, and disappeared, Laurie and Allyson (Andi Matichak) put their boogeyman behind them and started to move forward until Laurie met Corey. Though the infamous "freakshow" of the town had given up her cabin full of traps, Laurie still gets her kicks by slashing the tires of bullies, like the ones who harrass Corey. When she does this and brings him to Allyson at the hospital the events of the movie begin to pick up. 

Image from Distractify

Corey, the not-so side character

From the opening scene it seemed as though Corey would be just another opening scene kill, but when he is befriended by Laurie three years later his fate is all but sealed. After meeting Laurie and slashing their tires with her, Corey tries to stand up to the teens who have been harassing him and they push him over a bridge next to a sewer. He wakes up inside with no idea how he got there. When Corey wakes in the tunnel and attempts to leave he is grabbed at the neck by Michael, this is the first appearance we see of him in the film. As Corey stares into the eyes of the masked figure you can tell that Corey sees something evil. 

One of the recurring themes of the Halloween franchise has always been the idea of good versus evil and the embodiment of pure evil. Corey’s character offers up a new kind of evil—conditioned. 

Over the days leading up to the next Halloween night we watch Corey transform. He becomes irritable and adrenaline-seeking. And he falls from humanity showcasing the way Michael’s presence has affected the town. Starting with random people, Corey begins to bring victims into the tunnel that Michael has apparently been staying in for the fours years he’s been gone, and offering them to Michael. “Teach me to do what you do,” are the words Corey says to him. 

The interesting thing about watching Corey transform into this copycat killer is watching him wrestle with it. Where Michael never seemed to question his actions, Corey becomes worried when his habits begin and even tries to tell Allyson that he is no good for her. It seems almost as if he is possessed by the evil in Michael and coming face to face with him brought out the anger he had built up from his home life problems plus the past three years of trauma. After so long of being called a psycho, at what point does one become one? Eventually, the words and actions of others eat at Corey and that, mixed with his run-in with the boogeyman, turn him into yet another Haddonfield monster. 

His ambition; however, gets the best of him when he decides to try to take Michael’s place. After a struggle in the sewer Corey walks out with the tattered mask ready to get his revenge and pave the way for him and Allyson to leave. Only after he tries to face Laurie, his last obstacle in getting Allyson away from town, does he realize that Michael is not simply just “a man in a Halloween mask.”

As surprised as I was that Corey became a main character in the film, I feel like his character development made him worth adding. Perhaps creating a copycat killer for the series ending wasn’t the most unique idea, but the execution was done well. The only real issue with Corey’s character is that he takes screen time away from Michael. Instead of focusing solely on his final moments with Laurie, the film took all direction to Corey and made it his story. Not only was this not what fans expected, but it also leaves too many possibilities for the series that is supposed to be ending. 

Image from IMDb

The final let-down

The question that lingered over the whole film was: Will Michael or Laurie die this Halloween? While Allyson is realizing what Corey has become and Laurie is at home preparing for her last battle with Michael, Michael is emerging from his sewer to follow Corey to Laurie’s new house.

From the moment Michael enters the house we see references to the 1978 version. Throughout the film there are hidden homages to the original, like Corey’s jumpsuit and the way he watches Laurie from the hedges, but the majority of them lie in the final scenes between Laurie and Michael. When Laurie hides in her kitchen pantry the same way she hid in the closet at Tommy’s house; when Laurie tries to stab Michael with a sewing needle again like when she stabbed him in the neck with one over the couch in 1978; when she stabs him once again in the same left hand that she stabbed him in 45 years earlier; and for a final touch, when Laurie has flashbacks to the original movie battle. These little details were done perfectly and undoubtedly were the only thing from the fight scene that kept with the style of the Halloween films.

The biggest aspect of the film that could have used some work was the style of this fight scene. With an estimated $20,000,000 budget there should have been more of a battle between Laurie and Michael. Though the scene fills the need for a "final showdown," it felt more like a let-down. While it gave me a nice bit of nostalgia and a good amount of blood, the duration of the actual fight felt too quick. Green used precisely the amount of time he needed to fill the scene with throwback moves but Laurie definitely beat him too easily for him being "indestructible" all these years. 

Even with the closing scene being a shot of Michael’s mask and the suspicious "Evil doesn't die, it just changes shape," quote from Laurie’s book, there is something final about the way the film ended. After Michael’s final Halloween in Haddonfield, Allyson finally makes the choice to leave the town and memories behind, and Laurie and Frank are left having a moment talking about the cherry blossoms. With that and the flashbacks to previous movies' showdowns allude to the fact that this version of the series with Laurie's timeline is finally over. It’s like Frank said as the town paraded Michael through the streets, "It's time for Haddonfield to start healing."


Sources:

IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb, IMDb, IMDb, IMDb, IMDb, IMDb

Photos:

IMDb, Distractify, IMDb


Contact Savannah Baird with comments at smbaird2@bsu.edu or @photo_savyy on Instagram.


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