Can ‘Halloween Ends’ put the boogeyman to bed once and for all?

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Jackson Piercy
Staff Writer

Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) and the Shape (James Jude Courtney) having a tussle. Photo courtesy of imdb.com.

I’m conflicted. On one hand, I feel as though I was one of four or five people who really liked the total blood-and-guts approach that David Gordon Green took with “Halloween Kills.” On the other, I find myself on the receiving end of a character-driven mystery-thriller that one doesn’t typically get under the “Halloween” umbrella that I like just as much, if not more. The response on social media — though I shouldn’t listen to social media — has been either that this is the best thing since 1978, or that this film should share the same fate as many others in this film. If you don’t want anything spolier-y, I will tell you this: “Halloween Ends” is completely different to the other films in this recent trilogy, so keep an open mind.

One year after the events of “Halloween Kills,” seemingly well-adjusted Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell) is babysitting typical annoying child Jeremy (Jaxon Goldenberg) until a prank goes horribly wrong just as Jeremy’s parents are coming home. Four years after the accident, Corey is a deadbeat. He works in a junkyard with his stepfather (Rick Moose), and has been shunned by the rest of Haddonfield. That is, until a chance encounter with the recently un-crazied Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curits) and her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak). Through them, he starts to get his life back on track. Corey and Allyson start dating, and everything is going mostly pretty good. However, after getting thrown off a bridge by a roving gang of band members, Corey has another one of those chance encounters with a very secluded and very disheveled Shape (James Jude Courtney). Who will win out in the battle for Corey’s soul?

I have a fleeting suspicion that this film knew what it was doing from the get-go. The title sequence, in lock-step with the other two recent “Halloween” films, pays homage to the original films in the series. However, this film takes its stylings from “Halloween III: Season of the Witch,” a film that took a lot of flak for being the only film in the series to not have a single appearance from Michael Myers. What we have here is something similar. This is not Michael Myers’ film, nor is it Laurie Strode’s. It takes some real cojones to make a “Halloween” film, especially one as hyped up with a matchup between Michael and Laurie for the last time. I really think, despite what many will tell you, that the decision really pays off. If you want Michael to tear up some hapless Haddonfielders, that’s what “Halloween Kills” is for. This film is more one that poses interesting questions than has interesting kills — though there are kills aplenty. Is the same evil that inhabits Michael inherent in all of us? Or is it put there? What is the best way to cope with fear? Are we what other people make us out to be? These are not usually questions posed by films that feature hulking men sticking screaming adulterers to the wall with butcher knives.

I would posit that this film is a little too smart for what most people are expecting from it. What we were expecting was a no holds barred bloodbath between two juggernauts of the horror genre. What we get is something that’s more meditative, more character-driven than its contemporaries in the slasher genre. Does it work? I think it does, but you should go see it and decide for yourself.

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