Halloween Ends, the conclusion to the story that opened 44 years ago, has an impossible task set before it — to give Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode the final appearance and farewell that she deserves as such an iconic piece to the horror genre.
Halloween Ends suffers where an argument could be made that most horror films suffer under — at under two hours’ runtime, there is simply too much narrative to pack into the film to give the characters adequate depth and the story the unbreakable foundation it needs. Thankfully, the cast — including franchise newcomer Rohan Campbell — manage to provide solid performances that make up for the lack of depth present in the script. Curtis, of course, is still the star of the show.
The film has to be commended for its attempt at trying something new; at taking big swings in the desire to explore more to this world than the pieces laid out by previous installments. However, this piece to the greater picture doesn’t really seem to fit together with the other installments, a result that is somewhat baffling considering the films all come from director David Gordon Green. The result is disjointed pieces and tones throughout each — while the last installment, Halloween Kills, was criticized as being too graphic and gory for some, Halloween Ends spends the majority of the film bafflingly violence free.
But I don’t want to focus on what didn’t work for the film, I want to focus on the most important aspect and what made all of the lackluster qualities tolerable. Halloween Ends doesn’t serve just as the conclusion to Michael Myers, it serves as a farewell to the first final girl — Laurie Strode. The goodbye letter to her is a celebration of the character, the legacy, and is penned so saturated with love I don’t see how anyone could walk away from this film not, at the very least, appreciating what it does for Laurie — and for so many like her.
It continues the honored tradition set forth by John Carpenter in 1978 by giving us a sensitive, vulnerable Laurie who is finally learning to live with her fear and grief rather than run from it. Seeing the first and still-considered favorite final girl finally face evil head-on and put an end to her nightmares after so long is something we may be able to see in ourselves, and if not ourselves then our mothers, sisters, daughters or friends. We see a woman who doesn’t let fear stand in the way of her standing up to her oppressor(s) — something I think we can all relate to.
The first two installments to this trilogy serve as an exploration as to how trauma affects the individual, families, and communities. The conclusion to this trilogy that began in 2018 with Halloween chooses to close by commenting on how trauma metastasizes and forms new evil, falling into a vicious and never-ending cycle. Still at the heart of it all is how society chooses to treat victims — when a large-scale traumatic event happens, we all want someone to be angry at — and unfortunately for other victims, this can also be them.
Evil isn’t just by nature — it isn’t just some lurking, dark force waiting in the depths to creep forward from within us and unleash upon the Earth. Evil can also be created by the circumstances we find ourselves in, and sometimes that includes those who have been the victim and find themselves the pariah rather than someone their community helps.
Overall, it’s not a perfect film, nor is it a perfect conclusion to the Halloween franchise. However, it is the perfect farewell to the iconic Jamie Lee Curtis and to Laurie Strode — the 17-year-old final girl whose vulnerability and perseverance in the face of atrocity has kept audiences hopeful since 1978.
Halloween Ends is now playing in theaters and streaming on Peacock.