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Review: Halloween Ends

Rating: 3 out of 5.

When thinking about a reboot of an old franchise, the most important question to ask is “why?” What was the point in digging up the corpse of an old film, book, or any other media piece and reanimating it? On one level you can always answer that question with “profit”. In Hollywood, a film is only ever made if studio executives think it will make money. In the slightly-more contemporary world of streaming services, a film only gets made if executives think it will bring in new subscribers or stop current ones from leaving. Profit, however, is rarely the only reason a reboot gets made. This year’s Scream requel (a term used in the film to describe films that both reboot a franchise and continues stories from the original) for example exists mostly to critique and satirise the current trend of requels. Both The Matrix: Resurrections and Star Wars: The Last Jedi were requels which were going to be made no matter who was writing and directing them, as Warner Bros and Disney saw the two franchises as guaranteed sources of profit. In both cases, the writers and directors attached to the project used the latest entry in the franchise to critique the franchise and move it in a new direction. David Gordon Green’s Halloween trilogy, at least in my eyes, is an attempt to understand the Trump era.

Green had a vision going into the trilogy, with the iconic villain Michael Myers symbolising fascism. Throughout the three films, we see how Myers’ return ruins the community of Haddonfield, with violence and death becoming normalised in the town following the murder spree that dominated Halloween Kills’ runtime. Set four years after the events of Halloween (2018) and Halloween Kills, the latest instalment in the franchise largely eschews the violent murder that dominated Kills. Instead, they choose to focus on how the unknowable evil of Michael Myers can spread and infect others. Unfortunately, despite Green’s vision for the franchise having a lot of potential, overall the trilogy has failed to rise beyond dozens of other horror reboots and remakes. The theme of fascism’s return is particularly ill-handled, with the film seemingly suggesting that the only way to defeat fascism for good is to forget and stop obsessing over the past. At a time when fascism is making a comeback across the globe, this is a message which is more dangerous than stupid. An alternate read on the trilogy, where its focus is true crime, makes this message make more sense, but the text of Kills and Ends doesn’t particularly support this interpretation.

Technically, the most recent entry in the franchise is far stronger than the mess that was Halloween Kills, but nothing in the trilogy has come anywhere near Carpenter’s original film. When eternal final girl Laurie Strode and Michael Myers finally come face to face again, several shots from the pair’s first meeting are recreated as faithfully as possible. This was probably supposed to be a nice tribute to the original film. Unfortunately, it has the side effect of showing how ugly the new films are when compared to the original trilogy. Most shots are run-of-the-mill 2020s blockbuster cinematography: unoffensive but not horrible. My issue comes with how scenes shot at night or in the dark look ugly compared to shots from the original film. Myers’ dark jumpsuit blends in with darkness whilst his white mask reflect the light. In the 1978 film, this costume has the effect of hiding most of the killer except for his iconic mask whilst lighting his victims in a way which makes it look like they have a spotlight on them. Digital cameras, like the ones used to make the 2022 film, can see far more in the dark. Now we can always see all of Michael in the dark just as well as we can see Laurie. In a film where Michael is constantly referred to as evil, this contrast would serve to highlight a theme of the film whilst simultaneously visualising Myers’ status as a force of evil. Good cinematography could have helped distract from mediocre writing, improving a film which will mostly be remembered as a disappointing end to a pointless trilogy.

Jamie Lee Curtis Visits VFS” by vancouverfilmschool is licensed under CC BY 2.0.