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HORROR

Halloween Ends Review: A Character-Driven Slasher brings the iconic horror franchise to a close

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It All Ends Now… Halloween Ends is a fitting conclusion to the franchise’s 45-year run as we witness Horror’s first Final Girl take her last stand against pure evil! It’s gripping, thrilling, and pulse-pounding whilst showcasing a community poisoned with fear!

After 45 years, the most acclaimed, revered horror franchise in film history reaches its epic, terrifying conclusion as Laurie Strode faces off for the last time against the embodiment of evil, Michael Myers, in a final confrontation unlike any captured on-screen before. Only one of them will survive.

Icon Jamie Lee Curtis returns for the last time as Laurie Strode, horror’s first “final girl” and the role that launched Curtis’ career. Curtis has portrayed Laurie for more than four decades now, one of the longest actor-character pairings in cinema history. When the franchise relaunched in 2018, Halloween shattered box office records, becoming the franchise’s highest-grossing chapter and set a new record for the biggest opening weekend for a horror film starring a woman.

Four years after the events of last year’s Halloween Kills, Laurie is living with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) and is finishing writing her memoir. Michael Myers hasn’t been seen since. Laurie, after allowing the spectre of Michael to determine and drive her reality for decades, has decided to liberate herself from fear and rage and embrace life. But when a young man, Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell; The Hardy Boys, Virgin River), is accused of killing a boy he was babysitting, it ignites a cascade of violence and terror that will force Laurie to finally confront the evil she can’t control, once and for all.

REVIEW

“Halloween Ends” returns us to a traumatised Haddonfield, shocked by the events of Halloween night 2018 in “Halloween Kills” we see a town broken and skittish from the disappearance of Michael Myers. Director David Gordon Green truly goes forward by telling a much bigger story centred on new characters and exploring heavy themes and topics that create a thrilling film I thoroughly enjoyed but also a divisive film that I imagine not everyone will love the outcome.

The presence of Michael Myers still looms across the town and has an effect on everyone, even though he hasn’t been seen for over four years his shadow still casts, even on those who weren’t in his bloody grasp. This pure evil has become a plague throughout Haddonfield and has poisoned the minds of its community as they turn their anger onto high-school babysitter Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell) when the child under his care dies in a horrifying accident. The town slowly starts to rip itself apart and ultimately showcases what shapes, The Shape and how their environment can shape them. Director David Gordon Green truly has made a slasher trilogy that just like Stephen King’s “IT”, focuses on an All-American town infected by festering Evil that ultimately manifests a boogeyman and haunts it for generations.

Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) meanwhile is making strides to move on with her life and leave the trauma of her past behind in the form of writing a memoir and buying a new house for her and her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), who’s seeking relationships to end her feelings of isolation. However their attempts to move on from their pain and loss are stifled as Haddonfield isn’t ready to let them move on, as the citizens of the town continue to lay blame for Michael’s rampage, saying that Laurie has poked with the devil. As healing and romance finally start, gruesome murders begin to plague the town once more as the evil that once terrorised Haddonfield slowly puts himself back together.

Laurie knows that evil has returned once again and most importantly she must approach it head-on and be willing to revisit her haunted past to do what’s necessary.

Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode in HALLOWEEN ENDS, directed by David Gordon Green © Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Jamie Lee Curtis pours her heart and soul into her final performance as Laurie Strode. Her presence on screen accelerates into something truly impactful. “Halloween Ends” chooses to return the franchise to its study of characters as we see Laurie through different stages, Curtis blends each performance from her first appearance in 1978 as an innocent young girl fast forward to 2018 Laurie, now battle-scarred and shut inside her fortress. This is her greatest portrayal of the character. Matichak is giving the bulk of the screen time allowing the film to explore her character fully. The story also explores the impact of being around someone who’s been involved with, or seemingly attracted to, so many premature deaths, “Halloween Ends” returns to portray the everlasting effects of trauma experienced by survivors of horrid violence.

“Halloween Ends” also showcases a coming-of-age story romance between Allyson and Corey, two outcasts who are ready to move on completely from Haddonfield. The first two movies explored how trauma affects a family and a community, with “Ends” we witness how trauma can infect and mutate and ultimately form a destructive path. The film rests largely on the shoulders of the new character Corey Cunningham played by Rohan Campbell, a young man with great college aspects but eventually carries overwhelming guilt. Corey shares a lot in common with Laurie at that age especially with the whole town also targeting him, treating him like an outcast. However, we witness Corey’s inner turmoil which provides him a perplexing character arc, one that unfortunately doesn’t get fleshded out but Campbell shows the internal struggles Corey has to deal with as he balances many qualities. But at the risk of giving away some of the film’s plot points, David Gordon Green showcases the story from different psychological angles and explores truly challenging topics as we the audience witness how society can be monsters and how a town becomes the birthplace of evil.

Speaking of pure evil, the darkness that Haddonfield has tried for so long to conceal comes back with a vengeance. It’s been 45 years since John Carpenter and Debra Hill first introduced Legendary slasher, Michael Myers. “Halloween Ends” turns Myer’s into an unsettling mystery of his disappearance, The shape of evil is a disease with an infectious nature showcasing the devastating impacts and effects of those who happen to cross his path. Portrayed by James Jude Courtney and Nick Castle, the film utilises his screen time with kills that are brutal, disgusting and full-on gore, it’s certainly creative.

Michael Myers (aka The Shape) in Halloween Ends, co-written, produced and directed by David Gordon Green.

However the main event of course is a sequence many have been waiting for, for over 45 years, it’s of course. Laurie Vs Michael, Good Vs Evil, and ultimately Haddonfield’s final fight. This is a match horror fans have been waiting for as it’s bone-crunching, suspenseful, and pulse-pounding, it’s these two characters who carry symbolic and emotional weight fighting each other accompanied with an intense score courtesy of John and Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies.

Final Thoughts

“Halloween Ends” feels both standalone but also inseparable from the franchise. It brings forth a storyline previous entries have only dared to tease whilst providing a satisfying conclusion of the heart and soul of the “Halloween” franchise. The movie explores serious themes and territories that the audience may punish as the radical departure in tone is the result of shifts in the story. At its core “Halloween Ends” is a character-driven slow burn that is drama-heavy and hasn’t been seen since Carpenter’s original. It’s campy at times with some hilarious moments woven in but when the film wants to be brutal it truly succeeds.

HALLOWEEN ENDS, directed by David Gordon Green © Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

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Alien: Covenant

Cailee Spaeny Circling Newest Installment in ‘Alien’ Film Franchise

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 Fox has continued their Alien franchise since its inception in the 1970s. The first film was groundbreaking for its gritty sci-fi horror themes creating one of the best heroines on screen with Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley and it appears they may be trying to reinvent the wheel once again with the rumored choice to lead the next franchise installment.

According to multiple outlets, Cailee Spaeny is in talks with 20th Century to join the Alien franchise leading its latest set to be directed by Don’t Breathe director, Fede Alvarez. Though there are not many details coming with this scoop, we do know that the franchise will likely continue its trend of having the iconic creature known as the Xenomorphs attacking whatever humans they encounter, this time set to be led by Spaeny. The studio is hoping to wrap up its deal with the actress as soon as possible as they would like to have cameras rolling by early 2023.

Spaeny was recently seen in HBO’s Mare of Easttown but has two high-profile movies she’s working on currently. The first being cast as Priscilla Presley for Sofia Coppola’s upcoming romance movie aptly titled, Priscilla, which follows the relationship of the King of Rock and Roll and his wife. Spaeny will be joined by Euphoria star, Jacob Elordi who will portray Elvis. Additionally, she will star in Civil War, the latest from Alex Garland alongside Kirsten Dunst and Wagner Moura. 

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Entertainment

‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ Adds ‘Stranger Things’ Breakout Star Joseph Quinn

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 Joseph Quinn’s new character, Eddie Munson within Stranger Things Season 4 was beloved by fans everywhere making Quinn’s star rise. Now, after months of anticipation, fans can see Quinn joining another popular horror-based franchise. 

According to a report from Deadline, Joseph Quinn is set to join the cast of A Quiet Place: Day One, a spinoff film of A Quiet Place developed by John Krasinski. Quinn will co-star in the movie alongside Lupita Nyong’o who was just recently added to the movie set to be directed by Michael Sarnoski.

Stranger Things Season 4 was one of my favorite seasons of television all year long and in recent memory. Part of the reason for that was the familiar favorites that have been with the Netflix original for past seasons, but Quinn’s Eddie Munson was a welcome addition and added an element that the show was missing. Despite the acting talents throughout the show, not all of the stars have taken off in the same way that Quinn has despite only appearing in the most recent season. 

 Sarnoski, who previously directed last year’s drama, Pig starring Nicolas Cage, signed on to direct A Quiet Place: Day One back in January while Nyong’o has been attached for only a short time entering negotiations in early-November. Nyong’o can be seen in theaters currently reprising her role as Nakia in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

A Quiet Place: Day One, though being an additional installment within the horror franchise, is not a continuation of the previous two films, but rather a spinoff that will probably not see John Krasinski nor Emily Blunt reprise their roles. However, Day One‘s story was written by Krasinski himself and he is developing the third film in the main storyline currently as Paramount is hoping to create their own universe following the rousing success of the first two movies. A Quiet Place: Day One hits theaters on March 8, 2024.

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HORROR

The Midnight Club

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Mike Flanagan returns with his latest horror TV show The Midnight Club, which if you’re a fan of his previous work you’ll be pleased to hear, is centered around a grande house where unusual things begin to happen. 

This series wasn’t publicised too well from Netflix but luckily a few people on Instagram mentioned it was out, so I instantly jumped onto Netflix on it’s day of release. Earlier this year I had a binge of Flanagan’s previous work due to my utter adoration for Midnight Mass and ultimately, I was excited to check out his latest series.

The Midnight Club follows a group of terminally ill teenagers who are all put into one house, and during their time there, the group come together at midnight in the library to tell each other haunting stories where they put themselves and their inner conflicts in a thrilling short story.

The Midnight Club meeting together in Episode 4

This series has a lot of Flanagan’s traits from broken family dynamics to haunted houses, you are bound to be happy with the set up of this show.

A lot of the actors within this series are new compared to his recent projects, nevertheless everyone brings a strong performance to this show. Iman Benson, William Chris Sumpter and Ruth Codd absolutely smashed it out of the ball park and deserve their own mention.

Ilonka and Kevin go exploring in the basement of the home

Though this show doesn’t conclude it’s loose ends as well as it could have, the world in which Flanagan is so good at establishing will have you wanting to press next episode quicker than the speed of sound.

I filmed a full review over on my channel which you can check to hear my full thoughts on The Midnight Club.

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