The many nights he came home.
The Halloween Final Timeline is the fourth set of slasher films in the Halloween franchise produced by Universal Pictures. It stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Andi Matichak. This is the fourth set of films in the Halloween franchise, being the third in the main Halloween continuity. It was preceded by the Rob Zombie Halloween films.
The Halloween Final Timeline includes:
Halloween Kills (2021)
Halloween Ends (2022)
NO SPOILERS FOR HALLOWEEN ENDS IN THIS REVIEW!
"Happy Halloween, Michael." - Laurie Strode (Halloween)
Forty years after his initial murderous rampage, Michael Myers escapes from an institution to wreak havoc on Laurie Strode once again. However, this time, Laurie is prepared. As Laurie tries to kill the boogeyman once and for all, Michael continues to tear through the people of Haddonfield before disappearing for four more years. As Laurie tries to rehabilitate herself, Michael returns one final time, and Laurie must face the evil she's been trying to get rid of for the last time.
This new Halloween timeline jump proves to be one of the more successful horror reboot attempts. The main reason for that? Michael frickin' Myers. James Jude Courtney and David Gordon Green rebirthed The Shape with this older, more brutal feel to him. I love the mask in the 2018 film. The burnt one that we get in Kills and Ends is cool, too. But I love that they went all out with this version of Michael Myers. He is the scariest Michael we've gotten without going too far (Yes, Rob Zombie's Michael goes too far) and I love that. This new timeline solidifies him as the quintessential horror villain for me.
What Halloween and Halloween Kills do so well is explore trauma. Halloween Ends did it, too. A lot of franchises have trouble establishing themes. This timeline doesn't. It is all about trauma and legacy. Halloween 2018 explores Laurie Strode's PTSD from the original. Halloween Kills explores Haddonfield's shared trauma from Michael Myers. And Halloween Ends does something entirely different. I can't really say what it does or how it does it, but it fits in with the trauma theme and adds a nice bow around this great running theme of the franchise.
This trilogy also has the best kills of the franchise, and it isn't even close. Each film has at least one kill that just sticks in your mind because of how gnarly and memorable it is. The original isn't really gory, but Bob's death is great. Halloween 2018 has Michael stomp on Ranbir Sartain's head. Halloween Kills has multiple standout deaths, but Big John's eyes getting gouged out is probably my golden chainsaw. I won't say the standout kills in Halloween Ends, but I will say this: there's two. One involving a tongue (which was my favorite) and the final kill of the film (which was a close second). This franchise has some seriously awesome murders.
The Halloween franchise is known for being in the horror and thriller genre. 2018 has the best balance of this, but really three of the four films do it very well. The original is much more of a thriller and isn't very scary, but it's effectively tense. 2018 is super intense and pays off this intensity with bursts of horror. Kills is a gorefest that effectively manages tension, but really wants to just show off tons of blood (and I mean that as a good thing). Those three movies do a great job of being horror-thrillers.
One thing that I really, really dug about this timeline was the great side characters. I really liked Karen and Allyson Nelson. They're more main characters, but I thought both were great additions, although I'm not a super big fan of what they did with Allyson in Ends. But what really fills it out is some great, great supporting characters. Allyson's friends in 2018 are fantastic. Julian, the little kid that appears in 2018, is one of the best side characters in a horror movie ever. Kills reintroduces Lindsey Wallace, Tommy Doyle, and Marion Chambers. Lindsey is the standout there. She's a great addition to this franchise. Fun side characters just make these movies more entertaining. It also makes the kills hurt a little more, because you like these people that are being violently slaughtered by Michael Myers.
This trilogy is also very much a sendoff for Laurie Strode (at least Jamie Lee's version of the character). Halloween Ends is the end of this era of Halloween movies. There will be no sequels. They ended it on a satisfying note. There are no teases near the end. The final shot basically communicates that this is it. And I really appreciated that, because horror franchises sometimes just don't ever end. I'm not saying that the Halloween franchise is done, but this timeline is done and Laurie Strode is done.
Finally, the direction throughout this franchise is really, really good. John Carpenter's direction in the original is obviously one of the things that makes that movie great. David Gordon Green knows how to handle the camera and manage these characters. He is good at crafting tension as well as giving us some really awesome shots of Michael Myers. He's helming a new Exorcist trilogy after this, and I'm very excited to see what he does with that, because he did a very good job with this Halloween timeline.
The Halloween final timeline starts off really strong, but teeters as you get closer to the end.
And, if you read my review of Halloween Ends on Thursday, you know I was not a fan of that movie...at all. I hated it. It does such a horrible job of wrapping up this trilogy. All of the loose ends from Halloween and Halloween Kills are left dangling because it decides to focus on a new character instead of Laurie Strode and Michael Myers. It's such a disappointing finale to the franchise that ends on a satisfying note, but really fails to feel like a good conclusion.
And, as I just mentioned, a bunch of questions that are brought up throughout the trilogy are left unanswered by the time the credits of Halloween Ends roll. Halloween Kills was left on a massive cliffhanger that isn't paid off by Hallloween Ends. There are so many things about the trilogy that just don't make sense because Halloween Ends just decides to do its own thing instead of being a satisfying finale to this timeline.
The main problem of this franchise stems from Corey Cunningham, the newest character in the franchise. He is the central focus of Halloween Ends. He has more screentime than Laurie, Allyson, or Michael. He is, by all ends and means, the main character. And that is baffling to me. His character goes down a route that makes little sense. They went for a bunch of subtlety with Corey, but it feels like they just didn't want to explain why he was doing certain things, so they didn't. He's a horrible character and a horrible way to close out this timeline.
Unfortunately, this franchise just gets worse as it goes along. The original Halloween is one of the best horror films ever made. Halloween 2018 is a great legacy sequel that starts to lose itself during the end but regains its footing and closes out nicely. In my opinion, they should've just ended it there. I'm a defender of Halloween Kills, but Kills and Ends are unnecessary. 2018 would've proven to have been a great one-off sequel. Kills is dumb fun, but they try to do some things that just didn't work. Michael became too invincible for there to be any tension or belief, and then Ends just goes in all kinds of ridiculous places. To be completely honest, if I ever rewatch this franchise, I might just watch Halloween and then 2018. The duology of Kills and Ends really bogs down what would've been a fantastic two-story punch with the two Halloween movies.
Final Thoughts and Score
The Halloween final timeline is a fun return to Haddonfield. A brutal Michael Myers, themes of trauma, and some fantastic side characters slightly overshadow a terrible final film. This should've been two movies: we did not need Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends. Regardless, I do have fun with these movies.
I'm going Savory here. Age range is 14+.
SWEET N' SOUR SCALE
Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad) Moldy (Terrible)
"Halloween Final Timeline"
Fun Factor: 8/10
Directed by John Carpenter
Directed by David Gordon Green
Rated R for strong bloody violence, frightening themes and images, language, suggestive material, drug and alcohol use, thematic elements
Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode
Andi Matichak as Allyson Nelson
Judy Greer as Karen Nelson
James Jude Courtney as Michael Myers
Nick Castle as Michael Myers
Will Patton as Frank Hawkins
Donald Pleasance as Dr. Samuel Loomis
Kyle Richards as Lindsey Wallace
Rohan Campbell as Corey Cunningham
Haluk Bilginer as Dr. Ranbir Sartain
Anthony Michael Hall as Tommy Doyle
Robert Longstreet as Lonnie Elam
Dylan Arnold as Cameron Elam
Nancy Stephens as Marion Chambers
Charles Cyphers as Sheriff Leigh Brackett
Toby Huss as Ray Nelson