Why Halloween Kills Is Better Than Halloween Ends

Halloween Ends hit Peacock yesterday, and like most Halloween sequels, it’s already sparked a lot of debate online. Currently, David Gordon Green‘s latest horror film is up on Rotten Tomatoes with a 41% critics score and a 57% audience score. That isn’t much different from the movie’s predecessor, Halloween Kills, which has a 39% and 66%. Since the new movie dropped, there’s been a lot of discussion about what’s better: Kills or Ends. It’s obvious that it all comes down to differing tastes and there’s no right or wrong answer, but I’m here to explain the one big reason why I prefer Halloween Kills to Halloween Ends. Warning: Spoilers Ahead…

Whether or not you like the late addition of Rohan Campbell’s Corey (personally, I do not) and the fact that this was more his story than Laurie Strode’s (Jamie Lee Curtis) or Michael Myers’ (James Jude Courtney), there’s another problem with Halloween Ends that makes it less compelling than Halloween Kills: the victims. In Kills, Green does a great job of creating characters you instantly like, and don’t want to watch die. There are three different couples introduced in Kills that are all murdered by Michael (well, Diva Tyler’s Sondra is revealed to still be alive in Ends), and Green makes you root for them during the short amount of time they’re onscreen.

Marcus (Michael Smallwood) and Vanessa (Carmela McNeal) are the couple at the bar who hit it off with Haddonfield celebrities, Tommy (Anthony Michael Hall), Lindsey (Kyle Richards), and Marion (Nancy Stephens). They join the crusade against Michael and both meet gruesome (and darkly funny) ends. By the time Michael kills them, you know a little about them, and you can’t help but feel a bit sad to see them go. Sondra and Phil (Lenny Clarke) are the adorable, spunky older couple who were having a nice time at home with their drone when Michael came knocking. They were in the line of fire simply by being Laurie’s neighbors, and your heart breaks watching Sondra watch her husband die (even though it’s a cool death). Finally, Big John (Scott MacArthur) and Little John (Michael McDonald) are the couple who bought the Myers house, and their cheeky dialogue and silly interactions with some neighborhood kids are enough for us to gain affection for them before Michael returns home. In addition to these newcomers, most of the returning characters who die in Kills are also people we’re invested in. The deaths in Kills are a gnarly, good time that also have some emotional weight, which isn’t the case for Ends.

In Halloween Ends, nearly everyone who is killed by Corey and Michael is unpleasant. Between Allyson’s loudmouth ex, the bullies who torment Corey, Allyson’s rude co-workers, the obnoxious DJ, and Corey’s nagging mother, you’re not exactly sad to see anyone get slaughtered. However, none of them are bad enough that you’re actively rooting for their deaths either. Yes, most of the kills are amusing, but it’s more gripping when you’re actively rooting for characters to live… or even rooting for them to die.

In Kills, the deaths are preceded by funny scenes between likable characters, but Ends makes the audience sit through annoying confrontation after annoying confrontation before the slaughter. The bullies, played by Michael Barbieri, Destiny Mone, Joey Harris, and Marteen, are over-the-top high school punks who feel more like caricatures than actual people. They somehow manage to bump into Corey multiple times over the course of three days, and their actions always have intense consequences that end with Corey getting injured until he snaps and strikes back. By the time they have their final showdown, you’re just relieved you don’t have to see these kids picking on an adult man again, which is the pattern of the whole movie. After sitting through so many tedious interactions, you’re not rooting for the victims OR Corey, and it lowers the stakes. Ultimately, no character death carries any weight until Corey kills himself and lets the movie be Laurie’s again.


As for the rest of Halloween Ends, there are plenty of other things to criticize, but the same can be said about Halloween Kills. No matter which movie you prefer, it’s safe to say nothing has ever been able to touch the original Halloween. Interestingly, every single franchise ranking I’ve seen has been drastically different (here’s mine), which can lead to some fun debates. Tell us where Halloween Ends lands in your ranking in the comments!

Halloween Ends is now playing in theatres and streaming on Peacock.