David Gordon Green has directed four horror movies since his first foray into the genre in 2018, and they’re each very different in terms of their quality. The American filmmaker made his name with independent dramas in the early 2000s with George Washington and All the Real Girls. Later, he branched out into mainstream comedy movies and TV shows, including Pineapple Express and The Righteous Gemstones. Nowadays David Gordon Green’s movies consist primarily of cinematic scares with a focus on reviving classic horror franchises.
After directing all three movies in the franchise-rebooting Halloween sequel trilogy, Green went on to helm The Exorcist: Believer, a direct sequel to 1973’s The Exorcist. There are two more Exorcist sequels planned for what will be another horror trilogy, though Green’s involvement in them as a director is so far uncertain. These four horror movies that David Gordon Green has directed range from terrible to excellent, and for those who have seen them all, it’s not hard to guess which is the best, and it’s even more obvious which one is the worst.
4 The Exorcist: Believer (2023)
David Gordon Green’s most recent horror project, The Exorcist: Believer, is by far his worst. The follow-up to the iconic 1973 film was eagerly anticipated in the horror world and even in the world of cinema in general, but its caliber doesn’t bode well for the planned Exorcist trilogy. The movie is about a Haitian photographer whose daughter and her best friend become demonically possessed, and his efforts to exorcise the demon, including contacting Chris MacNeil from the original movie.
Leslie Odom Jr. dives into his meaty role as photographer Victor Fielding and does a grand job, and it’s great to see original The Exorcist stars Ellen Burstyn and Linda Blair reprising their roles and Chris and Regan MacNeil. However, as much as it admirably tries to take this franchise back to its chilling roots, it’s far too derivative and lacks fresh ideas. Perhaps more importantly, it just isn’t scary. While it has a promising start, The Exorcist: Believer’s ending doesn’t work, as it’s massively anticlimactic, and this ultimately proved disappointing.
3 Halloween Kills (2021)
Halloween Kills is the second installment in David Gordon Green’s trilogy of Halloween sequels and therefore the third movie in this particular timeline chronologically, due to the rest of the franchise being retconned. Halloween Kills starts where 2018’s Halloween finishes, with Laurie Strode, her daughter Karen, and her granddaughter Allyson all believing they’d killed Michael Myers in Laurie’s burning home, only for Myers to emerge from the flames and embark on another murderous spree.
There are enough kills and ample gore to satisfy slasher fans. However, Halloween Kills fails to progress the franchise, as it essentially ends the same way as its predecessor, with Myers seemingly dead, only to revive and wreak bloody havoc again. It reintroduces several characters from the 1978 film, such as Nancy Stephens’s Marion Chambers and Tommy Doyle (now played by Anthony Michael Hall), which is nice to see. While its often high-spiritedness makes it fun, its attempts to balance grisly brutality with social commentary on topics like mob mentality mean it’s a little convoluted.
2 Halloween Ends (2022)
Halloween Ends is the third and final installment in David Gordon Green’s series of Halloween sequels, and it differs significantly from the others. While Michael Myers is a prominent character in the movie, Halloween Ends focuses on the new character Corey Cunningham, an outcast for his accidental killing of a child whom he was babysitting. He falls in love with Laurie Strode’s granddaughter Allyson but finds his life entangled with that of Michael Myers, turning him into a killer in a similar mold to the iconic slasher.
Many viewers were perplexed by Halloween Ends, citing its many metaphors, confusing plot, joylessness, and the missed opportunity to give Michael Myers a proper starring send-off being among its many problems. However, that’s probably harsh. Sure, it was unexpected and subversive, but criticism would have been far more severe had the franchise signed off with something painstakingly predictable. It’s an intelligent film with some genuinely poignant moments and an intriguing take on the concept of evil and its infectiousness, and it features a terrific performance from Jamie Lee Curtis. In the years to come, Halloween Ends will undoubtedly become viewed more favorably.
1 Halloween (2018)
Halloween 2018 is a direct sequel to the original 1978 movie of the same name, and it’s the opening installment in the new trilogy from David Gordon Green. The film reintroduces audiences to Jamie Lee Curtis’s Laurie Strode, who is still suffering the effects of Michael Myers’s murder spree 40 years prior. While Myers remains incarcerated, Laurie still lives in post-traumatic fear of him, drinking heavily in her massively fortified home. When the killer escapes incarceration, Strode prepares for another Halloween showdown with him.
This Halloween installment bravely pretends every other sequel since 1978 didn’t happen, wiping the franchise slate clean and finally giving audiences a follow-up worthy of the original. Halloween 2018 avoids the complex route of bizarre mythology that the previous sequels had elaborately taken the franchise on and goes back to basics. This film provides brilliant fan service and some imaginative kills and quickly reestablishes Myers as a nigh-unstoppable force and Laurie as a formidable foe for him. It thoroughly respects the original, paying homage to it in various ways. It’s a shame its sequels couldn’t maintain the standard of Halloween because it’s one of David Gordon Green’s best movies period.