Director: Jennifer Reeder
Writer: Brett Neveu
Starring: Geno Walker, Kate Arrington, Felonious Munj, Lawrence Grimm, Daniel Kyri, Theo Germaine, Morgan Reesh, and Michael Shannon
Night’s End is a completely new take on the haunted house genre, that feels very inspired by the last couple of years, even if the pandemic isn’t mentioned at all. Ken (Geno Walker) is a shut-in, recovering from a breakdown in a new apartment. Without a job he’s turned to making videos giving out advice online. When one of his friends points out a dead bird falling from a shelf in the background of a video, he starts to investigate the history of his new apartment and finds an unsettling past.
The first ten minutes of the film sets everything up perfectly. Watching Ken making a few videos, his isolated apartment with newspaper covering every window, the dead birds lining a table, the strange liquid in the fridge. You instantly know everything you need to. Ken’s only contact with the outside world, other than through making the videos, is video calling with friends who are clearly worried about him. His character is built up throughout the film with little pieces of information here and there, so you get to know him.
When things start to get creepy, it really picks up. It really plays on the horror with the idea of being shut off from people that you know and only being able to see them online and at the same time finding out your apartment is haunted. The atmosphere that director Jennifer Reeder creates is full of tension. Ken is completely alone and you feel it, as the screen starts to stutter and glitch on his calls you know somethings going to happen, and there’ll be no one there to help.
Ken’s friends are a great set of characters. They’re made up of a childhood friend Terry (Felonious Munk), his ex-wife Kelsey and her new partner Isaac (played by real life married couple Kate Arrington and Michael Shannon). At first they don’t know whether to believe Ken or not, as they’re worried about him having another breakdown, especially once Ken starts drinking again. Michael Shannon is excellent, bringing some funny moments, and seeming to have a lot of fun in the film.
Sadly, the film is really let down by some incredibly dodgy effects and a poor ending. The budget is clearly low, and that’s not a problem in itself, but when there’s some awkward effects it completely takes you out of the film and almost feels like a parody. The ending is also not satisfying at all. It feels like everything that was being built up is rushed to a conclusion.
Overall, the film offers a creepy atmosphere and some great moments. Michael Shannon is completely brilliant, and the film is an interesting and different way to tell a haunted house story. It’s definitely worth seeking out if you’re a horror fan.
Night’s End will be available on Shudder from 31st March 2022
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