You’ll Want Night’s End (2022) To End Soon
Title: Night’s End
First Non-Festival Release: March 31, 2022 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Director: Jennifer Reeder
Writer: Brett Neveu
Runtime: 81 Minutes
Starring: Geno Walker, Kate Arrington, Michael Shannon
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Divorced shut-in Ken (Geno Walker) spends his days alone in his apartment tending to his hobbies and producing videos for his Youtube channel that garners very little interest outside of his immediate circle. Things begin to change when his followers point out strange things happening in the background of his videos. Skeptical of the supernatural but thinking he has found an angle to rake in views, Ken pivots to exploiting the presence in his house to benefit his channel. The deeper he gets into the lore behind his house, the more unsettled he becomes at the consequences of finding out what is happening.
Messy supernatural horror gets lost in a host of cliches and low production values in Night’s End.
Much of what makes Night’s End a hard sell is its muddled story and restrained concept. Pandemic era horror is a tricky one to do right. It’s either too on the nose or too off the wall. Night’s End falls into the latter. The simplicity of other “timely” horror is in using the setting of lockdown to uncover real fears.
Zoom is a primary source of horror in this film alongside Youtube. While the latter has been more integrated into the horror cannon, Zoom and other video calling platforms are relatively new but becoming increasingly popular. With that being said, the choice of Night’s End to do a Zoom séance already feels dated and worn given recent innovations in the genre. Paired with the hokey effects and rough acting from the supporting cast, the overall choice does not mesh well. It’s a shame because the concept of a man fighting a supernatural force in lockdown is compelling. The shoehorning of the video calls brings it down several notches.
In Night’s End, Ken is clearly going through struggles. He is separated from his ex-wife and children, in between jobs, and living in a strange apartment. His agoraphobia isn’t explored beyond rationale for him staying in the apartment against better judgment. Setting Night’s End in this quarantine era doesn’t expose his isolation any more than it would to set him moving across country or having a negative relationship with his ex-wife. The lack of curiosity sets back what could have been an interesting film.
Night’s End benefits from its tight confines, both physically and through the camera. By framing each room in ways that make the space feel more cramped, Night’s End plays into the claustrophobia inherent in the confinement of an apartment. This plays in well with other pandemic era signifiers like the overuse of Zoom and the emphasis on content creation. The use of color and light is quite prevalent within the film as well. Much of it is filmed with one tint or another, often bright greens or fiery oranges. It gives the film an uncomfortable feeling and an edge amongst other low budget ventures. There’s clearly an artistic vision for the film and it is a shame that it doesn’t shine through the noise.
Much of what makes Night’s End disappointing lies within the dots not connecting in the end. Its shallow supernatural horror story and the irritating zoom gimmick wears on the narrative greatly. Low-fi pandemic movies have been all the rage since 2020, and Night’s End does not bring anything new to the table while simultaneously overstretching its weak premise. Geno Walker has enough charm to make Ken an endearing ill-fated character, but the rest of the cast leans into cheese too heavily to take the film seriously. Interesting filmmaking techniques can only save a film so much from a convoluted script and minimal scares. Night’s End is not the worst film Shudder has produced, but it is certainly one that you will not mind to see finish before the night indeed ends.
Overall Score? 4/10