Review by Camden Ferrell
Night’s End is a new movie from horror director Jennifer Reeder and writer Brett Neveu. Some might know Reeder from her film Knives and Skin or her segment in the film V/H/S/94. This film had its premiere a few weeks ago at FrightFest Glasgow before its premiere on Shudder. Unfortunately, this film lacks originality and is void of thrills or a sense of fear.
Ken is a reclusive man who moves into an apartment. However, strange occurrences lead him to believe his apartment is haunted which causes him to seek out an exorcism. Haunted abodes and subsequent exorcisms are overused tropes in horror, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t viable. This movie does try and modernize the concept in its own way, but it falls flat and just feels like its treading the same water as better movies that came before it.
Since the protagonist is a shut-in, a lot of the movie is told in the context of online video calls. This is a storytelling device that has been seen a lot in recent years, even more so because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the only way in which the film tries to significantly carve its own path for exorcism-based horror movies, but it doesn’t work very well. The online video call doesn’t blend will with the premise of the movie, and it mostly leads to the film feeling less scary as a whole.
The entire cast of the movie is painfully forgettable. Geno Walker leads the film as Ken, but he isn’t given great material to work with, and his interpretation of the character never feels believable. The only significant cast member is Michael Shannon who is uncharacteristically bland in this movie among an equally bland cast of supporting characters.
The movie is plagued with problems throughout. Its pace is sluggish despite being a very short movie, and none of the execution feels particularly motivated. It tries to blend the mundanity of a recluse with the intensity of a haunting, but it never mixes well, and it creates a muddled tonal mess. As mentioned before, the video call angle subverts the earnestness of its premise and ultimately robs the film of its potential to scare audiences.
Night’s End is a bland horror film that is more forgettable than anything. They try and put their own spin on the haunting and exorcism tropes, but it consistently falls flat. The cast is bland, and the execution is sloppy and doesn’t properly blend the different elements of the movie.
Night’s End is streaming on Shudder March 31.