Sort of Lockdown horror (but not really) Night’s End could have been really good. If the filmmakers had decided what they were making from the start and stuck with it.

We meet Ken (Geno Walker), a divorced, ex-alcoholic shut in who starts his days with coffee and Pepto Bismol. In the same mug. He is supposed to be looking for a job but instead spends his time making self-help videos for YouTube that nobody seems to be watching. Apart from his limited friendship circle.

Shudder

During one of these videos, his friend Terry (Felonious Munk) notices one of Ken’s taxidermy birds falling off a shelf behind him.

Now, anyone who has seen Psycho knows that taxidermy birds are generally a sign of an unwell mind, and Ken is certainly unwell. Apart from the bizarre drinking habits, he shows a lot of signs of OCD, including taping newspaper over all his windows. Somehow despite this his plants are still alive, and those of us who got really into plants during lockdown (admit it, we all did really) know that is impossible. Those things are just looking for an excuse to die.

Ken, with the advice of Terry, his ex-wife Kelsey (Kate Arrington) and her new husband Isaac (Michael Shannon – I have no idea why he is in this film), try to rid the apparent ghost from his apartment. They take advice from a few sources on the internet, with varying success, and everything escalates from there. Eventually culminating in a long-distance Zoom séance a la Host. But far, far less interesting.

Shudder

Night’s End is a strange beast of a film. Initially it seems to take itself very seriously. It is slow, moody, and there is an effective jump scare in the first 20 minutes. However, around the halfway point it runs out of steam, and then the second half turns into a bizarre episode of Doctor Who. Complete with glowing red eyes, disembodied voices and… just… silliness. It feels as though you are watching two films, and while that may work for Tarantino, it is a bold move for an unestablished filmmaker. Especially when the first half struggles to hold your audience’s attention in the first place. The tonal inconsistencies just feel jarring and unearned. If the intention was for it to be funny, considering the seriousness of the first half it feels almost insulting.

Possibly the worst thing though, they never do explain why Ken is putting Pepto Bismol in his coffee.

Night’s End arrives on Shudder on March 31st

 

 

By Erika Bean

Blogger at screeningviolets.wordpress.com Occasional guest and host on the FILM & PODCAST. New cohost on Mondo Moviehouse. Likes arguing on the beach, long walks on the internet, intersectional feminism and neurodiversity.