Movie review and summary of Night’s End (2022)
One day, Terry notices that in one of Ken’s videos, a bird that was one of his subjects as an amateur taxidermist fell off the shelf he was resting on in the background for no apparent reason, and jokes saying he may have been knocked down by a ghost. Ken ignores this at first, but when strange things start happening – bloody noses, strange noises, etc. – and he learns that the building was the scene of a macabre crime a century earlier. Ken becomes increasingly convinced that his house is indeed haunted. Spurred on by this discovery, encouragement from Terry’s new husband Kelsey and Kelsey (Michael Shannon) and, perhaps most importantly, the rise in online views of his ghost-related videos, Ken comes into contact with two authorities on the subject – an occultist (Lawrence Grimm) with additional information about what happened in the building long ago, and a more successful YouTube paranormal investigator (Daniel Kyri) – and they decide to perform a ritual of online exorcism that will be streamed live for all to watch. As you can probably guess, it’s not going particularly well.
‘Night’s End’ was directed by Jennifer Reeder, whose previous film was ‘Knives and Skin,’ a surreal mystery thriller in which the disappearance of a teenage girl has inspired both intrigue and annoyance among the fellow residents of her rural town. of the Midwest. I didn’t think it was a particularly good film – it leaned a bit too much on David Lynch weirdness at times for my taste – but Reeder handled it with enough skill and style that one is interested in what she could accomplish with the benefit of a stronger script. I suspect most “Night’s End” viewers will feel something similar. Most of its issues can be traced back to Brett Neveu’s screenplay, which begins with an interesting exploration of its troubled central character, but becomes increasingly hokey and derivative once the paranormal takes center stage. “Night’s End” becomes an orgy of stupid “Boo!” moments, culminating in an online finale that isn’t as scary as the typical reunion held online.
Performance is all over the map. On the one hand, Walker does a good job of establishing Ken as a character who, despite his insistence that he’s fine, already seems to be a step or two away from another complete meltdown before things even ghostly do begin. On the other hand, Grimm plays his supernatural expert so broadly that he makes the Reverend Kane character that the late Julian Beck played in “Poltergeist II: The Other Side” seem restrained and cuddly in comparison. The rest of the small cast performers don’t have much to do but appear on Zoom calls and dish out heaps of backstory, though Shannon at least seems to be having fun during her brief appearances.
You and I have seen far worse supernatural thrillers than “Night’s End,” but we’ve also seen far better ones. Even at a relatively brief 81 minutes, it meanders a lot and could have been more effective if it had been tightened up and redesigned like an episode of an anthology movie or TV series. That said, Reeder still shows herself to be an up-and-coming filmmaker, if not still a particularly good judge of the material.
Play now on Shudder.