NIGHT'S END Alternate Poster | ©2022 Shudder

NIGHT’S END Alternate Poster | ©2022 Shudder

Rating: Not Rated
Stars: Geno Walker, Felonious Munk, Kate Arrington, Michael Shannon, Lawrence Grimm, Daniel Kyri, Theo Germaine, Morgan S. Reesh
Writer: Brett Neveu
Director: Jennifer Reeder
Distributor: Shudder
Release Date: March 31, 2022 (Shudder)

NIGHT’S END is an oddly generic title for a mostly solid entry into the video chat horror subgenre. Like UNFRIENDED and HOST, NIGHT’S END takes place mostly on laptop screens, although the camera does follow our protagonist Ken Barber (Geno Walker) around his apartment.

And what an apartment it is. Even before things start going thump in the night, the place is a little creepy. Ben is agoraphobic and can’t bring himself to go outside. He has plastic sheeting hung up in the doorways, and newspaper pages pasted over the windows. Ben is also into taxidermy, specializing in birds.

Despite all this, we soon realize that Ben is more to be pitied than shunned. He makes little videos on various topics (parenting, trash collection), while trying to psych himself up into some kind of forward momentum.

Ben’s supportive friend Terry (Felonious Munk) is paying more attention to the online response to the videos than Ben is himself. Turns out that one video has gotten extra views – because something falls off a shelf behind Ben in a way that suggests it’s been pushed by an unseen force.

Soon Ben, Terry, Terry’s ex-wife Kelsey (Kate Arrington), and her new husband Isaac (Michael Shannon) are all investigating the possibilities of the supernatural. After a few more incidents that scare the hell out of Ben (and the audience), he’s persuaded that the apartment is indeed haunted, and reaches out online for help with an exorcism.

Director Jennifer Reeder provides what we expect but don’t always get from horror: a genuinely frightening experience. There’s at least one major jump scare, and plenty of menace throughout.

NIGHT'S END Poster | ©2022 Shudder

NIGHT’S END Poster | ©2022 Shudder

Writer Brent Neveu crafts a credible situation, with a sympathetic central character. Walker makes us really feel for the sad, stymied Ben, giving us a palpable sense of depression. Munk is solid as Terry, Arrington and Shannon seem to be having fun as the enthusiastic couple, and Theo Germaine scores as the one character finally asking the right questions.

Scenarist Neveu also gives a sly commentary on the pitfalls of relying too much on online personalities, who at best may not know what they’re talking about, and at worst …

This leads to a weakness of NIGHT’S END. The movie was clearly made on a tight budget, which is not a problem with most of its aspects. However, some of the visual effects, along with one performance, inject more humor than seems intended. The result is that NIGHT’S END somewhat pulls its climactic punch.

This said, for viewers wanting at least one good yelp if not more, NIGHT’S END delivers.

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