An anxious shut-in moves into a haunted apartment, hiring a stranger to perform an exorcism which quickly takes a horrific turn.
Director Jennifer Reeder and screenwriter Brett Neveu bring us the Shudder Original Night’s End. Anxiety-ridden Ken is apartment-bound and attempting to get his life back on track. In doing so, he accidentally records a strange occurrence while filming his amateur YouTube videos. Things get weirder when he’s encouraged to pursue the building’s history and provoke whatever entity might be lurking in his domain. Night’s End is the perfect marriage of creepy and campy. Shudder audiences will love it.
Every single performance adds to the overall arc of Night’s End. Dark Corners host Daniel Kyrie, and Lyden Knight, played by Theo Germaine, give that YouTube clout appearance. Their distinct personalities up the anty for the finale. The camp enters the arena officially with the introduction of author Colin Albertson, played by Lawrence Grimm, a famous paranormal expert guiding Ken on his journey. Grimm, whose name evokes perfect casting, represents every talking head in any SyFy channel show. He will make you smirk with familiarity.
Comic relief comes in the form of Michael Shannon. Yes, Michael Shannon! He plays Isaac, Ken’s marital replacement. Donning Hawaiian shirts and giving us an honest-to-goodness stepdad goofiness, Shannon is effortlessly hilarious.
Felonious Munk is Ken’s best friend, Terry. He’s encouraging and genuinely interested in getting Ken well. Walker and Munk’s banter is essential to Jen’s backstory. Kate Arrington, as ex-wife Kelsey, is down-to-earth and loveable. The chemistry with Walker has a closeness that feels grounded. Keep in mind, every single interaction Ken experiences is through Zoom. Bravo to the editor Mike Olenik. Geno Walker plays Ken with a super natural (two words) energy. His paranoia is palpable as frustration and confusion pour off the screen. Walker is a commanding lead.
Night’s End uses horror tropes to tackle mental health uniquely. Fran Bittakis‘ set dressing, cleverly disguised in draped plastic, serves a dual purpose. The apartment appears amid repair, but it also allows for some ghostly apparition moments. Zoom works perfectly, considering Ken suffers from crippling anxiety and agoraphobia throughout the film. The significance hits home in the finale. The creepy factor will turn your knuckles white, even if the film’s climax begets an eye roll. Know what you’re going into with Night’s End, and you’ll undoubtedly have a good time. I still think there is sequel potential. That’s a character journey I want to explore.