Released: 31st March, 2022 on SHUDDER
Starring: Geno Walker, Felonius Munk, Kate Arrington, Michael Shannon
Director: Jennifer Reeder
Writer: Brett Neveu
Ken Barber has just moved into a new apartment. He lives with anxiety and agoraphobia so his only social interactions are via FaceTime with his ex-wife Kelsey and best friend Terry. Currently jobless, Ken decides to create his own YouTube channel offering advice on different topics hoping that eventually it will gain him an income, but with his latest video only having 10 views that's probably going to take him a while.
During one of his FaceTime chats, Terry points out that something falls in the background of his latest video. It's one of Ken's taxidermy birds. This leads into a whole thing that maybe his place is haunted and he should find out if anyone died in the apartment. He buys a book online about spirits and makes himself a spirit jar with a mishmash of symbols from the book and from a site his friend sent him too. What could possibly go wrong?! He reads the incantation, which is naturally in Latin, and we have bright lights, flickering screens, screaming and Ken falls out of his chair. As Terry asks him what happened and if he's ok, Ken has no idea what he's talking about.
Ken gains more of a following as he continues to post about his haunted apartment which gets the attention of Colin Albertson, the author of the book he bought, and a popular online ghost-hunting show Dark Corners.
Ok so I have some thoughts..
Night's End has an interesting premise I could get behind. I found the main character relatable because I live alone, I have severe social anxiety and I too love food that can be cooked in under 3 minutes. I also had super weird unexplainable things happen in the last house I was in. This movie just couldn't decide which sub-genre it wanted to be.
It starts off all sombre and delivers a desolate environment. Ken's apartment is dark and lacks personality, it's creepy without much effort involved. He's taped newspaper articles to his windows and the doorways have sheets of plastic hanging from them. At first I figured he's renovating but there's no explanation for them. They're just hanging there. His kitchen emphasises his loneliness with the cupboards only holding canned soup. Though to be fair, canned soup is pretty good. What this movie never plays on is Ken's anxiety levels. He actually deals with this whole ghost situation incredibly well whereas anyone with anxiety could tell you the slightest thing turns you into a paranoid insomniac. Every little noise has you jumping out of your skin and banging on your door has you hiding like you don't live there. It's a shame the writers didn't have Ken on the internet trying to find information on who lived in the house before him. It's 2022 so it's pretty easy to get information now, especially for shut-in's who can't leave the house to find a library. We have plenty of movies around these days dealing with computers or zoom calls, they could have included at least a few minutes of him searching through websites and finding out any grisly details on his own. In fact, this is one thing that makes the ending so irritating.
The ending killed the movie for me for a few reasons. The entire mood of the film changes. It's like the director suddenly decided they wanted this to be a horror-comedy because this has some of the worst acting I've ever seen, but in front of the right eyes it would seem amusing. Another reason being that Ken just takes everyone's word on everything. He doesn't take any initiative to find things out on his own and considering he's at home all day/every day and doesn't work, just what exactly is he doing with his day? On top of that, all of this is appearing on a show called Dark Corners and apparently the host doesn't do any investigating himself to verify anything. This is the very definition of clout chasing - Millennials being popular for doing the bare minimum. Lastly, the ending overall was an interesting idea but it felt rushed and I know horror is generally far-fetched but sometimes it helps if it feels a little plausible. We've seen similar endings with The Invitation and Halloween: Season Of The Witch but whereas it's logical that an entire nation that bought Silver Shamrock masks are at home watching their televisions for the big giveaway, is it really believable that everyone is at home watching a YouTube channel?