22nd Aug2018

‘How It Ends’ Review (Netflix)

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Theo James, Kat Graham, Nancy Sorel, Nicole Ari Parker, Forest Whitaker, Anett Rumanoczky, Aaron Hughes, Lanie McAuley, Josh Cruddas, Aidan Ritchie | Written by Brooks McLaren | Directed by David M. Rosenthal

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How It Ends is in no vague terms an absolute bore of cinematic expression. It is two hours of drab, tiresome moments with sparse originality that I can only describe as torture. I’d even suggests the title itself a sick meta/ self-aware pun at the expense of its unaware audience. As you may have surmised, How It Ends is explicitly horrifying to endure.

Performances are monotone and one-note, leaving little to no development of engagement available to connect with the characters present. A strikingly bungled feature on the films part considering the impact needed to convey the terrifying scenario unfolding with the so-called tense atmosphere and lukewarm horror the characters must progress through, yet with insufficient character development that feels incredibly forced and flat, it ultimately affects the picture ten-fold with so little reciprocity of emotional investment between audience and character. All action sequences combined accumulate up to the immense number of one. A single action sequence in a film that proposes itself on the basis of an unexplained seismic event that has rocked the United States of America and put it at a standstill. However, you wouldn’t necessarily know that within the context of the film which is only highly suggestible when it wants to be. A thread which has an intelligent, disturbing and impactful tension built around it. Only to be significantly wasted and neglected within the first five minutes of the picture and ultimately flung into the audience’s eyes and ears in a bizarre and pedantic final five that is astonishingly out of place and contradicts so much of the development that has come before it.

In the lack of action or intrigue, you would surely hope the dramatic elements of the picture would be at least engaging and entertaining. They’re not. How It Ends has so much potential to craft an engaging narrative. It has animosity between characters that do have issues to solve, but it takes every single simple route out of the trouble only to arrive back at the start line, to begin and repeat over again. Forest Whitaker and Theo James are incredibly unsympathetic and engaging, both clearly don’t want to be there, not even contextually speaking, both curate characters that feel like a role and not an evolving persona on screen, therefore leading to such dismal returns when sparks begin to fly in heated moments of survival the film ever so rarely wants to incorporate.

Pacing is a consistent problem. A generous measure of hollow and benign subplots slowly suffocate the core narrative and the weight of the running time frankly cannot keep its head above the water. So much is compressed here, yet so little is actually worthy of the screen time. Scenes are regurgitated and replicated in a vast sum of alike scenarios in the various scenery the film boasts with efficient and well-crafted colour grading and cinematography of the mid-west. But on the topic of positives, that’s really about it, shockingly so. How It Ends is an overblown, tiresome mess of a film. It leads to somewhere it has no idea how to manoeuvre and quite frankly conquer what it is that it wants to say, otherwise the running time feels uneasily like wasted time on an idea that was never formulated properly and was scraping at originality from the start.

How It Ends is available on Netflix now.

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