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By Night's End

USA 2020
produced by
Ryan Dennett-Smith, Gabrielle Pickle, Megan Messmer, Jason Winn, John William Roberts, Sean McCane, Jeff Ridgway (executive), Walker Whited (executive) for 3rd Shift Media, W² Media, New South Independent, Wild Winn Pictures, Yardline Films
directed by Walker Whited
starring Michelle Rose, Kurt Yue, Michael Aaron Milligan, Carlos Aviles, Matt LaBorde, Jeff Ridgway, Troy Faruk, Lucius Baston, Ryan Dennett-Smith, Stella Pileggi
story by Walker Whited, Sean McCane, screenplay by Walker Whited, music by Tyler Kitchens

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Heather (Michelle Rose) and Mark (Kurt Yue), a couple with issues of their own they need to work through, are one night woken up by an intruder (Carlos Aviles) - not something one wants to be awakened by, but when he pulls a gun, Heather, an ex-marine, pulls hers quicker and shoots him dead ... but not before the intruder has offered them $10,000 to just let him go. Heather wants to immediately call the police, but Mark figures if he offers them a hefty sum of money, he was probably looking for something hidden in the house that must be worth much more than that. So they agree to first search the house and then call the cops. Their search comes up with nothing - but they stumble upon another intruder, Moody (Michael Aaron Milligan), who's obviously looking for the same whatever-it-is, and he has brought a gang with him to turn Heather and Mark's house upside down, and the only reason they don't just storm the building is they don't want to attract any attention. So soon enough it's a cat-and-mouse game between Heather and Mark inside the house and Moody and gang outside, with each party trying to outsmart the other - but Moody and company are the more ruthless side of the game, as when a police officer (Jeff Ridgway) drops by following a call, they kill him silently with bow and arrow. And the longer the night goes, the more are Moody and friends losing their cool, while Heather uses military techniques to counter their attacks - so it's really more a game of perseverance than of brute force. But are tactics enough when you're outgunned?

 

By Night's End is basically a no-frills thriller that relies on pure craftmanship at least as much as on originality to work - and director Walker Whited seems to be well-versed in both as he really gets the most out of a plot that's somewhat skeletal and relies on a single premise, and puts all the shocks and suspense pieces in all the right places while keeping the film tense throughout. And being limited locationwise really works as a blessing for the movie, as it gives the film the semblance of being trapped, something that's also mirrored in the performances of the leads, who do a nice job carrying the film, ably supported by a suitably slimey Michael Aaron Milligan. Cool genre entertainment for sure.

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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