How It Ends (dir. David M. Rosenthal, 2018) – After a mysterious event sends the world into chaos, two men set out on a desperate drive to find their missing family.
How It Ends itself is as much of a disappointment as how it actually ends.
An unsettling disruption cuts short a call between Will (Theo James) and his pregnant fiancé Sam (Kat Graham). Flights are soon cancelled, cell services down, and the power, out. As an apocalyptic event seems to edge closer, Sam’s father and ex-marine Tom (Forest Whitaker) wastes no time and sets out on a perilous drive with Will towards Seattle, where Sam was last seen.
The rescuers are on poor terms. But they soon reconcile in favour of survival, while coming to face the uncertainty of the unknown disaster ahead. Above all, they embattle the dangerous desperation of humanity, when ass hysteria quickly elevate thefts to murders.
In this, How It Ends steps into familiar territory, but does little more than its genre neighbours have done before. Competent visual effects and outstanding cinematography keep it from being labelled a b-grade disaster movie, though they remain inadequate to make any lasting impact.
After all, cinematic apocalypses are never as interesting as the characters who survive them. Sadly, neither Theo James nor Forest Whitaker carry the role of intrigue, their surly to-be in-laws remaining aloof for petty reasons and earning no pathos in their eventual predictable bond.
The midway entrance of Ricki (Grace Dove) introduced brief relief from the miserable men and their day-long scowls. Guilt corrupts her initial sense of adventure even in dire straits, her questions of morality making for more compelling material than Will and Tom’s familial drama, even as a trope.
Her fleeting stay that ended abruptly only emphasized the heavy tedium of the remaining minutes. During which, the road towards salvation continues to meander with no real destination in sight.
There is that nagging feeling that the story may have been made up along the way, with little more than a concept at hand. Eventually leaving behind a void with neither strong message nor emotional pay-off, How It Ends is hence with a barrage of frustration, discontent, and complete bafflement.