In a world ravaged by a deadly virus, “End Times” takes audiences on a dark and treacherous post-apocalyptic adventure.
Directed by Jim Towns, this American sci-fi zombie horror film offers a glimpse into a zombie-infested Los Angeles and the desperate struggle for survival faced by a mismatched duo.
While “End Times” showcases some notable strengths in its gritty atmosphere and character dynamics, it also falters at times, hindering the overall impact of the film.
One of the film’s greatest strengths lies in its ability to create a visceral and tension-filled atmosphere. From the opening scenes, the audience is immediately thrust into a haunting and desolate landscape, effectively capturing the grim reality of a world overrun by the undead. The set designs and cinematography contribute to the film’s eerie ambience, with dilapidated structures and abandoned streets painting a vivid picture of society’s collapse. This attention to detail immerses viewers in the characters’ struggle for survival and enhances the overall viewing experience. It certainly has the post-apocalyptic look and feels that gives you the sense that there is no structure or orderliness but a setting with chaos and destruction.
The performances in “End Times” also deserve recognition, particularly the dynamic between the two leads, portrayed by Jamie Bernadette and Craig Stark. They are in many ways the essence that holds this film together. Jamie Bernadette delivers a compelling performance as Claire, a privileged suburbanite ill-prepared for the horrors that await her. Her character’s growth throughout the narrative, guided by Craig Stark‘s portrayal of Freddie, a seasoned soldier, adds depth to their evolving relationship. The bond that forms between them, reminiscent of a father and daughter, brings an emotional element to the story, providing moments of vulnerability and resilience amidst the chaos.
Furthermore, the film showcases well-choreographed action sequences that highlight the dire consequences of survival in this bleak world. The encounters with brutal gangs and flesh-eating zombies add layers of tension and danger, ensuring that the characters’ journey is far from predictable. The violence is gritty and raw, evoking a sense of urgency and desperation as they battle both the living and the undead. As you would expect from a film of this kind, these action-oriented moments inject the film with bursts of adrenaline, keeping audiences on the edge of their seats.
However, “End Times” is not without its flaws. One area that detracts from the overall impact of the film is its pacing. At times, the narrative meanders, particularly in the first hour, where aimless wandering takes precedence over advancing the plot. This excessive focus on exploration without significant narrative development can leave viewers impatient and disengaged. Additionally, some scenes with the feel repetitive and fail to contribute substantially to the story’s progression.
These pacing issues detract from the film’s potential impact, diluting the sense of urgency and momentum established in its strongest moments.
Furthermore, the film struggles to fully explore and develop its thematic elements. It tries to be ‘woke’ and fails woefully at giving enough clarity to the subjects it attempts to tackle. While it touches on themes of survival, sacrifice, and the resilience of the human spirit, they remain undercooked and fail to reach their full potential.
For example, the attempt to delve into the concept of women’s agency in this new world through Claire’s experiences with sexual violence and her subsequent conflicts with the cult feels half-formed. The film briefly touches upon these themes but fails to provide a nuanced exploration, leaving them as mere subtext rather than integral components of the narrative.
Overall, “End Times” presents a gritty and atmospheric post-apocalyptic journey that captures the harrowing struggles faced by its protagonists. With immersive visuals, strong performances, and intense action sequences, the film manages to engage viewers in its dark and treacherous world.
I would score this film 6/10.
While far from perfect, “End Times” serves as a reminder of the enduring appeal of the post-apocalyptic genre and the creativity independent filmmakers bring to it.
Despite its flaws, the film delivers an entertaining experience for fans of the genre, leaving them with a mix of excitement and a desire for a more finely-tuned narrative.