Remember that one time when Netflix produced a great original movie?
Neither do I.
So with that being said, let’s talk about How It Ends! I’ll tell you right out of the gate that there were SOME things that I liked about this movie! Sadly those are very few and far between.
How It Ends is about Will Younger (Theo James) traveling west with his future father in law (Forest Whitaker) to find his pregnant fiancée in the midst of an unexplained and strange apocalypse. Believe it or not, that 28 word description was more interesting than the whole movie.
I’ll start with the good before I tear this thing apart. When the movie began, one of my first takeaways was how incredibly beautiful it looked. The panning shots of the city and landscapes looked great! After a few minutes had passed, I actually thought the movie was setting up potential for a thrilling plot, but then it progressively proved me wrong. My other positive for this movie (and honestly the only reason I watched it) was Forest Whitaker. Seriously, does anybody not love this guy? Even in some of the dumbest roles, I feel like he is always trying his absolute hardest (i.e. Taken 3). But back to the film, I also thought Theo James was decent enough in his role that required little to no acting beyond generic and cliche dialogue.
Moving into the bad, I think cliche is a good word to sum up this one. It felt like several predictable plot lines that we have all seen before. Within the first couple minutes, they have already introduced the audience to the, “I don’t like the guy that wants to marry my daughter, but I bet I will later,” cliche. So my main problem with the film would basically be that it was proposed as an original idea but that it follows every single detail that you have already seen a thousand times. However, I feel that this is a movie that requires an extra level of attention to detail in this review. I will now be digging into spoilers, but in reality, you weren’t going to watch this movie anyway. Even if you were going to watch this one, you can already tell how it ends based on trailers, descriptions, common sense, every apocalyptic movie that you’ve ever seen, etc.
Here is my official SPOILER WARNING!
Thank you for reading on! So Will is basically a character that is meant to be your privileged dude that never got his hands dirty and never spent any time around a gun, whereas his future father in law is a veteran that seems like a guy who has thought about his apocalypse preparedness plan plenty of times before.
Shortly after we see the cliche moment of the phone call cutting out on Will as he spoke to his fiancée, Will’s future father in law is already packed and ready to go hunting for his daughter. For those that don’t know, Will’s fiancée was in Seattle, while Will and his future father in law were in Chicago. So out on the road they go! When faced with trouble, we find that the future father in law can kill like it’s nobody’s business. SHOCKER! Then we see that Will, despite his previously established incompetence with a firearm, is shooting with decent accuracy and a full intent to kill (quite a sudden change, right?).
A little later, we meet another cliche character! Ricki immediately gives off the vibes of an angsty teen and she never really grows beyond that. The character had an odd introduction to what could have been an interesting story arc but it was never revisited in the rest of the film. Nonetheless, the movie continued and we saw that the future father in law had an injury which was progressively getting worse. Kinda weird how the injury didn’t bother him all that much until it was time for an emotional conversation.
Cue the obvious opportunity for more cliches. They have the obligatory, “I am glad you’re the man marrying my daughter,” conversation which really felt pathetic at this point. Nonetheless, our movie continues to get worse as the future father in law dies from his injuries that probably could’ve been all fixed up about an hour earlier in the film, but of course that would not have fit the cliche storytelling.
So onward our protagonist goes. Will enters Seattle and conveniently finds a sign left by Sam, telling him exactly where to go. Sounds like a safe idea during an apocalypse right? At this point in the film they have established that basically the only two people to make it out of the city were Sam and her psycho neighbor. Why did the neighbor have to be creepy and want to kill Will? I honestly could not even begin to formulate a legitimate answer for such a question. But of course, the show must go on despite my question.
The closing scenes of the movie show a cliche dialogue of Will telling his future wife that it will be okay as a giant cloud of dust and destruction chases them down the road, getting closer and closer. Then it’s over, in all of its cliche glory. We are left only with hope that such a monstrous apocalypse could finally put these ridiculous characters out of their misery.
Overall, this is definitely not a good one. It was a story that had potential for fun but it failed to overcome a poorly thought out plot. Unfortunately my only real compliment to this film is that... well... it's pretty!
I give 'How It Ends' a 3.1/10