Havens End Poster 1

Haven’s End (2019) Review

As Haven’s End begins, something bad is happening in Atlanta. Shootings, stabbings, even a truck bomb. Nobody knows what’s going on, terrorists, Armageddon, Trump supporters pissed about how the recount turned out, it could be anything. Despite the need for doctors, however, the hospital still won’t take trauma surgeon Alison (Catherine Taber, Star Wars: The Clone Wars) off suspension. We don’t know what she did, but it must have been impressive.

When the CDC is blown up and other cities across the globe are attacked, she, her boyfriend Derek (Anthony Nguyen, Supercon) and best friend Jessi (Megan Hayes) decide to get out of the city. She’s a doctor, he, of course, is a soldier, so they should be fine. Even more so since they can get help from their survivalist buddy Harry (Robert Pralgo, The Dark Red).

Unseen enemies attack Harry’s compound, Jessi takes a bullet. They flee to some property Alison’s family owns in the country. As it turns out her brother Kevin (Alex Zuko, The Atoning, Deimosimine) and his girlfriend Hannah (Hannah Fierman, Evil Little Things, Dead by Midnight (11pm Central)) are already there, which leads to Harry taking a shotgun blast to the chest.

Haven's End Building Explosion

Haven’s End is another film that tries to depict the end of the world on a pocket change budget. All we see of the destruction is some small and badly rendered CGI explosions off in the distance. Wisely, it doesn’t try to show their drive out of the city at all. And once the action moves out into the country, it stays there. We find out about civilization’s fate via a radio broadcast, no cheap CGI of a ruined city is needed.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much action, even the attack on Harry’s warehouse is simply them trading fire with unseen attackers. All we see are muzzle flashes in the distance, it’s not particularly exciting. I know the budget was tight, but even seeing a couple of them trying to get closer would have made the threat feel more real.

Once they get to their destination, the film takes another twist. Even before Harry’s death, there was bad blood between the siblings. She’s Ms. All American, and he’s a drug addict who’s been in and out of rehab. Their bickering leads to the pair leaving, only for Kevin to return rambling about “the lights”.

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At this point, we’ve moved into supernatural or maybe extraterrestrial territory. I was put in mind of cult filmmaker Bill Rebane’s Invasion from Inner Earth, where the invaders were simple points of light from a flashlight and odd sounds. Haven’s End at least uses CGI light, and fairly decent CGI at that, but it’s still rather disappointing.

Haven’s End does try to work up some atmosphere, but it keeps sidetracking itself on interpersonal conflict. Even after they see things that obviously aren’t normal, they would rather fight among themselves than deal with it. A seemingly intelligent light buzzing around their trailer, even what looks like a zombie attack, doesn’t seem to get through to them. They’d rather bitch about things that happened in their childhood or blame each other for whatever misfortune befalls them.

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And at the end of the film, I still don’t know what was going on. I think it’s meant to be something supernatural, but I have no idea what. Evil spirits? The End Times? Your guess is as good as mine.

It feels like director Chris Ethridge (Attack of the Morningside Monster) and writer Michael H. Harper didn’t know either. They also didn’t seem to know if they were making a drama or a thriller, and Haven’s End just keeps bouncing back and forth between the two genres. Unsurprisingly, it fails as both, with even the shock ending being anything but.

Haven’s End is available On Demand and on DVD from Mill Creek. You can check the film’s Facebook page and website for details.

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