End Game (2009) – By Tiffany Apan

One genre that I’ve always enjoyed was the film noir genre. While those films can sometimes be classified in with the horror, suspense, thriller, and sometimes even drama genres they, to me, are a genre separate from the pack. This is basically how I would describe Bruce Koehler’s “End Game.” After I watched this film, I almost had to take time to really think about how I wanted to describe the film. After watching it a second time, I came to the conclusion that this film is basically a sort of modern day film noir.

“End Game” tells the story of a vicious and highly sadistic serial killer named Brad Mayfield (portrayed by WCW and WWF wrestling star, Kurt Angle). Mayfield is being pursued by Officer Dan Burk (Eric Wright). We followed Mayfield, Burk, and a young woman by the name of Carol (Jenna Morasca) with whom Burk become involved with romantically. Carol has become Mayfield’s next victim and the plot unravels as a race against time for Officer Burk to capture Mayfield before the criminal succeeds in completing his latest venture in sadism and bloodlust.

According to IMDb and some other online sources, “End Game” was Koehler’s first venture into directing. The film has its positive and negative points. While the film has a solid story and solid characters, the execution of it falls a little flat at times. There are some strong actors in this film and Kurt Angle doesn’t do all that shabby for what appears to be one of his first acting roles. In fact, one can even applaud him for taking on a more challenging role instead of the typical “wrestler/action hero” role. The production team made excellent use of locations and some camera angles. There are times when (as I stated above) the film almost is reminiscent of the old film noir genre of the 1940s. The twists and turns in the plot can also be a reminder of an old Hitchcock film. The movie also isn’t lacking in it’s share of colorful characters either.

When it comes down to it, I didn’t hate the film. In fact, I would say that it was enjoyable. I just felt that it could have used a little more polishing in some areas. Koehler has gone onto direct other films since “End Game.” One of these being the supernatural horror film “19 Doors” (2011) which I reviewed a month or so ago and really enjoyed. In “19 Doors,” Koehler demonstrated a significant amount of growth as a director and I do recommend keeping an eye on his work as his resume builds. I do recommend giving “End Game” a chance if you are a fan of the film noir genre.

Find out more about End Game and Koehler’s other works at IMDb http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1355260 and at the North Shore Pictures website http://www.northshore-pictures.com. You can also find “End Game,” “19 Doors,” and some of Koehler’s other releases at Family Video and Amazon.