Hours before a meteor is due to decimate all life on Earth, Liza (Zoe Lister-Jones) crosses a deserted LA alongside an unusual sidekick: a younger version of herself (Cailee Spaeny). With a farewell party scheduled for the evening, Liza’s day is spent on a quest to untangle emotional knots before the world is over, her final wish to die free of some of the many burdens that heavily weigh on her shoulders.

Conceived during the COVID-19 pandemic, How It Ends highly benefits from the apocalyptic feel of lockdown Los Angeles – its streets eerily quiet – but it does little else with the context in which it was made. An exercise of artistic creativity in confinement, the project sees Lister-Jones calling favours and enlisting some of her notorious colleagues in a succession of quirky cameos, from New Girl co-star Lamorne Morris to heavyweights such as Fred Armisen, Bradley Whitford and Helen Hunt. 

Feeling much longer than its running time of 82 minutes, the film struggles to find its pace, often too preoccupied with offering a shiny display to big names instead of nurturing the plot – one that ultimately fails to sustain a feature. There is only so much that can be harnessed from the expectation built around who is going to be waiting around the next corner and, after the fifth or sixth star, its gratuity becomes tiresome. 

How It Ends might have succeeded if conceived as a short, its undeniable charm tightened instead of dragged. Unfortunately, there’s little else to gain apart from its ability to preserve what filmmaking looked like under the restrictions brought by the pandemic. Sure, there is joy to be had in watching Glenn Howerton’s amped-up creepiness as a lurking stalker and Olivia Wilde eating an entire cake in her garden, but, sadly, there is little else.



CAST: Zoe Lister-Jones, Cailee Spaeny, Charlie Day, Nick Kroll, Logan Marshall-Green, Bradley Whitford

DIRECTOR: Zoe Lister-Jones, Daryl Wein

WRITERS: Zoe Lister-Jones, Daryl Wein

SYNOPSIS: On the last day on Earth, one woman goes on a journey through LA to make it to her last party before the world ends, running into an eclectic cast of characters along the way.