2020 is the most on-the-nose time to come out with a disaster movie, so director Kd Amond’s release of Five Women in the End is pretty serendipitous. The film takes place in Nashville, Tennessee, after a chemical attack on the city. However, this isn’t the typical scenario for a disaster film. Instead of focusing on the ins-and-outs of what’s happening outside too much, the film focuses on the reactions of five friends holed up in a luxury condo.
There’s Loren Atwood (Bailey Hyneman), a reporter for “Boss Bitch” magazine. There’s child-star and dog-mom, Jillian Olsen (Tiffany Montgomery). There’s the black lesbian drama queen, Stacy Beals (Nicole Lovince). There’s tomboy software engineer Frankie Giffin (Olivia Evans), and real-estate mogul/owner of the aforementioned luxury condo, Melissa Ruthers (Corri English). The five have been friends for quite some time and meet every other Thursday for “Girls Night In.” This particular Thursday starts out like every other time the women have spent together. There’s pizza, tequila, gossip, etc., and then a flashbang occurs, and the power goes out. More booming sounds happen. Nashville is being bombed.
The girls are then forced to stay inside the condo for the foreseeable future, except for Melissa, who ventures off with her on-again-off-again boyfriend Greg (Percy Bell) to have some end-of-the-world sex. He is a survivalist, so he has two gas masks, conveniently, for the two of them to abscond to a second location. The other women are stuck in the condo left to fend for themselves. As time goes by, secrets are revealed, tears are shed, but in the end, the friendship between the four women left in the condo is strengthened by this time spent together. Melissa reappears after helping the tenants in what turns out to be her high-rise condo, and the fivesome waits out the disaster until the rescuers come.
“…the film focuses on the reactions of five friends holed up in a luxury condo.”
While Five Women in the End could have stuck with one set in the condo, they also chose to have a radio host and producer there for the exposition of what happens in the disaster. PJ Weller (Michael Cudlitz) and Mags (Rachel Neiswanger) are there as our beacons of hope on the other end of the radio wavelength. We hear messages from the mayor, a religious fanatic preacher who wants to tell his daughter to get right with the Lord, and even Loren’s boyfriend, who calls in from Bulgaria, where he is an English teacher.
The script by Hyneman and Amond is great. There are plenty of pop-culture-references and goofy moments that you would expect at an adult slumber party. There are also moments of great pain and an underlying sense of unease, with there being a veritable warzone outside of the condo. All of these moments combine to make a movie that is unique in the disaster genre. Five Women in the End somewhat reminds me of Pontypool but mainly just because there’s a radio station and craziness going on in the outside world, that we don’t really see. This film is nowhere near as bleak as Pontypool, though. Also, to some people’s great dismay, I’m sure there are no zombies. Instead, the film gives the message that no matter what the circumstances, if you’re with people you love, those circumstances are easier to face than if you’re alone. It also emphasizes the importance of women’s friendships, which I definitely think needs to be shown more in film. Altogether, this is a winning comedy about a disaster that doesn’t need big-budget special effects to get its point across. I’m very excited for audiences to check it out.
"…There's pizza, tequila, gossip...then a flashbang occurs and the power goes out."