film

Review: The Endless

13 March 2018

Whilst promising Lovecraftian horror, artful suspense, UFO cults, and people who appear to not have aged since the 1970s, The Endless is a painful let-down for the lover of smart, indie horror films. All five user reviews on IMDB for The Endless are positive, hailing it as “a rather amazing film” or “a defining film of 2017”however, I disagree. This film has badly-written dialogue and should be punished accordingly.

Written, directed, and starring Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, The Endless follows two brothers (Benson and Moorhead) who are ex-members of a “UFO death cult”/religion/Big Happy Family (they spend an awful lot of time debating the ‘cult’ label). They receive a cryptic message from the cult members via a tape recording (~nostalgia~) in the mail, which inspires the younger brother Aaron to exert an unreasonable amount of effort convincing Justin they should go *back* to the UFO death cult. Upon arrival they’re confronted with strange phenomena, which somehow still does not take precedence over the developing childish tension between the two brothers. With relatively little suspense or horror for a “horror” film, The Endless finally ends unsatisfactorily, with a blandly sentimental message about brotherhood splattered all over it.

While ultimately a fascinating premise with worthwhile sci-fi elements, it’s hard to focus when the protagonists (and every other character) are dull, bland, and entirely two-dimensional. It is also PAINFULLY male-centric, and I do not say this lightly—there were literally three female characters in the entire film who spoke more than one sentence. Even then, they might as well have all been amalgamated into one, and in doing so the writers may have even come close to creating a vaguely interesting, multi-dimensional female character.

Admittedly it is an aesthetically pleasing film, impressively so for its budget—the film’s dialogue is its biggest and most obvious shortfall. Sure, perhaps I’m expecting a lot from a horror movie—but when a film is relying so heavily on building suspense and mystery for the first half hour, you can’t afford to waste that time on tiring exposition. The few moments where we catch a fascinating glimpse into the supernatural and/or alien forces at work are almost worth the 1 hr 51 minutes running time + your travel time to/from the cinema, but here’s my suggestion—venture only on Cheaper Tuesdays, or $7 Mondays at Cinema Nova.

 

The reviewer does quietly note that they fell asleep for a brief period in the middle of the film. This, however, appears to have no effect on their comprehension of the film – take from that what you will. The Endless is currently playing at Cinema Nova. 


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