In Review: The Endless
Directors: Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead
Considering its impressively high score on a well known aggregator site, it’s surprising that The Endless has been described as an underrated cult film about cults. It’s rated, and rated strongly.
The film kicks off with two brothers, Aaron and Justin (both played by the directors), who receive a mysterious video message from a cult they once belonged to. They decide, due to unhappiness in their new life, to go and find out if the cult may have actually had something to offer. The set up is without doubt an intriguing idea and one that gives enough to keep us locked into the film for the first third.
Then things start getting strange. When the pair reach Camp Arcadia, they experience a big rope dangling from the sky with which the camp play tug of war, a man committing suicide and then entering the room where his corpse hangs and a lot of people stuck in exasperating time loops. By committing to these beguiling scenes, Benson and Moorhead have outdone themselves in creating an oddity that punches above the weight of its low budget.
Since its release, the directors have been keen to point out that they don’t adhere to genre expectations. It’s a method that has gained wider currency in recent years and, for young, up-and-coming directors, it makes sense to try and put their mark on the industry in this way. However, doing this also means they run the risk of the film becoming muddled. The Endless teeters on the edge of this fine line as the thriller/sci-fi/drama/comedy/horror mash up romps towards its climax.
It’s an audacious film that, regardless of whether it completely works as a whole, surely makes these collaborators worth looking out for. TS