Rating: 5 out of 5 (Classic)
Synopsis: Brothers Justin (Justin Benson) and Aaron (Aaron Moorhead) receive a cryptic video from the ‘UFO death cult’ they escaped from 10 years ago. Intrigue entices the pair back to the community of Camp Arcadia and ensares them in a darker mystery.
The Endless deserves to be a classic lauded with wide recognition rather than the cult film it will likely become. I had not heard about The Endless until the film’s trailer swayed me to attend a Q&A screening. Directors Benson and Moorhead, who play The Endless’ protagonists, expressed surprise at the audience’s size after earlier films had only drawn crowds of 2 or more. Yet The Endless is a flawless thriller whose cosmic horror burrows into the viewer’s nerves and never relinquishes control.
H.P.Lovecraft’s tales, as John Carpenter touched upon in Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown, can fumble as a twist ending negates the horror of man versus the unknown. The Endless’ Lovecraftian roots show in a quotation from the writer, yet the film succeeds where Lovecraft failed. The Endless’ success comes from its relatable story of family and brotherhood, nostalgia and rebellion. The horror of The Endless while gripping and manifest is the supporting context for the tale. Who or what is around Camp Arcadia is drawn out through layers of sub-plots hiding secrets, red-herrings and teasers which open The Endless up to review and reinterpretation. Curiously director Aaron Moorhead said at the BFI Q&A that the film only had ‘two or three real mysteries’. Despite my prodding about the conclusion both directors upheld the film’s tantalising ambiguity. The presence shrouding the cult is made potent by the film’s budgetary constraints. Any major Hollywood production would tape everything together with CGI. In The Endless however circling crows, crude charcoal etchings and antiquated tapes denote something odder and more menacing than a green screen lurking around. Interestingly the recordings and images found in The Endless are more than clues, denoting the cat and mouse game between ‘it’ and the brothers as one watches and one searches for the other.
The plot, written by Justin Benson, scares initially and lingers long after its end through mystery, projection and minimal gore. The Endless becomes even creepier through Camp Arcadia’s inhabitants, whose oddness jars with their unbridled pleasantness. The plot’s progression, alongside Benson and Moorhead’s performance, creates a believable dynamic of siblings at loggerheads. The brilliant cast consists of crew members except for Callie Hernandez and Emily Montague who are established actors. The cast’s performance, combined with Benson’s deadpan comedy, exacerbates The Endless’ terror as reprieve turns to horror once again.
The Endless is showing in the U.K at certain cinemas and is available to rent on Itunes and YouTube. Though this is a film which rewards the finding of a screening at the cinema.
By Saul Shimmin
For the trailer, see below;