Donnie Darko meets Lost. The Endless – movie review

  • This review will feature some spoilers in the paragraph THE ENDLESS – EXPLAINED

Endless 1.jpgThe Endless is a Sci-fi/mystery/horror movie written and directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, who also play the lead roles in the film: they play Justin and Aaron, two brothers who, a few years prior to the events we follow, escaped what they believed to be an insane cult (the Arcadia Camp). However, upon receiving a tape showing the cult members living great and peaceful lives, Aaron asks his brother to go there just for a couple of days, to get some closure.

Once the two guys are there, they discover that the so-called cult isn’t the only awkward thing that’s going on in the area.

Let me start off by saying that there were two main reasons why I felt compelled to watch this movie: first, Arrow (my favourite distribution company) released The Endless on Blu-Ray the same day it came out in American theatres. Arrow release modern movies only when they’re highly controversial or, at least, very interesting and different.

Furthermore, on a list of the best horror movies of 2018 so far, created by RottenTomatoes, The Endless takes the top spot, with more critic appreciation than, for instance, A Quiet Place and Hereditary.

Indeed, had I been forced to use only two adjectives to describe this film, I would say it’s weird and intriguing.

I suggest you go into The Endless completely blind, therefore you should read this review up to the EXPLAINED paragraph, because at that point I’ll start getting into spoilers.

Endless 2.jpgAs I just said, this film is weird. Almost made on a no-budget, the look and feel is extremely awkward, as though the movie was shot on a VHS and then transferred to digital in the early 00s. The balance between moments with no music whatsoever and great but brief instants of futuristic tracks is striking and hardly unnoticeable.

For a movie filled with many characters, all the performances in The Endless are top-notch: Justin and Aaron, who take much of the screen time, steal the show without overshadowing the other characters.

This film builds-up an intriguing mystery that, the more you delve into the story the more it captivates you and makes you feel uneasy. This is a very unconventional combination between horror and Sci-fi (a la Donnie Darko and the first season of Lost), where the horrific elements are more implied than shown and a sense of threat is hanging throughout… there are a couple of jump-scares that are as effective as they, though, are unnecessary.

Continue reading below…


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I should mention that the aspect I like the most about The Endless lies in its continuous raising questions, which makes the viewer want to read about the film to know and understand more.

My biggest issues revolve around two aspects: for one, the initial motivation of Aaron and Justin is weak and rather silly. Why would you want to get closure on a cult you escape from and that might just as well be filled with dangerous psychos? I get curiosity is a strong tool, but it’s unlikely to risk your life just to get a few answers! Also, from a technical standpoint, the ending uses very cheap CGI, which seems to be taken from a 2002 computer programme and already doesn’t hold up.

With all that said, I’d strongly recommend The Endless to people who seek for unconventional and mind-boggling horror/Sci-fi films.

The Endless                          7.5/10

THE ENDLESS – EXPLAINED

(SPOILERS FROM NOW ON!!)

The deal with The Endless is that the area in which the Arcadia Camp is set is doomed by continuous time loops: some last years, some months, some hours and some only a few seconds. People are trapped there – not only the guys who live in the Arcadia Camp, but also other unfortunate souls who ended up there by accident.

Endless 3.jpgAll of that happens because a supernatural and apparently omnipotent being traps people there and decides how long their loop lasts for. The Arcadia Camp people, unlike the others, think that it is a blessing and worship that thing as it was a God. They think being stuck in an endless loop gives them the opportunity to improve skills and live a peaceful life that, though it constantly repeats itself, is also devoid of risks and perils.

Basically, the dilemma the movie wants to arise is, in case you could choose between an already-decided future and an uncertain one, which one would you pick?

Personally, I also found this film to have a strong anti-religious message in the fact that this ‘God’ is basically evil: regardless how much love and faith you show, you’re going to suffer a painful death and restart the loop; it doesn’t matter how miserable your life is, you’re going to live it over and over again.

Ultimately, I believe The Endless could be given different interpretations, so what’s your take on its meaning? Let me know in the comments. Cheers!

 

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