The Endless (2017)

endl1Actors/writers/directors Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson return to the setting of their earlier sci-fi/horror jewel Resolution with another finely crafted tale that perhaps doesn’t really benefit from its larger budget/scale and cast as much as one would think. The strength, for me, of the earlier Resolution was its enforced small-scale; its intimacy and almost claustrophobic sense of remote horror. The Endless opens things up and widens the original’s perimeters and to me it loses something along the way.

Others, though, may have been frustrated by the limitations of Resolution and in particular its ending, and therefore will find The Endless a much more rewarding experience. Certainly there’s a bigger scope, and more ambitious visuals.

Two brothers, Justin and Aaron (played by the film-makers themselves albeit exchanging names) are escapees from a UFO doomsday cult out in the desert- ten years have passed and while Justin has adjusted to living in the ‘normal’ outside world, Aaron has his doubts and is missing his extended family of cultist friends. When a videotape arrives from the cult, seemingly stating that a fabled ‘Ascension’ has either happened or is imminent, Aaron convinces his brother that they should return to the cult just for one day. Hoping what they find will finally make Aaron realise they are better off well away from the cult, and achieve some sense of closure, Justin agrees.

endl2What they find back at the camp where the cultists live on the Indian reservation is at first bewildering, almost comforting (for Aaron at least) but there is, always, a sense of unease (particularly for the doubtful Justin) at the apparent idyll and hints of something being terribly wrong.

The return of Michael (Peter Cilella) and Chris (Vinny Curran) from the earlier film is a very welcome surprise, albeit rather bittersweet. I must confess I always felt a deeper emotional connection with these two compared to the two brothers Justin and Aaron, and the return of the protagonists from Resolution for me only intensified some of my issues with The Endless, but it was certainly very welcome (if disturbing) to learn of their fate after the closing moments of the earlier film.

At any rate, whilst I’m not at all convinced that The Endless was as satisfying as Resolution, it remains an impressive and satisfying low-budget sci-fi/horror with much to recommend it. Arrow’s Blu-ray release that currently (in a limited edition) contains both films is a great package not to be missed, with multiple commentary tracks on both films and various featurettes/interviews that I have yet to delve into.

3 thoughts on “The Endless (2017)

  1. Colour me intrigued. I’d been tempted to take a punt on Arrow’s Blu-ray, but they release so much stuff that tempts me to take a punt (not to mention the same from Indicator, Eureka, and so on) that this one lost out. If the two-film set is limited, though, maybe I’ll have to rethink sooner rather than later.

    1. Certainly worth it when you’re getting two for the price of one (and I’d actually argue the case for the first film to be better than the main attraction, as it were). Both films even get very substantial extras, although how much of a selling point that is when even I haven’t started through them yet may be a moot point. I know what you mean, though, regards Arrow releases. This one is the first I’ve bought since last years The Thing, which seems odd- will power maybe finally winning out (the pile of discs to watch is hardly going down thanks to Netflix, after all)..

  2. Pingback: Dog-lovers beware: Synchronic (2019) – the ghost of 82

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