25th Jun2018

‘The Endless’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, Callie Hernandez, Vinny Curran, Peter Cilella, James Jordan  | Written and Directed by Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead

TheEndless_UK_QUAD

Spring was one of my favourite horror movies of 2015. Mixing Lovecraftian horror with the strangest of love stories and creating an emotional, original and beautiful genre film. Directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead now return with The Endless.

Like Spring before it, The Endless is a truly unique movie. Two brothers, Justin and Aaron (played by the directors) return to a cult that they both fled from ten years previous. The writing is good enough that this doesn’t seem as stupid an idea as it might. The brothers haven’t had exactly the greatest of lives since leaving the cult and Aaron in particular wants to see what the cult is like now he is an adult. Justin is less sure but hopes his brother will find some kind of closure by visiting and therefore goes along with him. Once there things become even stranger than they or the viewer were expecting.

Although they are very different movies, there are plenty of comparisons to be made between Spring and The Endless. Much like their previous film, this is not an obvious horror movie but it produces enough moments of tension, the odd scare and a real sense of unease throughout. This creepy uneasiness begins when we get to the cults site and never leaves. Expertly helped by the original score from Jimmy Lavalle (who also worked on Spring). It’s subtle but always there and one of the scariest things in the movie. The script is well written and keeps the viewer wondering what exactly is going to happen next. And even when everything starts to unfold, you wont be sure where it’s heading but you’ll always be intrigued by it. The more you find out, the more interesting The Endless becomes and the more confusing, in the most enjoyable way. The viewer is left feeling like you just about understood everything but still have a million questions to ask about it, desperately leaving you wanting to know more.

Directors putting themselves in lead roles doesn’t always sound like a good idea but both Benson and Moorhead are great in their roles. Although not brothers in real life, it’s easy to assume they are close and it shows in the on screen chemistry. Their performances are very natural, the back and forths feel very real and the disagreements are just as believable. You really feel a close connection and affection for the brothers by the time the films end credits roll. To be fair the rest of the cast are on the same level and performances from everyone are very good. There’s a scene between Aaron and Anna (Callie Hernandez) that just feels so natural that it doesn’t even feel like you’re watching a movie, more like watching two friends chat. Other highlights include Vinny Curran and Peter Cilella as friends Chris and Michael, roles that are not as big as I’d like to see because they are great together and have an interesting off shoot to the main story. James Jordan is also really great as the fantastically named ‘Shitty Carl’. The most over the top character in the movie but the one that works really well due to his performance.

It almost feels like Moorhead and Benson have ideas above their station… but I don’t mean this in a bad way at all! They are making the films they want to make, even if the budget is limiting. They have fantastic and beautifully bizarre ideas which they combine with good acting to bring it all to life. Sometimes that’s all you need. Full of tension, a terrifying sense of unease and true originality, The Endless is another brilliant movie from the directing duo.

***** 5/5

The Endless is released in UK cinemas and on Digital on June 29th.

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