Last week, I wrote about a highly anticipated sequel, well-known to horror fans (see The Strangers: Prey at Night). Today, I get to talk about one that was even more highly anticipated for me, personally. Not because it is tied to a cult-classic franchise, but because of the filmmakers responsible for creating it. Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead have made two films that I have enjoyed immensely for different reasons, so I could not be more excited to see their newest feature, The Endless. Were they able to make it three for three?
After receiving a mysterious package containing a video cassette tape, brothers Justin (Benson) and Aaron (Moorhead) decide to take a trip to a cult-like commune, which they escaped from a decade earlier. Aaron is looking for something he feels he’s been missing in the ‘real world,’ while Justin agrees to go back just to get his brother out of his latest slump. What they end up finding, however, is that they made the right decision, leaving the cult all of those years ago.
Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson truly are jacks of all trade. These guys write, direct, produce, are in charge of cinematography, and star in The Endless. While they had cameo appearances of some kind in their previous features, this one is different in that they are both the leading roles, creating the lost-in-life characters of Justin and Aaron (not autobiographical, by the way). Not only do they put themselves in all of these positions, but they do all of them extremely well, ensuring that their projects come out exactly as they have meticulously planned.
The Endless is, in essence, a sci-fi fantasy film about a cult who looks up to some sort of higher power, one that no one in the cult can actually explain or describe. They know it is there and they just accept that, living their lives until the ‘ascension’ arrives once again. As our protagonists spend more time back at the camp they dubbed a ‘UFO death cult’ years earlier to the press, they start to learn of the true nature of what exactly is going on out here, away from societal norms. As this occurs, the brothers react differently to the situation.
Innocent-minded Aaron who only has fond memories of growing up around people who accepted and loved him, wants to stay with his reunited friends, while older, more level-headed Justin wants nothing more than to gather their things and leave for good. He soon realizes that is easier said than done, however. Camp Arcadia lies within a time-loop. The people at the community, as well as other individuals within the camp’s vicinity, are all stuck in their own endless loop of existence, some longer than others, which can only begin again when the higher being allows it.
The Endless is not your typical horror sci-fi film. In fact, that is why I am such a big fan of Moorhead and Benson; they create films that have a large degree of creativity and originality, while not straying too far into obscurity. I absolutely loved their debut film, Resolution, and I adored their follow-up science fiction love story, Spring. If you also enjoyed either one of those films, you will have a good time with this one, as well. It features the same level of great acting, beautiful camera work, and innovative storytelling. Even better yet, this film exists in the same universe as Resolution. Fans of that film will recognize some key characters and perhaps get some answers they were left with back upon it’s original release in 2013.
If you are a fan of these guys, or just want to watch a film full of originality, give The Endless a watch. You can pick up a copy on Digital, Blu-ray, or DVD on Tuesday, June 26, from Well Go USA Entertainment.
I give this one 4 loop marker hoodoo fuckamajigs out of 5.