The Endless is a Sci-Fi Horror film that released in 2018 after a debut at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2017. It follows two brothers who receive a cryptic video message inspiring them to revisit the UFO death cult they escaped a decade earlier. The message talks of an upcoming “ascension”. Hoping to find closure, they return but everything may not be what it seems.
Justin and his younger brother Aaron were raised in a cult until one day, they decided to escape. When they did, it made all of the local newspapers. Justin revealed that the group were a bunch of castrated, UFO death cult weirdos. However, Aaron remembers things a little bit differently. It has been 10 years since they left and their lives aren’t going so great. They work as cleaners and well, that’s pretty much it.
One day, Aaron receives a mysterious tape talking about an upcoming ascension within the cult. He shows Justin who believes that they are simply planning some kind of mass suicide as cults usually do. Regardless, Aaron convinces Justin into going back for a day or two. When they arrive, everything is really friendly and welcoming. They meet all of the people whom they once knew before leaving. The group show no ill will towards the pair. In fact, Aaron begins to get close with a woman named Anna. Justin claims that Anna and the others must be over 40 years old by now even though they appear much younger.
Later, Aaron and Justin partake in some culty rituals that hint at supernatural goings on. However, Justin believes there is a rational explanation for everything they see. It soon becomes clear that the cult worship a higher being of sorts that resides in the region and has dominion over it. Slowly, Aaron begins to become indoctrinated by their beliefs. His life outside of the cult isn’t going very well so why leave? Justin feels otherwise until he begins to see some very strange things. Regardless, he decides to leave and Aaron chooses to stay. Justin becomes lost on a path and ends up at a mysterious cabin. When there he discovers a man who’s trapped in a time loop in which he constantly commits suicide.
The man explains that the being traps people in time loops for an unknown reason. You can never leave but the amount of the time the loop lasts is limited. Once it comes to an end, the entity murders them in horrific fashion and thus resets the loop. Therefore, he would rather end his own life and not allow it the pleasure of killing him over and over again.
Justin now knows that the cult do indeed plan on sacrificing themselves to the being at a specified time. He sets off on a quest to save his brother and escape the cult once and for all.
The Endless is a Sci-Fi horror that delivers a hell of a lot with limited resources. For one thing, the concept alone is fantastic. The two brothers are very likeable, they have a certain level of naivety that is endearing and understandable. Their dialogue is really humorous and well written. It has a practical feel to it which is a lot of fun. In fact, The Endless is surprisingly funny. You could accuse it of being a black comedy and I wouldn’t argue.
The Endless raises a lot of mind bending questions. Thankfully, the film isn’t too ambiguous with its answers. Still, it leaves just enough open for interpretation that it isn’t entirely transparent.
Another strong aspect of The Endless is the fascinating visuals.
While it may be strong in terms of Science Fiction, I found the horror elements to be extremely lacking. In fact, The Endless is much less suspenseful than it should be. Personally, one the biggest reasons for this are the brother’s nonchalant behaviour to the madness that surrounds them. They stroll around arguing as if the scenario isn’t as terrifying as it is. This happens at a point when they have both witnessed clear evidence that something supernatural is taking place. There is zero creep factor in the film when it could have been the complete opposite.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Endless. It’s proof that you don’t need a massive budget to make a quality film. The most important aspects are a narrative and its characters, The Endless delivers both and more. The premise is so strong that I felt disappointed it failed to be as scary as it had the potential to be. Others may feel differently but that’s just me.