The Endless

Just 24 hours ago I was delighted to be at the Canadian Premiere of The Endless, the 3rd film from Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead who back in 2012 endeared themselves to us greatly with Resolution.  Hype was at extraordinary levels for The Endless, and I am ecstatic to report that this film both builds upon and actually improves their earlier work.  The Endless tells the story of two young UFO death cult survivors who struggle to retain their identities in the modern world and are brought back into the darkness of their past by a mysterious recording.  The duo are forced to plumb Lovecraftian depths.

There was a point halfway through The Endless, where some built up tension was dissipated and I was forced to consider for the first time: what kind of movie is this?  I was reminded of Resolution‘s schizophrenic nature: heartfelt and touching while self aware, with horror and human drama blended without losing their identities.  In both these films Benson and Moorhead juggle genres.  This movie weaves mostly successfully between character drama, psychological horror and then otherworldly horror in a way that mirrors and darkens Resolution.  Astonishing, in a way.

This is heady stuff for a low budget backyard film, but by playing it straight and by taking the subject and the audience seriously they retain some gravity in what might have become comedic horror.  High concept sci-fi/horror also tends towards an inherent danger of overexposition but this is mostly avoided.  Ultimately it’s Lovecraftian in a modernized In The Mouth of Madness or maybe The Ring sort of way, part of a new wave of horror which merge technological and supernatural elements.

This is the magic sauce, the ambitious, earnest filmmaking that shows that low budget indie films can still be effective, thoughtful films.  I’m thrilled for Benson and Moorhead and eager for what comes next.  Catch Resolution first, if you can.