The Endless (2017)

I have no idea what this film is.

Is it science fiction?  A fantasy?  A Lovecraftian horror film?  A mystery?  A supernatural thriller?  A waking dream?

I can’t tell you.  it could be any or all of them.  But whatever it is, you have to watch this one.

Now.  Right away.

This one is a classic slow-burn mystery that creeps up on you unseen and leaves something unsettling for you.

Years before, two brothers escaped from a UFO death cult, but now, the younger brother, Aaron, wants to go back, even though his brother Justin warns him that there was something very wrong about the place.

They get a strange videotaped message from one of their old friends which lures them back and Justin is rather surprised to find that nothing — and no one there — has changed.

As ever stranger things keep happening around them, Justin is more convinced than ever that something is seriously wrong.  But can he get his brother to leave?

Everyone is saying that this film is by the “acclaimed team of Moorhead and Benson”  — that is, Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson, who directed (from a script by Justin Benson) and star in the film.  I find that familiarity rather intriguing as this is only their third film together.  In just six years, they’ve made three hard to classify films which have the critics and even the audience raving, including the creepy relationship horror film Spring, about a man pursuing a girl who isn’t what she seems, and their first film, Resolution, in which a man tries to break his best friend of his drug habit, only to have everything go very, very wrong (the events of that film — as well as its main characters — are in fact connected to The Endless).  Both The Endless and Resolution debuted at the prestigious Tribeca film festival, which is rare for any genre film, even one which resolutely refuses to fit neatly into any genre.

While most of this one depends on the inexplicable events and the ever-deepening weirdness that Justin finds once he starts looking under the mere surface weirdness, the climax, with the brothers on the run from something truly monstrous, is stunning — as well as the sort of over-the-top finale you would never expect to find in a film like this.

Just amazing.  Only a few of the SF films I’ve seen this year have been this good — and most of those have come from outside the studio system.  It’s subtle and unnerving — and yet, at the same time, outrageous and right in your face.

And somehow it not merely holds together, but is stronger and more focused than most genre films.

As I said, you need to see this one.


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