28 June 2018

ARROW FILMS PRESENTS: THE ENDLESS. (2017) A MIND-BENDING SCI-FI HORROR FILM REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS.




THE ENDLESS. (2017) WRITTEN, DIRECTED BY AND STARRING JUSTIN BENSON AND AARON MOORHEAD.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

IN UK CINEMAS AND DIGITAL HD 29TH JUNE 2018!

'Don't stay here...'

'Recovery from a cult's mind control is a lifelong process.'

'You wanna know what it is that runs all this? You go and find it.'

'I just want to say goodbye, get some closure. They were our family.'

'We've been stuck in this continuous loop and we're trying to do different things to break out of it.'

'I would rather reset things on my own terms than let that FUCKER do it for me.'

'There IS something out here, isn't there? We can't go back to our shitty lives knowing that there really IS something out here.'

I loved this science fiction horror film about a couple of brothers who decide to revisit the cult they'd previously torn themselves away from. Yeah, mad, right? Let me explain. Justin and Aaron are two cute American brothers in their late twenties or early thirties, one beardy and one clean-shaven.

When the two lads were kids, they were apparently pulled out of a burning car in the desert by members of a cult who, for some reason, were allowed to keep the kids and raise them as their own, as wee little culties. Their Mum seems to have perished in the car fire and there's a roadside memorial to her on the dusty road near where the camp is.

The older brother Justin, the beardy brother, managed to get them both out of the cult and so, for ten years now, the pair of them have been living post-cult lives. So they should be happy, right? Sadly, they are not. They've no family except each other, they've no jobs, no girlfriends and no roots. Nothing seems to be working out for them. They are utterly directionless. They belong nowhere.

When a rather strange videotape featuring cult members they've known in the past is mailed to the pair inviting them to an event known as 'The Ascension,' Aaron, the younger brother, the non-beardy brother, decides that he wants to go back and pay the cult a visit. He misses them. He has good memories of them, of 'bonfires and family time and good food.'

Justin is not keen, but in the end, Aaron gets his way. 'One day, one night, we come straight back, okay?' Justin tells his excited younger sibling. Famous last words, eh? They duly head on over to Camp Arcadia and reconnect with culties old and new.

Hal the leader, but he doesn't like to be called that 'cause it elevates him above the others, is a lovely laid-back chap who wears cardigans and does equations for fun. Trying to work out if there's actually a God, lol. I really liked Hal, even though he's a mad cult leader. He'd make a good boyfriend. The quiet reliable type. I like that in a bloke.

Dave smiles a lot, and that's not freaky at all. Anna is a beautiful brunette and a fashion designer who remembers the floppy-haired, gentle Aaron of old and has a soft spot for him. Shane is a musician and Anna's platonic friend. There's some question mark over whether or not the culties can have sex, of which a tiny bit more later. 

Weird though, innit? If I were in a cult, I'd expect to be having sex twenty-four-seven with the more attractive male cult members or I'd jolly well want to know the reason why, lol. I know my rights. I wouldn't join any mad cult which didn't encourage multiple sex partners after a hard day of picking lima beans in the shape of the leader...! I'd want that written into my contract, humph.

Lizzie is a talented artist who joined the cult after wandering away from a nearby loony bin, meeting Hal and deciding that the cult was a nicer, safer better place than the asylum. The asylum must have been very laid-back about their inmates taking an unscheduled day out, I must say. Tsk tsk to them, letting their loonies wander around the countryside willy-nilly in such a lax fashion. They could have met God-knows-who on those solitary desert roads.

Camp Arcadia is certainly good for personal development, anyway, as nearly everyone there seems to be multi-talented and each member is allowed the time and space to practise their own
art or craft. I'm starting to really like the sound of this camp...! It sounds so nurturing of the arts and the individual who practises them. I honestly can't remember the last time anyone nurtured my talent, grumble grumble.

The culties haven't forgotten all the negative press they received when the brothers left the cult so dramatically and bad-mouthed the cult horribly to the press. Yeah, calling them a Death/Suicide Cult made up of castrated sexless eunuchs who refer to death as 'The Ascension.' Unflattering stuff like that. The kind of stuff that you'd be really pissed off about if it was your cult they were talking about.

The culties seem to be willing to forgive and forget past sins though, and they welcome the lads back with- mostly- open arms and big plates of home-grown green vegetables. Um, yummers, right guys? Tuck in. This is some prime quality, um, roots and grass and stuff. Nom nom nom. Delicious.

Of course, this is a sci-fi-slash-horror film so naturally, some really strange stuff is going to have to happen. Like, what does it mean when you see two moons, and no, it's not the brothers brandishing their pimply buttocks in an attempt to liven things up around the camp, there are actually two moons in the sky in the daytime and in the night sky and it's really creepy.

Worse, what does it mean when there are three moons in the desert sky? What does Justin really see when he dives to the bottom of the lake that Hal has urged him to jump into? What's in the shed with the giant padlock on it? Who's the Angry Walking Man? What is the secret behind the nightly 'struggle?' Cheap party trick or is there something more to it?

And who are the two men, Mike and Chris, who are Groundhog Day-ing it in their cabin on the periphery of the camp? The scene with their burning house is probably the scariest- and the saddest- in the whole film. I feel sorrier for them than I do for Aaron and Justin, who had gotten away from this awful place and then were f**k-witted enough to come back to it of their own accord.

Camp Arcadia and its surrounds is governed by a higher force than the seemingly mild-mannered Hal and his non-threatening cardigans. Aaron and Justin are faced with a decision which seems like less of a decision than a no-brainer.

As Justin puts it: 'You wanna die over and over and over again and be stuck on repeat from here till Eternity?' Good name for a movie, that. But as to their decision, well, what would you do? What would Hal do, I wonder? Maybe put on two cardigans? A man with two cardigans is a man you could really trust, lol.

The ending calls to mind Stephen King's THE LANGOLIERS, one of my favourite of his book-to-film adaptations. THE ENDLESS is highly entertaining, the build-up of suspense is good and the two brothers are immensely likeable and cute. Could have used some sex, though. Everyone loves a good old sex cult. Bear that in mind for the sequel, lads. Meantime, folks, please gorge yourselves on this free promotional material:

IN UK CINEMAS AND DIGITAL HD 29TH JUNE 2018!

Talent:
Justin Benson (Director, Spring, Resolution, VHS: Viral)
Aaron Moorhead (Director, Spring, Resolution, VHS: Viral)
Callie Hernandez (Alien Covenant, Blair Witch)
James Jordan (Wind River, True Blood)
Lew Temple (Lawless, The Devil’s Rejects)
Tate Ellington (Sinister 2, The Walking Dead)
Emily Montague (Fright Night, Resolution)
Ric Sarabia (Live By Night, American Horror Story)

THE ENDLESS is released by Arrow Films in Cinemas, and via Arrow Video on Digital HD on 29th June.
THE ENDLESS will also be released on DVD & Blu-ray via Arrow Video on 2nd July.


'Directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead are on a roll - their critically acclaimed and utterly unique film Spring (which Empire called 'one of the freshest genre offerings of recent years´) got them onto Variety´s 'Directors to watch´ list in 2015, and received raves from Oscar-winning film- makers Richard Linklater and Guillermo del Toro (and which was surely an inspiration for his The Shape of Water). Their follow up, THE ENDLESS, is another dark and riveting tale of the unexpected, that blends David Lynch´s Lost Highway with Martha Marcy May Marlene.

The directors themselves take the lead roles, showing they have talent to burn, and proving themselves remarkably assured actors as the likeable brothers plunged back into the cult they so wisely left all those years before. The film also stars bewitching genre star Callie Hernandez (Alien Covenant, Blair Witch), Tate Ellington (Sinister 2, The Walking Dead), movie veteran Ric Sarabia, and David Lawson as creepy cult member 'Smiling Dave´; as well as Peter Cilella and Vinny Curran reprising their roles from Benson and Moorhead´s innovative debut Resolution, which is niftily linked to this film.

THE ENDLESS features what are fast becoming the directing duo´s trademarks - long, dread-drenched takes with detailed, naturalistic performances; superb, unsettling sound design; and an unpredictable, deliciously fresh script with Lovecraftian overtones. From the brilliantly staged rope-pull set piece, through to a seriously strange cult-style karaoke session, this is a stunningly realised slow burner that firmly establishes Moorhead & Benson´s unique cinematic universe, gripping you from the first shot, and steadily tightening its hold as things get very weird indeed.

Described as a 'true indie gem´ by Bloody Disgusting, THE ENDLESS is a genuinely extraordinary and groundbreaking cross between Of Mice and Men and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. After wowing genre fans at the 2017 London Film Festival, THE ENDLESS is now ready for more converts.'



AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

 You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com









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