Greetings from the Ether,
Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead have gained a reputation for being the premier Lovecraftian directors working in film today. Their ideas are original, their direction crisp, and they consistently yield scripts unorthodox with an inkling of true genius interwoven between the lines. Their latest effort, The Endless, just might be their best film to date.
We follow Aaron and Justin (aptly named after the directors/actors themselves), two brothers, as they attempt to assimilate into normal life after their escape from a strange cult. When the younger brother finds a desire to go back, the journey from there on out is a mind-bending, psychedelic trip into some of the most compelling territory we’ve had in indie film for quite some time.
Benson and Moorhead’s film is the perfect example of how a minimalist budget can spawn great fruit. The filmmakers understand that a script can be the defining factor between a bomb and a masterpiece. Some of the concepts strewn throughout the film, and especially certain scenarios (one with a ball, and another with a rope) leap from the screen with a narrative expertise that’ll leave the audience breathless. It’s very rare for a film to have original concepts, events or scenes that contain imagery that hasn’t been seen or executed quite so perfectly before. The Endless achieves this rare distinction with some groundbreaking material that will likely inspire young filmmakers for years to come.
While The Endless is a strong film, there are certain aspects that take away from its overall quality. Some of the performances are a bit shallow, and a majority of the heavy special effects scenes don’t quite hold the same torch to the rest of the film. These faults were likely due to their restrictions on budget, but they are easily overlooked as the rest of the film is enthralling enough to quickly make the audience forget these small minutiae as they pass. It does beg the question of what monstrosities Benson and Moorhead could conjure with a big-studio budget, and we’re positive that would be a dream come true for fans of their films.
The Lovecraftian elements are strong throughout, especially in the second and third acts. We’re offered a definitively realized understanding of Lovecraft’s themes, and the film intelligently displays them to full effect. The Endless contains just about everything a Lovecraft fan could want, easily overshadowing the campy Stuart Gordon films like From Beyond, The Reanimator, and Dagon, though these films are still very entertaining today. Moorhead and Benson present a more matured Lovecraftian movie, as it reflects the more matured appreciation of the author’s work that has grown exponentially in recent memory.
The Endless is a powerhouse indie feature, and a fantastic sci-fi horror piece for fans of cosmic horror and weird fiction. The film beckons us to attempt an understanding of things we can’t quite comprehend, and masterfully shows these puzzling concepts in a visual manner. The moments where dialogue alone is enough to have the audience morbidly curious, or downright baffled, illustrates the works of two extremely talented individuals. We are excited to see where the future takes Benson and Moorhead, and we strongly encourage any fans of weird fiction, or even horror in general, to give the film a chance. We know you won’t be disappointed.
OUR RATING: 4/5
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