The Endless: Would you die infinite deaths if you could live forever?
Would you be willing to die infinite deaths if it meant you could live forever?
The question is one asked by the new film from directors Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead. Ten years after two brothers (not-so-coincidentally named Justin & Aaron, and played by the directors) escape a strange death cult, the younger of the two is still having trouble adjusting to life outside the cult, prompting the brothers to return to the cult for a visit.
Almost from the get-go, the viewer gets the sense that there is more to the cult’s story than just nonsense as strange happenings in the woods around them lends credence to their claim of a forest deity. But where the film shines is in the panicked cynicism suffered by the older brother in contrast against the younger’s eager participation in the cult’s activities as the two discover their memories aren’t exactly what they remembered.
The two brothers come across a variety of eccentric characters, from the aptly-named Smiling Dave and Shitty Carl, to the gun-toting, crack-addicted Chris and his best friend Michael (coincidentally the same characters that appeared in Justin & Aaron’s previous film, and the encounters are equally parts comedic as unsettling. While some people in the forest, such as the cult, have accepted the fate of those who live in the forest, others decidedly do not, and yet are unable to escape.
Eventually, the two brothers come to a confrontation as the younger discovers that his older brother had lied to him about what he knew of the cult, driving a rift between the two which sets off the third act of the film and launching them both into supernatural territory.
What’s more interesting, perhaps, is the economic nature of the film. Initially, my thought was that The Endless boasted a modestly-sized budget, but according to the two directors in an interview with The Tracking Board, it was made for next-to-nothing with the help of a few friends.
The Endless was originally screened at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2017, the first genre film to be screened since Let the Right One In. It opened to little fanfare in April 2018, grossing only $9000 domestically on its opening weekend. However, I believe the film is destined to become a cult classic, particularly considering its 96% rating (as of this writing) on Rotten Tomatoes proves that interest in the film is showing no signs of slowing down.
The Endless goes out on wide release on June 26, 2018.