Not all indie science fiction movies have to be bad. The Endless is an intelligent and exceedingly well-crafted science fiction movie. It also features a lot of mystery and great pacing making it very easy to watch. I have to admit that when I heard the tagline UFO death cult, I simply had to check out this movie. Ever since I saw Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults documentary I’ve been fascinated by this concept. It brings together all the things I love in a very neat and thought-provoking package. Oddly enough, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead managed to build upon this concept adding more cool stuff to it.
The Endless is a movie that follows two brothers as they return to the community of UFO worshipers after several years of absence. Soon, they start noticing that something feels off and that perhaps there’s more to this cult than they initially thought. I think this movie had every opportunity to go wrong and somehow it didn’t. It’s proof that if you put in a lot of effort you can make a really good movie on a budget. And since The Endless is a science fiction movie you can add special effects to the list of things you need to take care of. Don’t worry, they looked really good just as the rest of this movie did.
However, all of that can crumble if you don’t have a solid main story and this movie has an iron one. It’s creative and authentic and it knows when to stop. This also means that some parts of it will remain a mystery but that’s better than a bad explanation. The thing I liked most about The Endless is this eerie and magical atmosphere. It was so damn juicy and immersive that I could see myself living on top of that fucking mountain. Not to mention that the movie opens with a quote from none other than H.P. Lovecraft. And I’m sure if they had a bigger budget we would see one of the Great Old Ones.
Aaron and Justin left Camp Arcadia, a strange UFO death cult years ago. They’ve been working as cleaners since then and life hasn’t been treating them too well. One day they receive a strange tape from one of the cult members explaining that the ascension is near. Intrigued by this strange statement and sick of the everyday grind, they decide to visit the old campgrounds just for one night. However, one night is all that it takes…
Almost all movies starring writers and directors I have ever seen have been really bad. If not bad then abysmally pretentious and awkward. The Endless is very different and the chemistry between Benson and Moorhead is palpable. This extends to the dialogues that feel very authentic further immersing you into the story. The rest of the cast was also great but Tate Ellington as Hal stole the show for me. He was exactly the person who would be in a cult plus there was something so ethereal about his facial expressions.
There are basically two ways you can watch this movie. You can be a passenger, just enjoying a rather intriguing mindbender. Or you can look for clues and try and figure out what’s going on. Each interaction and scene offers clues to the past, present, and future, you just have to look for them. The biggest mindfuck for me was the theory that in the end Aarodi and Jusodi finally broke free. You’ll know what this means when the movie ends.
And, if you’re looking for movies like The Endless, I recommend you check out Blood Punch and ARQ. If that’s not enough, you can go full brain melt and check out Timecrimes, a compelling Spanish masterpiece.