The Endless - The Endless( DVD/ Blu Ray) [Arrow Video - 2018]The Endless is another recent addition to the more dread & atmosphere soaked post-horror-genre. The films a heady-yet at time starkly moody blend of horror & sci-fi- that finds two brothers returning the isolated cult they used to be part of as teens. Here from Arrow video is a DVD or Blu Ray release of the 2017 film, and as we’ve come to expect from the label- we get a good selection of extras.
I’ll put my cards on the table from the outset, and be honest in declaring I’m not really the biggest fan of the ‘post-horror’ genre, which over the last few years has taken in the likes of The Babadook, The Witch, It Comes At Night, A Quiet Place, Mother & Hereditary. Of the six films listed I only really felt fully satisfied by The Witch. As a long-term horror fan I think my issue with the ‘post horror’ genre is two-fold, the often painful slow & moody pacing, and the mostly very subtle addition of horror elements. So with that in mind I must say I pleasantly surprised by The Endless- sure it still suffers from some of the genre's problems, but on the whole, I found the film rather effective in its mix of drifting dread, building tension, moments of true terror, & it’s thought-provoking/ clever plot.
The films is the third full-length feature from the writer/ director partnership of Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead- of indie horror hits Spring & Resolution. I’m aware of both the pairs previous two films, but have seen neither- the only work I’ve seen from them is the segment they did on horror anthology film V/H/S Viral- their segment was entitled Bonestorm, and was an often disorientating but confusing horror action short about a group of skaters been attacked by an evil force.
The film's plot begins with brothers Justin & Aaron Smith( played by Benson & Moorhead themselves) working in a cleaning job together, and receiving video grams from the cult they used to be. It unfolds the pair escaped the cult when they where teens, which at the time got coverage on the local news. Aaron the younger of the two brothers has fewer memories of the cult, and really feels he needs some closer- so he convinces his brother to go back to the cults isolated countryside location. From here on the film cleverly plays with one's expectations of what the cult is, & the outcome of it all. I won’t go too much further into the plot, as it’s really a film that the least you know the better.
Though-out the whole film the acting is very low-key & natural, with the vast & often darkly moody American countryside & scrubland used to great effect. There is definitely a very Lovecraft feel & vibe running through the film, and you really have to let your self both slow down to both the mood & pace of the film. Though that said, it never becomes too slow or uneventful- yes it brooding & considered in its pace, but the plot does progress & move along, with little of post Horror’s padding or arty/aimless drifts.
Extras wise we get a good selection of content- firstly we get a directors commentary from Benson & Moorhead- this is both informative & considered, and it’s interesting to hear their take on the film from both directing/ writing & acting in the film. Their track moves from discussing the film's funding, through story development, onto setting choices, how it relates to one of their early films, and actor selection. After this, you get a new fifteen-minute interview with the pair, which again is most interesting. Then we get around ten or so other featurette’s- these take in actor auditions, the short film that influenced the project, deleted scenes, and effects etc.
On the Blu Ray version of the release you get a second disc- this takes in the pairs first full-length film Resolution, which sees characters returning in The Endless. Also on this second disc, you get a host of extras including directors commentary- we were only sent a single review disc of this release. So I can’t comment on this second disc.
So in summing up The Endless is certainly an effective slice of slow-burn sci-fi/ horror, and thankful it manages to sidestep most of the issues I’ve had with the Post Horror genre. And hats- off to Arrow for giving such us such a grand & definitive edition of the film.