Directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead
Trendy directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (“Resolution”, “Spring”) return to their trippy hallucinations deeply connected to enigmatic cults and sinister characters. However, their induced fear of the unknown, otherworldly paranoia and suicide fascination simply don’t convince me.
Both filmmakers star as two brothers who, not happy with their turbulent childhood in the UFO death cult, from where they escaped ten years before, decide to return to find the closure they need. Allured by a cryptic video message they step into the secluded Camp Arcadia, which holds unexplainable forces and secrets. Reconnection with old pals brings some good memories from the past, which can't prevent them from becoming trapped both in grueling time loops and dangerous beliefs that pose clearly a threat to their lives.
While Aaron seems happy with the experience, mostly because of Anna (Callie Hernandez), to whom he has always been attracted, Justin is not particularly convinced about the benefits of the faction. For him, the camp is not just bonfires, family ties, and good food. The people there are really bizarre, with Shitty Carl (James Jordan) probably being the most intriguing one since he strides like a deranged, has a restless look, and screams like a possessed man. The young manipulative leader, Hal (Tate Ellington), is the one whose tranquility seems unshakeable. However, his sweet talk wouldn't fool a kid.
Drowned in old videotapes, supernatural puzzles, and magic tricks, “The Endless” is pure hypocrisy. The strangest sensation I had while watching the film was that Benson and Moorhead were tricking the viewers, precisely like the cults do when preaching some crazy ideology. Apparently, they have been successful, but I’m glad I didn’t follow the flock in this illusory worship of a cinematic artifice.
With more estrangement than any astute twist, the film becomes linked to “Resolution” when the action is taken to the woods. Still, its turnarounds were more like dumbly existential and painfully dragging than anything else.