Filmmakers Moorhead & Benson are a duo to watch if The Endless is anything to go by.
On this showing, the filmmaking team of Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson are a force to be reckoned with. In addition to taking the lead acting roles, Moorhead and Benson have been credited with producing, directing and editing The Endless, with Benson getting the writing credit and Moorhead as Director of Photography. They have been busy boys, and have created an accomplished piece of work.
Initial descriptions of The Endless will tell you that two brothers (Aaron, played by Moorhead and Justin, played by Benson) return for just one day to the “crazy UFO death cult” which they left 10 years previously. Aaron is looking to find some closure. Everyone seems welcoming at first, but strange and supernatural things begin to happen which threaten their understanding of reality.
And while this is the general starting point, it doesn’t really do justice to the tapestry of ideas woven on screen. In a runtime of under two hours, the pair manage to express ideas on the security of belonging and why this eventually isolates and traps us, why we shouldn’t let fear (or any higher authority) control us, why doing nothing is not a good choice. They also examine the bond between siblings and hint at surveillance culture.
“History will repeat itself unless bold action is taken to break the cycle,” says Justin at one point, and it’s clear that this is both relevant to the film’s denouement and also symbolic of our current life and times too.
The supernatural tone begins to creep in gradually so that what at first just seems a little puzzling ends up being quite mind-bending in its complexity. There are vague indications as to what is to come, but the audience has to work to piece everything together, and this viewer’s attention was held throughout – no doubt about it. The visuals contribute as much to this as the storyline; the swirls and spirals of noodles, rope, even natural features in the landscape hint at the twisting, looping nature of what we’re about to witness, without being at all heavy-handed.
Billed in places as a horror film, The Endless is much more of a supernatural thriller – unsettling and intriguing at the same time, and most definitely original. I absolutely cannot wait to see what Moorhead & Benson create next!