‘The Endless’ will throw you for a loop


Andy Moser

An early contender for trippiest film of the year, The Endless is a mind-boggling and frightening experience that may qualify as a hallucinogen. Filmmakers Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson also star as Aaron and Justin Smith, two brothers who live a normal, less-than-glamorous life after running away from a “UFO death cult” called Camp Arcadia.

Justin pulled Aaron out of it long ago, but Aaron isn’t convinced the camp (“cult” isn’t a suitable word for him) is as horrible as Justin says it is. Aaron is dissatisfied with life on the outside and wishes to go back to the camp just to visit. Justin, hoping Aaron will see just how creepy and manipulative it is, agrees to go back with him just for a day. After strange and unexplainable things happen at the cul—I mean, uh… “camp”—a one-day stay turns into two. Then three, all as an unfathomable terror slowly reveals itself and forces them to question not only their own beliefs, but their faith in each other.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMHpWCN0byw[/embedyt]

While circles are a huge symbol in the film, the logic takes on a shape all its own, and one that is intriguing but will give viewers some difficulty in puzzling out. The circles, shown in a variety of ways, convey a sense of eerie repetition. There’s something quite troubling about infinity, and the brothers will soon figure it out.

The Endless has the power to put the viewer in an entirely different headspace from which they can draw a myriad of interpretations, all of which are unnerving. Moorhead and Benson show us that perhaps the scariest thing is an illusion of power—to think we act under our own free will when we’ve given our power to a governing force. Viewers could see this as a big red flag to religion in general. Or perhaps our contentment with the bland repetition of everyday life over and over again is what should really be sending shivers down our spines. It could be a warning of the destructive capabilities of a flawed, uncompromising line of thought. Maybe none of it matters as long as we have faith in those close to us.

Well Go USA Entertainment.

The Endless is a thought-provoking film no matter what conclusion you draw, and there are many. It may have you running circles around your own mind, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find any definitive answers. Nevertheless, you’ll have to discern whether it’s the fear or the depth of its questions that keeps you up at night after watching it.

Sails: 4/5

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