e street film society

IN THEATERS (SF) – “The Endless”

The Endless (2018; Dir.: Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead)

GRADE: B

By Daniel Barnes

*Opens Friday, April 20, at the Alamo Drafthouse New Mission in San Francisco and the Rialto Cinemas Elmwood in Berkeley.

Another super-intriguing, shoegazing, almost-there slice of genre revision from the directors of Spring.  Directing partners Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead also star this time as distrustful brothers Justin and Aaron, former child members of a wilderness cult who have never quite adjusted to life on the outside.  When the struggling and starving brothers receive a cryptic videotape message from the cult, their first attempt at communication in over a decade, they return to the camp to fill up on free beer and organic vegetables.  Everyone at the camp appears largely unchanged and unfazed by their return, although Justin and Aaron quickly find that there might be a sinister reality to the cult’s “wacky” beliefs.  The Endless creates an intimate creep that gets increasingly bonkers the further the brothers wander into the wilderness – it’s like a version of Lost Season 5 that you watch for entertainment instead of obligation.  Unfortunately, as was the case with Spring, the film stops evolving after awhile, and absent better actors in the lead roles (sorry, guys), the emotional final third lacks a certain potency.