There’s an irresistible hook at the heart of “The Endless” — the new indie horror movie from filmmakers Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (“Spring,” “Resolution”). The hook involves time loops, Lovecraftian monsters and UFO death cults.
But the movie, either for budgetary constraints or lack of imagination, doesn’t do all that much with it. Instead, we’re stuck with what’s mostly a stilted psychodrama with a few delightfully weird detours.
The filmmakers cast themselves as the leads, Justin and Aaron, brothers who escaped a cult a decade ago. Therapy and mutual support have helped them reintegrate into society for the most part. But then they receive a cryptic video message from one of the cult leaders, enticing them back to the camp.
Upon their return, they’re greeted by cult elders Anna (Callie Hernandez) and Hal (Tate Ellington). Shortly after, strange things start to happen, making the brothers begin to question if the cult’s ideas were so out-there after all.
“The Endless” can’t be faulted for its ambition, particularly in the way it serves as a companion to Benson and Moorhead’s 2013 debut, “Resolution.” On a shoestring budget, the film pulls off a few impressive visuals and set pieces.
But there’s just too much slack between the good stuff. The fraught sibling dynamic might have worked with two better actors, but Benson and Moorhead are awkward performers. They keep getting in the way of the story they’re trying to tell.
Benson/Moorhead completists should still see “The Endless,” but I’m not sure about anyone else. It’s a disappointing misfire from two very talented filmmakers.