Three Imaginary Girls

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The Endless

{The Endless opens in Seattle Friday, April 27 at SIFF Cinema Uptown}

The Endless, which is the latest feature from film-making team Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead, is bound to draw comparisons to Lost. And while I think those comparisons are fair, I gotta say that I actually like the way this story plays out much better.

Since leaving what Justin calls “the Death Cult”, both he and his younger brother, Aaron (played by the Co-Directors) are living a less-than-fulfilling life. They exist by taking cleaning jobs, live in a shitty apartment they’re about to get evicted from, and can barely afford food. So when a dusty videotape shows up with a message from the cult and it’s clear the commune and the people in it are thriving, Aaron starts bugging Justin to go back and check it out — if only for one night.

Even when Justin reveals that he fled the cult with Aaron to save them both because he was told they were all going to “ascend” by committing suicide, Aaron insists he must not be remembering it right, because his memories are full of shiny, happy people … plus, the tape is proof everyone is alive and clearly living a their best life! 

Though commune leader Hall welcomes them back with open arms, Justin is immediately skeptical. But Aaron, lured in by his longtime crush Anna and the promise of good food, beer, and karaoke party times, wants to stay — seemingly unfazed by freaky coincidences like a rope that descends from the sky and the “illusion” of three moons. In fact, Aaron seems perfectly willing to believe they’re all signs from God and the cult members may have been on to something.

I mean, who cares about the guy with the frozen smile, or the woman crying about her lost husband, or what’s in the shed with the giant padlock on it … or the fact that everyone in the cult looks exactly the same age as when Justin & Aaron left, like, 15 years ago?!? I’M SURE EVERYTHING IS FINE.

The more Justin digs in to find out what’s up, the more people he runs into and things he sees that solidify his gut feeling about something being DEFINITELY WRONG here (including a nod to Benson & Moorhead’s 2012 film, Resolution, which I really enjoyed).  

The Endless strings each piece of information Justin discovers in a way that’s surprising and fun, and it (THANKFULLY) doesn’t hit you over the head with a detailed explanation of what’s happening, leaving you to form your own conclusions by the last frame.

It’s an enjoyable ride with effectively creepy imagery, innovative scares, and intriguing mystery. I recommend you check it out while it’s screening.