My somewhat low rating here does not mean that I don’t respect Benson and Moorhead’s ambition. Creating a legible sci-fi tale involving temporal loops and sinister, omniscient forces is not an easy feat, and they manage to pull it together decently—especially on the limited budget they had at hand. Their efforts are appreciated, and I hope their finances are bigger for their next venture, because that’s really the one element that leaves you wanting. You don’t watch The Endless and leave it feeling as if the directors triumphed over their limitations; rather, you wish they had a good budget to begin with, so that they could really do their vision justice. You wish they had more locations to work with, and more opportunities to make the looping as horrifying as it sounds. True, there’s the tent scene, but I was hoping for more true horror like that, instead of a small sampler. It works to a point, and then you begin to feel how much they had to hold back and cut corners. The experience begins to sputter out, as does the enjoyment of watching the film itself.
I did like its underlying theme of respecting others’ decisions and being able to live the life you determine, and I thought Moorhead’s psychological ennui was well-played in that respect. His monologue about wanting to live in an endless loop rather than one, finite shitty life was a wonderful little scene late into the film. Next time (if there is one), I hope he and Benson are able to expand on this universe more, with more risks and—hopefully—more rewards.