The Never-ending Story

Moving on is hard to do. After all what does it mean to leave? What does life look like without us. Many zombie movies ask that question, how do we survive when the soul evaporates and the essential grotesque proportion of flesh and blood are left as our only signifier. Every movie about supernatural forces postulates what is beyond us, behind the thin tissue of reality that we call our lives. Aaron Moorehead and Justin Benson’s The Endless ask the question what if the thing that is home, the mind space that never leaves us, continued without us. The filmmakers play brothers of the same name, who have been raised in a UFO cult. The older brother Justin has rescued Aaron from living this cult-like existence. When the film opens, the outside world is unbearable. When the brothers receive a video tape from their old home inviting them back, Aaron can’t resist the allure. Returning to the rustic camp, the brother’s find it unchanged.

The brothers must solve this mystery, the yellow wash of years suddenly thrown into stark contrast with the starkness of their known worlds. Not to give away too much of the plot, but what the brother’s find at the camp is a seductive stasis. A familiar safe place where repetition is a true death. Towards the latter half of the movie, the brother’s find photographs, old polaroids that magically appear. The photographs are supposed to be signs of the person’s future. Each one is tinged with a foggy patina of the past, a photograph from the future that resembles the past. The heroes have a clear path. Retreat into safety, repeating all that they’ve known or risk going outside the compound to experience a life less predictable. The problem is one we all face. The past is endlessly livable while our futures have a shelf life. Do we choose the path that calls us back to the familiar story of ourselves?  Or do we shirk away, endeavouring to live a more dangerous if perhaps, unfulfilling life. According to Moorehead and Benson’s film a life that is endless is not worth living, only one that has possibilities, even if those possibilities scale beyond our greatest dreams or our worst nightmares.

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