APRIL 20, 2018 -- You would have to be familiar with the now-defunct UFO cult called Heaven's Gate from the 70s thru 1997, to understand the theme of this film. In 1997, just about the entire group committed suicide so they could transport themselves onto a spaceship flying next to the Hale-Bopp comet. Um... yes... there was a lot of other stuff in that Kool-Aid beside fruit flavors.


Director/writer Justin Benson's latest film is a nifty low budget thriller that is set in a remote cult camp that seems to worship the same type of UFO deity. At least that's the rumor. And that rumor is started by two brothers who escaped the cult in their teenage years, telling the outside world what was going on there.


The two brothers Justin (Benson) and Aaron (Aaron Moorhead) are now barely making a living when they receive a mysterious video, ostensibly from the same cult camp, inviting them to come back for a visit. Justin has no interest, but Aaron wants to go back because he only remembers having a good time before his older brother grabbed him up and got the hell out. There are lots of unanswered questions and he persuades Justin to go, just for a couple of days.

When they arrive, they find the cult is apparently fine and healthy; even making a living by selling a beer they brew. The cult now led by Tim (Lew Temple) holds no animosity despite the Smith boys telling the world the men were castrated and couldn't have sex.


Still, something doesn't seem quite right, especially after one of the cult members performs a magic trick in which a ball is suspended in the air for minutes, before it finally falls back to earth. Pictures fall from the sky and the brothers learn that something is definitely watching them. The only question is if it is dangerous.


That question is answered when Justin learns that if the two brothers don't get out of the camp before a third moon arises, they will be stuck there in a continuous loop, just like everyone else. An infinity of reliving a period of time over and over again. Some peoples loop is long, others very short. But in either case they are stuck even if they commit suicide.


Suspense builds as Justin in particular wants to know what it is they are up against and nobody can answer. Some of the people at the camp have resigned themselves to their fate and regret their condemnation. What makes it eerier is when the brothers learn the entity can skew perceptions and lead them in circles.


The ensemble works well together with no particular talent standing out. The story itself is the creepiest aspect of the film.


"The Endless" is a nice tight, well thought out supernatural thriller that makes good use of the "what lies beyond?" and "who's out there?" questions with just the right mix of seemingly normal characters and nut jobs.   -- GRADE B --   GEOFF BURTON