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Today we want to help those who would like to understand better The Endless. The fantasy-horror movie made a strong impact in 2017 and had many people scratching their brains.
Therefore, we will explain precisely what happens during the 111 minutes and talk about the cinematic values and creators’ minds.
If back in 2017 you liked sci-fi movies and were on the hunt for that summer sleeper, it’s more than likely that you stumbled upon The Endless, which brought you to this The Endless Explained article.
By the way, its stars and directors, Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson, already got us thinking with Resolution, a previous film that connects perfectly with this one.
However, don’t worry if you haven’t seen it. It is not necessary to understand what they propose in The Endless. However, if you enjoyed it, it does generate greater collaboration with its approach.
The Endless Explained – What Happened in the Movie?
Aaron receives a strange videotape on the heels of his brother Justin’s escape with him from a commune that Justin publicly denounced as a supposed UFO death cult.
Soon Aaron is shocked to see cult member Anna ( Callie Hernandez ) still alive on the footage. Justin assures him that the group was preparing for mass suicide.
No longer satisfied with his current life of near poverty and no social structure, Aaron begs Justin to head back to Arcadia, a place where he recalled having enjoyed a blissful life with food and emotional support. So after consulting his therapist, he reluctantly agrees to return for a day.
The brothers meet Hal ( Tate Ellington ), the camp’s supposed leader, Lizzy ( Kira Powell ), an artist from a nearby mental institution, Tim ( Lew Temple ), a craft beer brewer, aspiring magician Shane, smiling Dave ( David Lawson Jr. ), and Anna.
Justin goes for a run and catches Carl ( James Jordan) pacing furiously, though he doesn’t notice him. Justin also mentions the strange pylons around the camp. Both protagonists spend the night interacting with the cult members while drinking Tim’s beer.
At one point, Justin asks Hal about an equation on the board, which he tries to unravel. While his brother falls in love with Anna. Soon after, Shane convinces Justin to watch a magic trick in which he throws a ball in the sky, which lands back in Justin’s hand in just a split second.
This is followed shortly after that by Hal, who has the group play a tug-of-war challenge called “The Struggle.” Somehow one end of the rope rises into the air in the distant darkness, with Justin telling Aaron that he thinks it’s just Dave grinning on a ladder.
The rope is knotted around Aaron’s chest and he wins his contest. Watching his turn, Justin is forcefully dragged to the ground and injures his hand on the rope. Meekly, Aaron asks Justin to let them stay one more night.
Upon seeing his brother react positively and hoping that Aaron will see how strange camp is, Justin agrees. Soon after, they watch Tim, who seems to guard a shed.
The Encounter and the Photograph
By the next day, Aaron and Justin go shooting. While Justin’s shots miss their target, it seems to hit something invisible. Upon another sighting by Carl, Justin appears to run into an invisible entity.
A Polaroid photo of a nearby lake is found. While the rest of the camp enjoys the evening’s karaoke, Justin pulls Hal aside to ask him about the photograph and the encounter. Not knowing what to say, Hal tells him that he has no answers.
Then, two moons are seen in the sky, which Hal explains as a natural illusion signifying the revelation of the truth.
He says a third moon will mean “The Ascension,” suggesting that Justin should stay an extra day to go fishing with Aaron. He is told to dive under the buoy shown in the photograph and retrieve whatever he finds there.
Aaron smokes a red flower with Anna around a bonfire after singing “House of the Rising Sun”. Both hold hands and walk away. Two moons appear, described by Anna as an illusion of warmth. He mentions the videotape that brought him back to camp, except that Anna says she didn’t send it.
Justin finds a woman crying outside a cabin. The woman introduces herself as Jennifer Danube ( Emily Montague ) and explains that she is not involved in the cult. She came to the camp searching for her missing husband. Mike and Hal promised to help her after finding her passed out from dehydration.
Out fishing the next day, Aaron tells Justin there are no signs of mass suicide and insists on staying permanently at Camp Arcadia.
This is when Justin notices the buoy next to his boat, so he swims to the bottom of the lake. He then comes back with a toolbox, claiming that something tried to hold him underwater.
Leaving the Camp
Another videotape is found inside the box. Justin insists on leaving the camp immediately, while Aaron insists on saying goodbye to everyone first.
Hal plays the tape for the group at a communal dinner, explaining that the photos and videos are the invisible force’s way of visually communicating with the cult.
The tape shows a young Aaron and Justin attempting to recruit Mike Danube ( Peter Cilella ) in a scene from the movie Resolution. Embarrassed by the footage, the brothers leave the cabin, and Hal follows them.
He apologizes, but it turns out that Justin lied about castrating the men in the camp as part of the damage exposé he did after leaving the commune.
Aaron is outraged by the revelation. Justin explains that he only did it because he knew something was wrong with the cult, but he couldn’t deduce or prove precisely what it was. Hal banishes Justin. Aaron refuses to leave with him.
Unable to start the car, Justin ventures out on foot. He crosses a line of pylons, noticing changes depending on which side he’s on. Though he gets lost, he finds Carl’s cabin and is shocked to see Carl’s corpse hanging from an electrical wire, whilst the real Carl confronts him.
Carl warns him cryptically about the possibility of being trapped in looping storylines for the amusement of the unknown entity, proposing that he has to kill himself to avoid whatever the entity wants to put him through.
After Justin watches as Carl disappears past a pylon and then reappears in the opposite direction, he tells Justin to draw him a map that will allow him to leave. However, only if Justin first retrieves a gun from a drug addict who lives nearby.
Upon returning to camp, they see photographs fall from the sky that land at Aaron’s feet. He shows them to Hal, at which he tells Aaron his theory that the entity is made of colors that they cannot see.
He further explains that the entity reveals what it sees through the photos. Talking about the third moon approaching, Hal suggests Aaron look for the trailer in the photo to find his brother.
In Another Dimension
Meandering over a line of pylons, Aaron ends up in a different reality than Anna on the other side. Where he finds a tent in which a man from 1900, caught in a recurring five-second loop. Overwhelmed, the man gives Aaron a cryptic warning.
Justin finds the drug addict, who turns out to be Chris from “Resolution,” still chained up in a remote cabin from his friend Mike’s forced detox. Mike enters, and the three men cryptically discuss the entity and time loops. Justin discovers that Mike is Jennifer’s husband, but she is not mentioned.
He then leaves after Mike gives him a gun, watching as Mike sets his cabin on fire. However, the loop is reset, and the structure suddenly returns to normal.
Bizarre loops and visions continue throughout multiple pylons. As the cult gathers at the camp, Aaron and Justin finally reunite and find their way back to Carl’s cabin.
Sure enough, Justin picks up the map left for him, puts down the gun and both protagonists return to camp. Although Carl finds the gun and kills himself with it, the loop restarts and comes into existence.
A Three Moon Finale
The brothers return to the location with the three moons shining and everyone disappeared. The only one remaining is Tim, opening for Aaron and Justin the shed. They find an extensive collection of film canisters and tapes, which were left behind by the entity throughout its existence.
The tapes show the mysterious entity watching the brothers throughout the last events and culminates with a clip of the cultists being devoured as they are gathered around the extinguished fire circle outside.
As Justin looks at the scraps of garments, he assures Aaron of the fact that they’re all coming back. Aaron told Justin previously that he wanted to stay at Camp Arcadia, even if it means being stuck in a loop since anything was better than the life Justin devised for them in the city.
It is Justin who tells Aaron that he is willing to stay at the camp with his brother, having witnessed his improvements.
Though Aaron suggests they leave, whereupon he begins to explain that he just wanted to change his brother’s point of view when the invisible entity suddenly starts destroying the surrounding forest and chasing the two of them.
Both protagonists head back to their vehicle, start it up and race to the barrier of pylon, which is at the end of the camp.
Unsure of the outcome once they reach their destiny, the siblings break through the wall and land back in reality. Hal, Tim, Anna, Shane, and Lizzy watch them, all approving the situation from the other side.
Taking the Endless into Cinematic Disarray
The Endless is one of those films that are forged in slow fire, keeping the viewer on the edge of the seat with some, particularly disturbing sequences. The key, Lovecraftian, is given to us in the quote that precedes the images in which they warn us what they are going to play with: “The oldest and most intense emotion of humanity is fear, and the oldest and most intense fear is the fear of the unknown.“
So what generates strangeness in us is precisely everything that cannot be explained, which are many things from the first moment, but that in the end find a certain degree of explanation.
Nothing is trivial in the staging. Hence, the recurring forms of the circle often repeat themselves. All those mysteries we prefer not to abound are fundamental to the rupture of the temporal and spatial logic.
It is necessary to clarify that it is necessary to make many concessions to fiction. It will interest those who enjoyed series like The OA or films like Another Earth , Coherence , or Primer . However, those who expect a very closed or spectacular story can easily be disappointed.
Justin and Aaron keep their names as part of the fiction, lending them to their characters. Two middle-aged men who, in their adolescence, left a sect that awaited the Ascension and now survive trying to get by with precarious jobs.
There are several focuses of plot interest in The Endless. Nevertheless, the most powerful one is the one that makes the viewer feel an enormous and constant curiosity.
In the first place, to know what that commune consists of and what effect it had on the two brothers in their youth. Plus, the succession of inexplicable phenomena surrounding them leads them to contemplate impossible landscapes and meet people who seem to live in their own world.
The performances are excellent, but also the staging is tremendously original. It is very realistic but at the same time with dreamlike photography that does a lot of good to the narration.
We discover the new information with the characters themselves, so it is easy to empathize with them and understand their search for a way out.
Question: How scary is The Endless?
Answer: Although The Endless is not a film that really lends itself to jump scares, there are a couple of quite startling moments in the middle to later parts.
Question: What is the entity in The Endless?
Answer: An undefined supernatural Entity or Monster has inhabited a specific area where both films are based out of. The Being rarely reveals itself but has the power to send visual information to people based on what it sees in the past and the future.
Question: Is Resolution connected to The Endless?
Answer: The Endless is not a sequel to Resolution; both movies exist fully on their own. It’s not a continuation, either. “We didn’t know if we’d ever be able to make a movie again,” Moorhead said of their plans after making Resolution, which only had a $ 20,000 budget.
Question: Why is endless rated R?
Answer: Because it is Frightening and it has intense scenes, suicide by hanging, gunshot, and fire.
Question: Is the endless on Netflix?
Answer: The Endless is now streaming on Netflix in the US.
The Endless Explained – Brief Summary
As you can see, The Endless has people talking. It’s not just any film, but one that has audiences asking questions not only about the logic or the world the filmmakers have created but even about themselves.
And honestly, we love this because movies are made for this. In fact, the film can be explained as it is, although it is true that the ending depends on the moral and interpretation that each one wants to give it.
Without having a fast pace or a sidereal budget, the creators prove to have a sharp wit and clever plastic solutions to trap us in their discourse. And letting yourself fall into their hands for almost two hours without looking at the clock at any time is a pleasure.
Temporal paradoxes, paranormal issues, sketched questions and the eternal dichotomy between faith and reason come together in The Endless. And after watching it, the truth is that it makes you want to ask for more films like this one.