Quote: “I was told… that they were all going to kill themselves… and THAT’S why we left the cult.” The opening words on the soundtrack of the new trailer for The Endless. Directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (Resolution/2012, Spring/2014) play two brothers named Justin and Aaron. Tension between them. A thunderclap and a flashing image of a man putting a gun to his head. Light, eerie music. Sun-soaked rocks in a daylight American desert. A yearning. “They were our family. I want to go back.” A car journeying across Western desert country, then the image flipped so the sky is beneath and the land above, with no car… and superimposed over this, logos from half a dozen major film festivals. The brothers’ car passing a beatifically smiling man standing beside a sign that reads: ‘Camp Arcadia’. A videotape features strange circular images in a landscape. A man in a group of people round a table asks, “what video?” The sound of a clock ticking.
The music slowly builds via repeated and increasingly loud beats to something much more tense and unsettling throughout the rest of the trailer. A girl smiles. Dust above a dirt track in the evening, strange bird formations in the daytime sky. A rope drops out of the night sky to land amidst the circle of people below. “whoo!…” says a man boosted by adrenaline, “who’s next?” Another voice: “We can’t go back to our lives… knowing that there’s something out here.” (What WAS that sudden movement behind him that we just saw?)
Terrifying black and white drawings of…what? “It doesn’t let me sleep? It doesn’t let me dream!” One brother in the underwater darkness exhaling air bubbles. In the boat, on the surface, he breathlessly tells the other, “there’s something down there!” Seen from above, a strange circular pattern below a boat on a lake. Three written quotes on the screen: “Fantastical.” “Magnificent.” “Masterful.” A voice: “If you let it control you, it’s going to control you over and over again.” Kissing the girl. A clock reads ten past twelve. Jump cut: the same clock reads five past twelve. The girl smiling beside a campfire. Panic as something circular starts to assemble in the night sky. Two successive verbal quotes on the screen: “Mind-Bending”, “Brilliant.” A matter of fact question on the soundtrack: “there’s something out here, isn’t there?” The two brothers in their car at night fleeing a forest fire behind them. The title ‘The Endless’ with the slogan below ‘Never Go Back’. Fade to hashtag slogan #JoinTheCult
Some trailers show you the entire film and leave no surprises. Not this one. This extraordinary trailer shows a conundrum, pieces of a puzzle, which leave you wanting much more. Benson and Moorhead’s earlier Spring was an incredible, genre-defying narrative that’s well worth tracking down. Their debut Resolution – which apparently is not entirely unrelated to The Endless – will be included on the UK Blu-ray/DVD release of The Endless released three days after the new film’s theatrical release. You’re going to want to see The Endless on the big screen first, though.
The Endless is out in the UK in cinemas and digital HD on Friday, June 29th.