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End of the Line: Or Somewhere in the Middle

June 30, 2009

“The next time you see a ghost or demon or bogeyman, look him straight in the eye; marvel at what you are seeing…”

666 walks the line

666 walks the line

The horrors of religion have long made for tasty genre movies.  Whether featuring children born on the 6th day of the 6th month of the 6th year or a nasty, muscle bound, big tooth beast awakened from 6 feet underground with vengeance on his mind, these films have ranged from outright laughable to serious, intense studies of man’s struggle to understand the consequences of their lives here on earth.  Maurice Devereaux’s End of the Line is another entry in film’s quest to uncover the hidden truths about the nature of heaven and the fears of eternal damnation. 

Within the scope of humanity’s existence, our journey is a rapid one, and Devereaux acknowledges our deepest fears by opening his movie with a speeding subway train.  Zooming through the subterranean world, our subway systems mirror the mysterious and dangerous pathways of our minds.  And when one of our fearless travelers utters the phrase, “these tunnels are like a maze,” we know that we will never escape the depths of depravity (or the realization that this subway system has no exits) that End of the Line has in store for us.

And so it is that we spend the bulk of the film strolling around the dark tunnels of some unknown city.  You see, the reverend of a large, relatively new religious cult has poisoned his followers with the tales of demons rising from the dead to claim the living, so it is their job to save the souls of all those non-believers before the demons can claim their prizes.  Armed with iron crosses equipped with deadly blades, the night of reckoning begins with a text message, “do your duty.”  These three words unleash the fury of the lord upon its children, and the blood flows freely until a group of escapees find each other in a common cause.

If this all sounds redundant, it is.  But where End of the Line succeeds in breaking the monotony is in its set up and its scripts ability to keep up the momentum.  The first 5 minutes of Line are intense, and like Killing Ariel, immediately establish a mythology that demands more attention.  During the truly horrifying opening, we learn that the demons “will reveal themselves.”  And quickly thereafter, one does; and it is very cool. Fortunately, unlike Killing Ariel, Devereaux invites us to spend time with his characters, and for the most part, they are a swell bunch.

Cut to a hospital where we meet our heroine, Karen, a nurse.  Haunted by visions of a patient’s suicide, she sets of for the subway station.  Immediately hassled by a stranger carrying a brief case, Mike comes to her rescue.  There is immediate chemistry between the two, and they carry the movie just fine.  Suddenly, the train screeches to a halt, the pagers sound off, and the culprits begin to sing, “Brother, sister, hear the voice, hope is god and god is love.”  It is creepy, yet wonderful.  Devereaux uses song, costume, and cliché to create a feeling of true angst and utter disgust of the “cult.”

Much of what follows would be laughable in the hands of most low budget filmmakers, but with the help of Adrien Morot’s supervision, Devereaux keeps his band of misfits (with questionable acting skills) in constant danger and when he does knock them off, the gore and brutality is artistic and memorable.  It will remind you of the good old days of Tom Savini, when the flesh was portrayed as thick, mushy covering and blood flowed like the ocean’s tide against the rocky coastline.  One memorable kill includes a sword and a neck, and it is truly goretastic.

on the move

on the move

End of the Line ultimately suffers from too many actors (at one point all armed with crowbars and flashlights like some cowardly comedy troop), some silly dialogue (If anyone has to go to the bathroom, now’s the time, because I have to take a major dump), and running time about 15 minutes too long.  But if you are looking for some gratuitous gore, a few shocking moments, and a refill of angry disgust toward religious fanaticism (not that we need that in our current climate), then End of the Line is worth the reveal.

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