Directed by Maurice Devereaux [Other horror films: Blood Symbol (1992), Lady of the Lake (1998), Maléfices (1998), Slashers (2001)]
I saw this flick many years ago when the Chiller channel was still a thing, and got a rather large kick out of it. Flash-forward five years, if not longer, and the film still stands out strong, despite the somewhat low-budget feel and unknown actors and actresses.
For what they were, most of these performances were decent. Main characters played by Ilona Elkin and Nicolas Wright do well together, and have decent chemistry. Emily Shelton was both cute and highly effective with weaponry, so she’s a keeper. Nina Fillis did well with her conflicted role, Neil Napier was decent, though I sort of wished he did a bit more, and Robin Wilcock was great as a scummy, religious, would-be rapist.
What really makes End of the Line transcend budgetary concerns is the frightening realism of the plot. Religion is still very much prevalent in the USA, and the idea of an insane religious cult with significant membership deciding to go on a killing spree to ‘save souls’ is not outside the realm of possibility. Religious beliefs on their own are questionable enough, but when religious beliefs hit this level of fundamentalism, it’s damned dangerous.
The cult, named Voice of Eternal Hope, is damn terrifying, as all these seemingly clean-cut men and women, not to mention indoctrinated children, brandish daggers in the shape of the cross in order to massacre those who don’t share the same faith (or even those in the same cult who’ve lost faith in the mission) mercilessly, singing hymns and smiling while doing so, are definitely creepy. Because of their insane bloodlust, there’s some decent gore in the film, and while that’s not really the focus or most interesting thing about End of the Line, it certainly does help on occasion.
Related, there are some very solid scares in the film. Some are are bit much, but I will admit that the first few scares in the film really got to me, and definitely helped set up a creepy and somewhat ominous feel to End of the Line.
Pretty much from beginning to end, the movie moves at an acceptably quick pace. There are some questionable dialogue pieces toward the beginning, and a few things aren’t necessarily made clear (especially regarding the reality of the ongoing situation, and whether or not the muffins alluded to were directly related to anything), but some of the confusion and uncertainty only makes sense in such a chaotic scenario.
End of the Line is a very acceptable movie, and there’s a lot going for it that allows it to stand out of the crowd of post-2005 low-budget horror flicks, many of which are decent, but a far larger number of which are around average to far below average. End of the Line isn’t by any means an amazing movie, but it does stand up to my rather appreciative memory of it, and I certainly recommend it to fans of slashers or films revolving around insane cults.
This is one of the films reviewed on Fight Evil’s podcast, so if interested, listen to Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this one.