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End of the Line

July 31, 2007

End of the Line is a balls out horror thriller that starts of with a genuine out-your-seat shock and then follows the various conventions of Survival/Apocalypse/Slasher movies (like Warriors crossed with Dawn of the Dead crossed with any of the Fridays) as we hurtle headlong towards the grimly unenlightening conclusion.

Karen (Ilona Elkin), a young nurse who works in a psychiatric ward in a large Canadian city – it may have been obvious or mentioned, but I missed it – boards the last subway train of the night only for it stop suddenly in the middle of the tunnel. At this point you might, as I did, be forgiven for thinking you’re in Creep territory, but writer/director/producer/editor (hmmm) Maurice Devereaux has grander, more ambitious plans than that particularly narrow slice of hokum.

This is an end of the world movie, albeit on a miniscule budget, and so we have to act within a fairly small frame of reference (the train carriages to start with, then the tunnels they’re sat in) whilst talking in grander terms about the world above ground. This is relatively well done to begin with, but grdaually becomes quite limiting. Thankfully, for much of the time there is a grinding sense of dread and panic as the small band of survivors head out to try and get to safety.

I fear that End of the Line is rather taken with its own sense of subversive socio-political intent, for it places the blame for Armageddon at the hands of homicidal religious cult members, who chant their “Brothers, Sisters, God is Love” message as they massacre all around. Portentous political and religious symbolism (the killers’ daggers are crucifixes, they all wear brownshirt uniforms) are painted in unsubtle broad brushstrokes across the screen and regular screenings of “The Reverend’s” world-destroying messages don’t lighten the mood one bit. Of course, you can have a lot of fun with this sort of thing, but it’s all played dead straight and is ultimately rather cloying and one dimensional as a supposed threat. In the last few moments, as the situation becomes desperate, a new and unexpected card (not unlike the startling mood-shift of From Dusk Til Dawn) is played and it’s woefully ill-advised, not fitting at all with the general vibe of the movie. Poorly executed, this derails what had been, up until that moment a fairly competent actioner with a handful of meaty shocks.

The acting won’t win any awards, but this is nevertheless an entertaining and competent on-the-run piece; shame about that ending.

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