End of the Line (2007 movie) review…

End of the Line (2007 movie) review after the break…

End of the Line (2007 movie) review…

A young woman finds herself trapped in a subway tunnel with homicidal religious fanatics, bent upon killing her and anyone else that hasn’t learned their particular brand of salvation. Yet, despite not being associated with the religion, she shares their rather bizarre hallucinatory visions. How is this possible and will she even live long enough to understand why? This is the basic premise of “End of the Line,” a 2007 movie directed by Maurice Devereaux.

“End of the Line” is one of those “gimmick” movies – You have to read between the lines, be crafty with the “pause” button on your remote control and take copious amounts of notes if you want to truly “understand” the movie. Unlike a gimmick movie, though, it is fairly entertaining despite the minimalist budget. The movie can afford to have a low budget because a majority of the scenes are subway tunnels and subway cars. The subway setting gives the film a nice “trapped” feeling and keeps the pace from slowing down too much – There’s no way out except to outrun your opponent or simply go through them.

There’s a lot to enjoy in this film – Action scenes that look like actual people fighting and not action stars fighting; Some daring choices that you wouldn’t necessarily see in a mainstream movie (homicidal children – I’m looking at you); A sensible explanation to all of the “subtly unexplained” phenomenon that occurs; A slow build-up that allows for some character development and character arcs.

Make no mistake – Sometimes, the movie’s minimalist budget shows. I wasn’t entirely impressed with the cinematography as there were a few “TV-movie” grade shots in the film. The movie is also hampered by the same claustrophobic settings that it also thrives in; When it is time for the movie to show a large scale scene, it really can’t and that hurts the production far more then it realizes. Finally, the “demon” effects are shown one too many times to hide their meager budget.

One of the more surprising aspects of this movie is that, in newspaper parlance, “it buries the lead” – While the movie’s overt plot is about people trying to survive the onslaught of religious fanatics, the movie’s message appears to be about the futility of fanatics to ever benefit from the very religion that they obsess over. The movie performs a legitimate disservice to itself by dressing the fanatics up almost like the ‘brown shirts’ of the Nazi movement – Not exactly the most subtle reference. Perhaps a lapel pin would have been a bit more… Realistic? It was a nice touch to include a few characters on the fringes of the movement: A husband who isn’t religious but a wife who is; A fanatic simply using the religion as an end to his own means; A religious member who has open doubts about the radical instructions given to the members; Child cult members who learn too late that fanaticism carries a heavy price.

People will complain about the movie’s “vague” ending (hint: There’s more then one “ending” but you have to be clever to find it) but this is where the “gimmick” is supposed to kick in – Realizing what made the fanatics so homicidal in the first place. While I won’t give it entirely away, let’s just say that my breakfast food of choice remains the same.

Like all movies of this type – The more you think about it, the more you can poke holes in it. Even if fanatics could control the media, the effects would be only brief. Even in Canada… Don’t they have some way to avoid having knives and swords on board? If they had barricaded that door, would the fanatics really have broken through? No offense, but there’s only so much that even religious fanatics can do against a metal door with a lot of weight pushing against it. For so few survivors in the subway tunnels, why so many fanatics to chase them? Wouldn’t they be more interested in being topside, where there are plenty of supposed sinners to kill? And the bane of all horror movies – The survivors split up! Of course, whenever you split up, you survive!

“End of the Line” is a surprisingly nice little film, given the miniscule budget and modest goals. No, it can’t stand with the modern AAA-level Hollywood movies although, in this case, a little more budget would definitely have helped “sell” the reality that the event truly was at least city-wide, if not country-wide. Also, the hallucinatory demons should either have had more emphasis in the film or removed altogether as they really aren’t placed well in the film. Still, there’s far more performed effectively than otherwise. There are a lot of Hollywood movies that go to bed at night wishing they could make those claims.

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