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End of the Line (2007)

by on 2012/10/11


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Oh the irony of that quotation, graffiti on a tunnel wall, decorating the world of a movie squandering its own potential to engage our imagination, showing us too much.

I wanted to like End of the Line, and I nearly did. So close! I tried to argue with myself, advocate for its miserable nihilism . . . but then it went too far, and utterly lost me.

And I suddenly wished I’d focused on James Bond movies this month instead of horror.

Gah. Let’s get this over with already.

It’s Christmastime in Torontreal, with a full moon and an eclipse. Possibly also the so-called End of Days. People are apparently losing their minds en masse. (Don’t eat the charity muffins or open a stranger’s mail. Say no more.)

Late at night, various Montreontonians are riding the subway, shared with numerous members of the Voice of Eternal Hope. On their way home from a religious event, the latter all receive simultaneous pages. Their Reverend commands them, “Do your duty.” Almost as one, they rise up and begin to slaughter the non-Hope passengers.

Short of a dozen survivors escape, pursued by the zealots through underground tunnels. This not being a Hollywood production, don’t expect a Hollywood ending.

My initial reaction was admiration, with an opening scene which had me thinking, “This is A Very Matrix Firewalk!” It kept me optimistic, even when I recognized some dicey acting. I took ongoing comfort, as I often do, in comparison. “It’s a bit like Cloverfield, and I didn’t exactly hate that. It also reminds me of Fallout 3, and that’s probably my favourite game. This could be good, right?”

Eventually, however, those guiding lights were quashed by the darkness, not to suggest it’s all shadows and mystery. No sir. Here is a crafty effort doing its best to appear in Fangoria. Where it might have taken a tip from Shirley Jackson’s “Lottery”, instead we get violent slashing and splatter gore.

“Too far” could be used to describe many of the movie’s weaknesses. At one point, an antagonist’s language becomes uncharacteristically vulgar, as if he ran out of more threatening leverage. And when we see the Reverend, he’s neither charismatic nor convincing, just a milquetoast. He’s built up to the extent that, when revealed, he’s disappointing. And — news flash — graphic feticide isn’t effective, it’s alienating.

I laughed slightly when I put back the video. A blurb on the cover reads, “Does for subways what Jaws did for oceans.” By which I can only assume it means, “Scares viewers away from a place.” Because I’m fairly sure it doesn’t mean that End of the Line will be celebrated with a deluxe anniversary edition a generation from now.

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Rated 18A

95 minutes

From → Hacker Renders

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