|Index||3 reviews in total|
A compelling and thrilling suspense drama, set around two bizarre brothers and their sinister involvement with the disappearances of female hitchhikers. On the edge of your seat suspense, with great performances by John Waters and George Mallaby, who star as the disturbed brothers. Be prepared for the twist ending! Recommended Viewing.
'A serial killer stalks sexy backpackers in this Ozploitation classic.'
If you believe the tagline for the 1976 Tim Burstall thriller End Play,
it appears to hold all the trappings of a mostly forgettable- and
probably regrettable- B-grade guilty pleasure. In actuality, the film
is a well- scripted, suspense-filled murder mystery, boasting
outstanding performances by its co-leads (John Waters and locally
adopted George Mallaby) and a plot that thickens with each scene,
demanding nothing less than full audience attention.
Waters and Mallaby play dysfunctional siblings Mark and Robbie, whose shaky-at-best relationship is exacerbated by Mark's secretive blood lust for petite blond hitchhikers. As paraplegic Robbie begins to suspect his brother, he is torn between bailing out the only family he has left and assisting the police force he despises so intensely (headed by Ken Goodlet as the inquisitive Supt. Cheadle).
End Play liberally incorporates many facets of the conventional whodunit into its plot, including a secluded setting, piercing score and razor-sharp dialogue, but with an added level of intrigue that is difficult to quantify. The film never regresses into a self-designed 'comfort zone' whereby the viewer can safely predict what comes next. The relentless psychological warfare employed between Mark, Robbie and Cheadle facilitates a thrilling second half, punctuated by a dénouement that lends itself far more to classic Hitchcock than Ozploitation. If ever there was a film to define 'pleasant surprise' in its purest form, End Play may just be it.
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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There's something to be said for a film which depicts a wheelchair, a
bow and arrow set, and a naked dead girl on its front cover. So, I'm
gonna say it.
I have no problem with wheelchairs, bow ‘n’ arrows, or naked dead girls. Unfortunately, Endplay does. You see, after unloading 30 minutes of top-drawer hooks (wheelchair killer, assured photography, effective detailings), we hit the slumps. Big time. Australia does it again! A beautiful hitchhiker. A pair of brown leather driving gloves. Kisses! Breast grope! Crotch grab! DEATH! Endplay shoots out of the gate and I think, “Has Australia finally made a good one?” Wait. Two brothers, Robbbie and Mark, have inherited 80k from their deceased father. Robbie hangs out in a wheelchair and likes to shoot his crossbow. Mark plays Weekend At Bernie’s with the hitchhiking girl’s dead body. His antics are slightly warped and decidedly creepy. I’m not certain what the bros are doing at Robbie’s mansion. However, after Mark ditches the corpse at Rex Cinemas, we’re back there. For good. As the film devolved into people talking in a living room for minutes on end, I decided to appease my yearnings and sleep. Occasionally, I’d adjust my position. That’s when the following was absorbed: Lobby cards for A Clockwork Orange were hanging at Rex Cinemas. Awesome! Robbie witnesses his parents having sex as a youngster and the cops won’t help him. What? The mansion is full of axes, fencing swords, and sabres. Seventh grade ruled.
Climactic, twenty minute verbal explanations of what happened during the preceding hour and a half give me the hates.
“DON’T TOUCH MY CROSSBOW!” This thing ran for 110 minutes.
The Audio and Video? Join the H.I.S.S. Army. The print was primo 70s -- washed out and fuzzy, but ultimately clean. It passed the test. The sound, on the other hand, was apparently pieced together by overdubbing several hundred times between a pair of Sears boomboxes. In theory, that sounds terrific, but I didn’t see Bob Pollard’s name anywhere in the credits. (In other words, it’s junk.)
The Extras? A trailer for The Club leads me to believe that the film concerns either: 1. A rugby team, or 2. A gay workout troupe. Mustaches are so difficult to interpret these days.
And finally, “Tension, taught as a BOWSTRING! And you’ll shiver at a QUIVER-FULL of shocking surprises as Endplay lets you match wits with the psychotic mind of a serial killer!” And with that, we reach the bottom line. Box art and copy = “A++”. Movie = “D-”. You = “Don’t need to see it. Ever.”
Rated R for Extreme Violence, Nudity and Profanity.
Awesomely Bad Scale: * * * * out of 4.
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