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Te Kaea Beri,
In this unsettling and creepy thriller, Karen (Ilona Elkin), a young nurse who works in a psychiatric ward, boards the last subway train of the night only to have it stop suddenly in the middle of the tunnel. As those around her are brutally murdered, Karen and a handful of survivors must face supernatural forces, homicidal religious cult members, as well as their own fears and suspicions of Armageddon, in order to survive. Written by
Toronto international film festival
There's just a lot that's inherently spooky about subway tunnels, isn't there? Writer / producer / director Maurice Devereaux certainly realizes this, in this above average modern horror film that gets a lot of mileage out of its very atmospheric settings. In this day and age, any horror film that can creep out a longtime fan of the genre like this viewer is definitely doing its job. Intended by Devereaux as a criticism of religious fanaticism, he actually leaves just enough things in his production ambiguous, and they should get people talking. He scatters some clues about that give one an indication of his own perception of the events that unfold, and leaves such things as the ending open to interpretation.
His story gathers together a group of strangers who begin to be preyed upon by a religious group dubbed the Voices of Hope. It seems as if the apocalypse is under way, and now these good folk are determined to "save" other people - by murdering them. The scenario becomes a grim struggle for survival, even as things look more and more bleak as the tale progresses. Among this small group is Karen (Ilona Elkin), a nurse whose bad day is going to turn into a worse night.
Devereaux never completely turns his antagonists into cartoon villains, instead treating them as basically human. (There *are* some doubters in the group, after all.) One notable exception is the salacious Patrick, played for maximum disgusting creepiness by Robin Wilcock. You eagerly anticipate the comeuppance of this character. It's true enough that we never get to know our protagonists all that well, but they still come across as likable enough that we don't look forward to seeing them come to bad ends. The pretty Elkin is particularly appealing in the lead. In fact, a lot of the acting in "End of the Line" is better than one might expect to see in this sort of low budget effort.
Financed by Devereaux himself (estimated budget at about $200,000 Canadian), this boasts a sufficient amount of splatter to be able to satisfy the gore lovers in the horror film audience. Other visual effects are quite well done, with a lot of the digital stuff done subtly. We do get to see some pretty disturbing visuals and some rather hideous demons. The budget prevents Devereaux from realizing very much of a true apocalyptic vision, but we are shown enough to get the point. He throws in homages to everything from J-horror to Italian horror to "The Shining".
This is the kind of thing I'd recommend to horror lovers who are distrustful of most films in the genre being made these days.
Eight out of 10.
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