Directed by Scott Speer
Written by Andre Case
There are few more reprehensible turmoils than the sudden death of a young loved one. Following the death of her boyfriend – unable to move on, a young woman hears his voice as he desperately seeks to help protect her from the growing threats encompassing her. With the aid of a cheerful veteran of the spiritual world, this young man…
Before we continue – this isn’t Jerry Zucker’s terrifically successful Ghost. This is no more than a gaunt, spectral imitation of the now thirty-year-old film. Endless is a teen fantasy-romance which answers the question no one was wondering; ‘what would Ghost be like if we stripped back the humour, score and adapted the script for high-schoolers’.
Riley is a talented young woman going off to Law school despite her talent with art, but after an evening of drinks, arguments and revelations, things will change. Things end as brutally as possible, after she and boyfriend Chris get into a fight just before a car crash. Realising he hasn’t survived the incident, Riley begins to adjust to the world without her lover – but as neither can move on, the presence of Chris’ spirit begins to have ill-effects on her.
Perhaps most irritably, the conceptual reviving of a contemporary teen homage to Ghost has roots, and there are tiny seeds of ideas planted throughout Endless – the issue being that director Scott Speer seems to have salted the earth. Any uniqueness in the film’s brief straying from borrowed themes is ignored or glossed over. The distracting, albeit tempting turn the film makes into horror territory, as Riley finds herself violently ill the more time she spends with Chris’ spirit is pushed aside for a vacuously insipid ending which could have been detected within the initial ten minutes.
There is though still a beating heart in Speer’s film – a faint one, and sadly one which won’t be enough to resuscitate the film. Alexandra Shipp’s principal lead as Riley has merit, let down in direction and Andre Case’s writing. When allowed to express loss authentically, Shipp grasps at the moment, albeit briefly. So too is DeRon Horton as Jordan, another ghost, who, whilst possessing a subplot of greater significance than Chris, adds little to the film as a character, but delivers the keener comedic lines and more genuine moments of sincerity with his still-living mother.
This isn’t enough, no matter how hard Speer tries to resurrect a dead film. For as much as the lame-duck cinematography is setting the film up to falter, the killing blow is dealt with from co-star Nicholas Hamilton. Grating, the characterisation of Chris puts much of the tenderness the pair should share as stand-offish or abrasive. A key dynamic with which the supporting cast reiterate is how ‘different’ the pair are when in reality there’s such little depth to the characters there are no differences to spy. In a major error on the part of both Hamilton and Speer, Chris is wholly unable to communicate a sense of dread or dimension to emotional outbursts, entirely undervaluing the trauma of loss.
Entirely disjointed, the remainder of the cast is scattered or one-dimensional as parents are peculiarly cast as antagonists in their grief over a lost son or their determination to ensure their daughter’s mental wellbeing and safety. Famke Janssen has an entirely different issue in her performance, in that Speer seems unable to direct a strong woman who can deliver a performance.
Bland, there’s no inspiration in the films art direction – save for a single scene which capitalises on Riley’s artistic ability as a budding graphic novelist. Again, it offers a surprising set-up for a horror moment, and if taken further could have salvaged aspects of the films. It’s crippled, as Sean Valla’s editing is stilted, holding shots for too long and allowing suspense to drop.
Vapid, Endless cannot even muster the dramatic irony and heartstrings of the runoff of Nicholas Sparks imitations and instead slumps itself like a moody, empty shell of a teen romance. Thankfully, Endless avoids its namesake and limps along to the ninety-minute running time. There is little doubt that the film will attract viewers, but even to those fans of the formulaic genre, there are far more technically and emotionally superior films already out there – and they’ll likely come to realise this quickly into the film’s running.
Endless is availabl for pre-order and purchase here from November 23rd