Frank Harrington is driving his wife Laura, son Richard, daughter
Marion and her boyfriend Brad Miller to the in-laws for the
Christmas holidays. Whilst normally taking the interstate
he this time decides to take a smaller road which extends
through woods. After a near accident when Frank falls asleep
at the wheel, they spot a woman in white at the edge of the
trees. She carries a wrapped baby and appears to be in shock.
They pick her up and take her back to a cabin they passed,
hoping to find a phone. There is no phone, and Brad discovers
that the baby is dead and decomposing. Shortly afterward Marion
sees a black car drive past with Brad trapped in the back.
The others give chase in their car, only to find Brad's mutilated
body on the road. This begins a nightmare series of events
which involve the whole family as they try to reach the unknown
town of Marcott...
End is written and directed by the French partnership
of Jean -Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Canepa. Attempting to
pitch their screenplay to French film companies, they were
told that this genre isn't generally preferred, and that the
vast majority of output is naturally in the French language,
whereas the duo were determined to have it made in English
to be accessible to a wider audience.
with many pairings, we have the talkative one and the quieter
thoughtful counterpart. Whether my assessment of them is correct
or not, it appears to have worked well here. With low budget
or intended claustrophobic scenes the acting has to be spot
on, because there are no other distractions. The actors which
comprise the family work well together. Ray Wise (wasn't he
in Columbo every other week?) is quite a casting catch,
and the other mainstays come across as being genuine. They
laugh one moment, bicker the next, are terrified, contemplative,
melancholy, angry... Just like normal people. This is good
acting, with the tension steadily building.
This is a good original take on the other-dimension scenario,
which reminded me of the scene in John Carpenter's In The
Mouth Of Madness when Sam Neil's insurance investigator
is driving through a short tunnel and emerges from night into
daylight. It's that Twilight Zone moment. Without giving
the ending away, I will just say that Dead End neatly
avoids the normal stereotypical trappings, and although some
people who regularly watch this genre might guess the ending,
it isn't blatantly obvious. The mini-twist right at the end,
however, is totally unnecessary.
is a making-of documentary on the extras, as well as some
trailers, but a commentary (usually interesting from writer/directors)
is strangely missing. But for those not too worried about
special features, this is a great spooky suspense thriller.
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