In the first 30 seconds, a woman on a train sees some people standing at the other end of the car with their back to her. What happens in those thirty seconds made my balls suck back up into my body and I don’t know if they’ll ever come back out.
The 2007 film End of the Line definitely makes my list of favorite horror movies. On the surface, it’s about people on a nighttime train who get chased through the underground tunnels by a crazy religious cult with crucifix knives, but there’s so much more than that going on.
The first few scenes are as chilling as any Asian horror film that came out in the first half of the 2000s. As if to give a nod to that genre, director Maurice Devereaux even has an Asian actress standing alone on the train platform when the horror hits. This one scene could easily have been exploited because it’s so creepy, but it’s virtually unrelated to the threat in the remainder of the film. And that’s okay, because one time is a charm.
Devereaux does an amazing job of pacing the film and juggling the overlapping time as individual passengers on the train experience their own personal horrors before finally getting off the train and forming a group. After that, there isn’t a moment of downtime or lag. This movie is a nonstop thrill ride.
The gore is perfectly horrific without being too brutal to handle (although a few scenes will make you quite uncomfortable), and the characters aren’t awful stereotypes burdened by stupid decision-making. They are just ordinary people in really bad circumstances. We don’t know much about them, but we don’t need to and shouldn’t. The whole point is that they are all just minding their business when this religious cult decides it needs to “save their souls.” It’s not only refreshing that the religious crazies aren’t targeting people because of their “sins” (you know the clichés), but it also makes it that much more terrifying because not even the most innocent are safe.
And just when you start to assume the freaky beings at the beginning of the movie were just hallucinations and have nothing to do with the human wackos chasing and killing a bunch of unfortunate victims, the apocalyptic messages the cult is spreading bring on a whole new terror. The conclusion is left completely open-ended and it is a brilliant move; what you want to believe happens depends on your personal beliefs in regards to heaven/hell, god/the devil, and faith.
The performances are outstanding, something you don’t see every day in indie horror. Not to mention, actor Neil Napier, who plays a guy named Neil, is such a cutie. My absolute favorite line in the movie comes when they need to make a tourniquet for a hurt member of their group and the main girl says, “Neil, give me your shirt.” Also, watch for the mysterious man-on-man kiss between two members of the cult.
Horror flicks as perfect as End of the Line don’t come around that often these days. It was Maurice Devereaux’s fourth film, but he hasn’t he made another film since. Maybe that’s because he fears there’s no way of topping this one?