Review by Sean Boelman
The sappy teen romance genre is notoriously mixed in its success, particularly when there is no popular source material from which it has some pre-existing goodwill. Endless fares much the same, squandering its philosophical musings and a decent cast on a script that is all too often conventional.
The film tells the story of two high school lovers who, following a car crash, find themselves separated by the barrier of death but discover a way to connect and communicate with each other. If this premise sounds eerily familiar, that’s because it’s essentially a teen version of Ghost, except a lot less inspired.
Perhaps the biggest issue with the movie is that the pacing is entirely off. It takes way too long for the story to get to the car accident that kills one of the two lovers, and by that point, viewers will already be mostly checked out from the story. There are a few fun moments, particularly when it allows the ghostly protagonist to explore the rules of the film’s world, but these feel like more of an afterthought than a concern.
The main ideas that the movie explores are the idea of guilt and remorse. Without a doubt, the film’s main success is in showing the pain that the characters are experiencing. Even when the story is at its most unbelievable, there is this core sense of humanity radiating throughout the story that allows it to mostly work.
Unfortunately, the movie falls apart because of how difficult it is to buy into the central relationship. Although each of the characters are likable on an individual level, the introduction gives the audience very little reason to support the chemistry between them. It isn’t until after they are separated until the romance aspect starts to click, but the film largely sabotaged itself.
Nicholas Hamilton is charming as the leading man, but he’s certainly no Patrick Swayze. Alexandria Shipp is the better of the two stars, giving a performance that feels authentic and ultimately acting circles around everyone else on screen. Even veteran actress Famke Janssen, who has a brief supporting role, doesn’t give a particularly impressive turn.
There are some interesting things done with the visuals of the movie, particularly in the scenes that blend the supernatural and the real world, but there are a few moments in which it shows its budget. For the most part, the good moments outnumber the bad, but the world-building still falters as a result.
Endless fails to prove a reason for its existence when there are better films in the genre, even with a very similar premise. It’s moderately entertaining for just over an hour and a half, but still, the target audience would be better off discovering Ghost than this.
Endless hits VOD on August 14.