She asked the God she didn't believe in to save her. He answered.
Written By: Faustus McGreeves
Directed By: Aaron Gum,
Do you ever get a song in your head that you're not sure if you like? No matter how much you try, even if you hate it, you still can't stop humming it. In it's simplest form, Aaron Gum's film "Endor" is the movie version of that tune rattling away in your brain. For all it's technical faults I just couldn't stop myself from watching. Does that make a good movie? In my books it does, but when weighing the good and bad I still feel it could have been so much better with some tweaking, even if it were some minor touch-ups.
"Endor" starts off in the familiar way: Couple, road trip, backwater location and a killer. "The Hills Have Eyes" immediately came to mind, as did the "Texas Chainsaw" films. Slowly however, writer Faustus McGreeves pulls away from what we think is happening and adds his own little spin. Maybe not the most unique story, but fresh enough to make things interesting. Sometime between the second act and the ending, "Endor" picks up the pace and delivers a solid slasher with one hell of a surprise ending. As I wrote above, like a directive from God himself, I just couldn't stop watching.
The technical issues are where things get weird for me. Normally, the numerous problems that present themselves here would greatly reduce my overall rating. I know this is an indie production, but most of the issues bothering me could have been fixed in post. Coloring problems, especially during the daytime sequences, could have been fixed with some slight color correction. Example: We'll be treated to our lead couple driving along, having a conversation... and every cut the colors are different. Warm colors followed by cool coloring, immediately back to warm again and so on. All within the same 10 seconds. Issues like these ones, that could have been fixed always bother me. A few minutes extra in post goes a long way, and you don't have to be a colorist to adjust the hue and saturation. Speaking of "conversations", "Endor" contains one hell of a lot of exposition. I understand that a certain amount is required, but I swear there's over twenty five minutes of it here. Building a backstory is important, but there comes a point where you're just beating the dead dog. The first act of the film is full of it, which may be the reason I enjoyed the second half much more. As a viewer, I don't need to know every detail of everything. Show me, don't tell me. By the same token, some things don't need to be spoon fed to me. I can assume what's happening without the need for an explanation.
Another aspect of "Endor" that kept bugging me were the drone shots. Sure, those sky shots can look pretty but... if the image is jittery don't put it in! I would much rather a smooth, regular shot than a jittery sky shot. Just because you have it doesn't mean you should use it.
Mentioning the overhead shots has brought up the editing aspect of the movie. It felt almost as if two different people edited the film. Dialog at times felt stressed and painful, due to the cuts themselves. People don't have conversations and always wait for the other person to finish. Conversations overlap, which is what makes them natural. The edits here don't favor the actors most of the time. Giving them a hollow, scripted feel. Now, I'm not writing that the cast will win an Oscar for their performances, but scenes exist where they really do shine. Their acting ability is clearly present, but hindered at times due to a less than stellar edit. A shame really. What "Endor" needs, to really make it huge is an alternate edit. I'm by no means saying the editing is bad... it just feels rushed at times. Shaving ten or so minutes from the film would do wonders for the pacing. Especially during the first half.
In the end, this was still a great movie. The second half more than made up for the first. I love "B-Horror", and perhaps this is what's reflected in my rating. For an indie production, "Endor" features some pretty cool blood effects and a nice twist on an old story. My thoughts on the technical short-comings seemed to take a back seat to my enjoyment of the overall film. Deciding not to base my rating on the mere technical elements, I feel, was the right call. It all comes down to entertainment. I was entertained. I couldn't pull my eyes away during the second half. Isn't that what it's about? Entertainment? Technicalities be damned! "Endor" ripped me out of my little world for a short time. In the end, that's all that really counts.
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