After her boyfriend dies in a tragic car accident, Riley (Alexandra Shipp) is determined to prove to others – and herself – they can still have a connection beyond the grave.
Endless begins with the stereotypical teen struggles: disapproving parents, first relationships, college choices. Riley grapples with all three as they slowly start to become overwhelming following the death of boyfriend Chris (Nicholas Hamilton).
Chris introduces the audience to a new take on limbo, as he is unable to pass on until he finds peace with the people he left behind. He can communicate with Riley through her art; every reunion they have is sweet but sad. Shipp is the stronger actor; her performance is emotional as we see her grieve.
Endless isn’t a typical ghost story, with no haunting or horror, but rather creating the discussion if passed-on loved ones stay nearby. A small scene has Riley repeat a common saying of Chris’s, providing her and a friend with warm comfort. This is matched in the cinematography, as the autumnal tones in the rural settings provide another layer of warmth to Riley’s journey.
Endless focuses primarily on its worldbuilding of limbo, which leaves other aspects of the film lacking development. Riley’s parents are lawyers, yet are uncooperative with the police. This felt out of character and acted as an easy way to bring a sort-of antagonist into the story. Another moment involving a scene in a school late at night seemed too unrealistic, even as Riley and Chris interact through a drawing.
Characters seem to exist purely to move the plot forward and any depth and emotional development outside of Riley, and to a lesser extent Chris, is lacklustre. Secondary characters are also outshined by Shipp’s performance; all attention is on her as we watch her struggle and grieve over Chris. Riley’s downward descent as grief overcomes her is devastating and worrying, yet tenderly portrayed by Shipp. The scenes without her do not have as much emotion to them, taking the believability away.
The film tries its best to touch on the audience’s heartstrings; sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. The recurring motif of Riley’s art gives way for an emotional final few scenes. However, the final scenes with Chris don’t match up to the same emotions. This gives Endless a somewhat lukewarm ending. It ultimately struggles to effectively wrap up both Riley and Chris’s storylines, giving neither total satisfaction after the journey they go on.
Despite being an interesting take on a ghost story, Endless struggles with the balance between a satisfactory plot and well-rounded character arcs. Alexandra Shipp outshines her cast members, giving a brilliant performance as Riley.
Endless will be available via digital download from 23 November.
Words by Sarah Storer
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