It has been a while since I posted a review on my blog, but every now and then something comes along to jar me out of my slumber and get to writing. Today, I would like to talk about ENDOR, the 2016 feature film by AG Productions / SkullDuggery Theater Films. Directed by Aaron Gum and Faustus McGreeves.
I first learned about ENDOR from a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. I always appreciate and support the independent arts, and after reading the project profile, felt deep down that this was a project that needed to happen. In the interest of full disclosure, I sponsored the campaign as an Associate Producer but note that my review is unbiased; if it was bad, I would tell you. However, ENDOR did not disappoint!
I had the pleasure of working two days on set helping with a night scene at the “Poor House” and being featured as a church member during the opening and closing sequences.
ENDOR is Faustus McGreeves modern adaption of the “Witch of Endor” story from the First Book of Samuel (Chapter 28) in the Holy Bible. The biblical account describes how Saul disobeyed God’s explicit instructions and ultimately was destroyed.
In the movie, “Endor” is the Church of Endor, a God-fearing, Bible-thumping church who firmly believes in the fire and brimstone God of judgment of the Old Testament. We are given a glimpse of one of their services during the start of the film, where the congregation is angry over those not in attendance—the heretics who would rather live in sin and hang out at the local bar than live righteously and go to church. During a feverish sermon by the Reverend of Endor (played by Doug Rothgeb), one of the church members – Owen Matthews (played by Darrick Silkman) – abruptly stands and leaves the service. We later learn that he was possessed by a spirit of vengeance and that God will use him to exact judgment on all sinners in his path.
Once Owen’s possession is established, the movie follows a young couple – Keira (played by Julia Farrel) and Russ (played by Dustin Smith) – who are on a road trip in Nebraska to visit Russ’ family. The story of their young love is well written and acted. A good portion of screen time is given to allow the viewer to feel for these characters and even though ENDOR eventually becomes a blood-bath slasher flick that does not let the horror genre down, this character development is a welcome addition to payoff for the viewer.
We learn that Keira used to be a believer in God, but due to a series of personal tragedies, has become an atheist and no longer believes. We don’t completely know if Russ believes or does not, but the fact that he doesn’t get killed right away lends to the possibility that he is redeemable.
During a run of bad luck (as is often the case in horror films), the couple find themselves almost out of gas. After stopping by a closed station, they are forced to look for gas at one of the nearby farms. While Russ is looking around the barn for a gas can, Keira witnesses the farmer getting killed by Owen in the pasture.
Owen sees Keira and the chase is on!
What could be considered a slow start is quickly remedied from this point forward. We are led on a very elaborate cat and mouse chase that lasts from the afternoon and throughout the night. Nearly everyone in Owen’s path is killed with the exception of a small few, who may be deduced to be believers based on their behavior and dialogue.
While we eventually realize that God’s chosen target of retribution is Keira, Owen seems to toy with her and Russ, all the while killing off all of the sinners he encounters in a most brutal way. He uses a lot of farm implements to create a blood bath that will have critics talking about the special effects work of Wetworks for years to come.
ENDOR is intense! It does not disappoint. To prevent spoiling some of the more gratifying scenes in the film, I will not disclose how the film ends or the surprises the couple encounter while hitting the local bar seeking refuge, but I will say… do not miss ENDOR if you are a fan of horror!
I give ENDOR two enthusiastic thumbs up! FIVE STARS all the way!
GARY LEE VINCENT