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END OF THE LINE… Creepy/groovy flick from the creator of $LA$HER$! Review by DARK SIDE

Posted on May 8th, 2009
Posted on May 8th, 2009


I really liked “$la$her$” (2001) but most people dismissed it as a poorly acted, low-budget schlockfest. Sure on the surface, that’s exactly what it is, but when you look closely you notice hints of genius. It involves a bunch of Westerners who for various reasons sign up to be on Japan’s top, controversial game show called $la$her$ in which contestants must survive a booby-trapped maze full of homicidal serial killers. Followed by a camera crew, the contestants get offed one by one live on camera. Sure, sounds cheesy and familiar but here’s where the genius lies… It happens in real time so the difficultly level automatically shoots up 200% for the director, who manages it artfully. There are also “time-outs for commercial” in which electronic shock collars freeze the action, even right before kills so the victims can interact with the serial killers, plead for their lives or even cut deals. There’s even a contestant, an amateur serial-killer himself, who turns the entire game upside down. All of this surrounded by hilariously satirical Japanese pop culture glitz and glamor.
 

Now “$la$her$” auteur Maurice Devereaux returns with a more serious and more artfully done scarefest titled “End of the Line.” The story begins with a rash of suicides and characters who hallucinate demons. Suddenly a group of strangers on a Montreal subway find themselves hunted by a group of religious crazies with knives intent on “saving” them all by killing them. The survivors fight back and struggle to make their way out of the darkened tunnels. Of course, there’s a nice twist that you’ll quickly figure out if you’re a smart and seasoned horror fan, but it’s still a scary blast to see how it all plays out. It’ reminds me of several films and all of them would reveal spoilers about the plot of “End” if I even mentioned them.

“End of the Line” further proved to me that Devereaux knows what he’s doing with a camera and a very small budget. His scares are solid and his use of gore is impeccable. Whomever his makeup artist is knows how to create some of the most realistic prosthetics (especially frighteningly real-looking severed heads) I’ve ever seen. As in “$la$her$” there’s some bad acting and some sloppy dialogue, but the majority of it works. I say give Devereaux a decent budget and let’s see what kind of horror movie he can make with that. He’s one to watch.

3 and 1/2 stars out of 5

First a clip from Devereaux’s “$la$her$.” If you’re not down with the gaudy satire of this fake commercial for the TV show, you’re not going to like the film. It’s like “Battle Royal” meets “American Gladiators”.  Supa-Fine!!!…

And finally, trailerage for “End of the Line”…

Both available on DVD!


Singing: God is in his holy tem—-ple!

-Dark Side

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