Intensity: 🩸🩸🩸 Positively leaping into the #1 spot of my “How Did I Miss This?” ranking, Maurice Devereaux’s Montreal-based End Of The Line is a wicked little surprise. A gory mix of religious fanatics, old skool pagers, subway demons, and tainted muffins!
Written/directed by Maurice Devereaux
Thank you, Canada! From a bloodthirsty pair of designer jeans to a disaffected teen werewolf to a murderous mutant leach the Canucks have always given us exactly what we needed (whether we knew we needed it or not). And way back in 2007 that was End of the Line; a goreful dash through Montreal’s labyrinthine subway tunnels while being chased by the stab-happy fanatical members of a TV evangelist’s doomsday cult.
Young psychiatric nurse, Karen [Ilona Elkin in her last role before quitting The Biz], waits to catch the last train of the night eager to get home. She fends off a creep’s unwanted advances with the help of fellow subway passenger, Mike [Nicolas Wright; White House Down (2013)], and the two board the train. One thing leads to another and they find themselves fighting for their lives alongside a handful of other passengers against a group of blade-wielding, rapturous whack-a-doos trying to “save” the rest of the passengers by stabbing them repeatedly. Or, maybe chopping their heads off. As the Good Lord commands, naturally.
To the eagle-eyed viewer, one possibility becomes pretty clear right from the start. Some of the characters in End of the Line — cultists and their prey included — are very likely… what’s the phrase? Oh, that’s right. Tripping balls.
The film starts out with a dream sequence in which Karen finds an envelope addressed to her. On it are the words “Claviceps Purpurea Ergot”. Claviceps Purpurea is an ergot fungus that grows on rye and other grains. And, as ol’ Timothy Leary could tell us, it’s from this fungus that we get Lysergic Acid. The key ingredient in Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (a.k.a., LSD).
Add to that a scene where Karen’s happily chowing down on a muffin. Plus, another where subway maintenance man, Frankie [John Vamvas; voice work in Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation (2012)], mentions he’s only been eating rye and muffins for the last three days as part of a religious fasting ritual. And, well, 1 + 1 = tripping balls.
Or does it?
The beauty of End of the Line lies in that question. Is it the actual End Of Days? Are the demons and visions some of the characters have been seeing real? Or, is it all an hallucination fueled by religious fanaticism, fear, and bad muffins? However you choose to look at it, End of the Line is a great ride.
With a lean budget of around $200k Canadian, Devereaux squeezed everything he could out of each one of his pennies. Even as a 16 year old film, the CGI effects hold up and don’t look as painfully cheesy as you might expect. And, of course, Adrien Morot‘s practical effects — which got him nominated for a Fangoria Chainsaw Award — are wonderfully done. His partial beheading scene is particularly gnarly.
The acting can be a little rough around the edges especially for some of the cultists, but you expect them to be kinda kooky so it still works. Emily Shelton [The Voyeurs (2022)] shines as Julie, the feisty Asian rave girl, and you can’t help feeling sorry for John Vamvas’ Frankie who only joined the “church” to please his wife. Those two stand out from the surprisingly large pack (considering the movie’s budget), but overall the cast is solid.
Devereaux’s story deftly carries End of the Line through its entire 95 minute run time. It’s consistent, it flows naturally, and it stays on course. Supported by some decent editing, the film’s pacing jogs along fairly steadily. There may be one or two slight hiccups, but they’re easily overlooked the next time someone gets whacked with a crowbar.
End of the Line is the last film directed by Maurice Devereaux (so far?). Before this, he gave us Blood Symbol (1992) and Lady of the Lake (1998). Since 2007, though, his IMDB page has gone silent. Who knows? Maybe if enough of us go back to watch End of the Line he’ll come out of retirement for End of the Line 2: Muffins of Doom!
End of the Line (2007) is available for streaming via Amazon Prime and Screambox.