Written and directed by Maurice Devereaux, this impressive Canadian horror takes a lot of unoriginal ideas and makes them into something pretty interesting and highly entertaining. I'm not going to say that it feels completely fresh and new because it doesn't, but I will say that it avoids feeling so familiar as to breed any contempt.
Ilona Elkin plays a nurse named Karen who ends a hellish shift with no small amount of relief and sets off on her journey home. While waiting in the subway she is pestered by one major creep (Patrick Wilcock) before being saved by a young man named Mike (Nicolas Wright), who pretends that they're friends and keeps her company for a while. When the train arrives, Karen gets on and thinks that she is now about to get home soon. Wrong. The train stops after a very short while, leaving the passengers stuck there, in a tunnel. Things seem bad, but they get a hell of a lot worse when a group of religious zealots all get a message from their leader that orders them to start killing people as the apocalypse begins. Karen, Mike and other passengers on the train have to get to safety while figuring out just what is going on with the world outwith the subway. IS it the apocalypse or have they just been very unlucky?
The dangers of a subway system at night and the horror that can come from cult members happy to blindly follow orders as they believe themselves to be in the right, these are the two main elements that weave together quite nicely to make up End Of The Line. There are some other ingredients, and some perfectly executed jump scares in the first few scenes, but the main body of the film is taken up with subterranean terror caused by those intent on delivering souls to god as they prepare for an apocalypse.
The writing and direction from Devereaux are fine. This is his fourth movie and, from a brief scan through his resume, he appears to have improved slightly with each outing. There are many moments in which the low budget is pretty obvious, but there are just as many moments that do much better than expected with the limited money and resources available.
Where things fall down slightly is the acting department. Ilona Elkin and Nicolas Wright are likable enough in the main roles, but they're not the most naturalistic performers. Neither are Emily Shelton, Neil Napier, Tim Rozon or Nina Fillis. Patrick Wilcock isn't much better, but he gets a role that allows for a more over the top style and his character at least looks as if he's relishing every opportunity that the horrible situation affords him.
To sum it up then, there's an interesting and fun central premise, a decent amount of blood splattered across the screen and some moments that really manage to get the cloying and dark atmosphere right. Which certainly means that this is worth seeing if you're a horror movie fan.
End Of The Line is showing at The Filmhouse today as part of the run up to the 20th Dead By Dawn so get your tickets here - http://www.filmhousecinema.com/showing/end-of-the-line/ - and enjoy it on the big screen.