While far from prolific with only four films to his credit, Maurice Devereaux may well be one of the best genre directors to come from Quebec. His first film was the art-horror Blood Symbol. Followed by the darkly romantic underwater vampire film Lady In The Lake and the twisted game show spoof $lasher$.
All of them showed a flair for evocative camera work and an ability to make the most mundane settings look terrifying. As a writer, he knew how to create believable characters and make even unrealistic events tense and believable. But it was his final film to date, 2007’s ironically titled End Of The Line that really showed his skills.
Montreal is in the grip of hysteria. People report seeing strange, semi-human creatures and the bizarre Church of Hope is claiming the end is upon us. Psych nurse Karen (Ilona Elkin, Eternal) is treating a patient, Mr. Simonetti, (no doubt a tribute to Goblin member Claudio Simonetti ) who claims to have seen them. She’s also been told a recently released patient has thrown herself under a train, (something we see in the prologue). Taking a late train home herself she finds herself first confronted by a serious creep before being rescued by Mike (Nicholas Wright, Swamp Devil).
Things get creepier as several members of the Church of Hope are on the train. When it suddenly stops in the middle of the tunnel they proceed to draw their knife bladed crucifixes and begin killing the passengers to “save their souls”. Karen, Mike and a few others escape. They hole up in a subway office where they find a tv and see visions of what looks like the apocalypse occurring outside. Now they must make their way to uncertain safety at the next station. The cultists stalking are them and quite possibly one of them is in their group.
End Of The Line starts off with a nightmare/hallucination scene that will make anyone jump and keeps going from there. Deveraux takes full advantage of the claustrophobic setting to crank up the tension. They’re trapped in the tunnels death behind them and who knows what waiting ahead in the darkness. And possibly worse to come if they reach their destination. The squabbling among the keeps you unsure of who can or can’t be trusted.
The cultists in End Of The Line make for truly terrifying villains, blank-eyed and single-minded in their purpose. They resemble zombies as much as humans at times. However, with their brains still working and armed with very sharp knives they’re a lot more dangerous. And then there are the demons.
It’s not clear until the end if they are real or the product of mass hysteria. But you keep expecting demons to appear out of the darkness at any moment. Apart from the red-eyed creatures on the DVD cover, End Of The Line also features ones that look like deformed humans. Done with practical effects they are effective and disturbing in their simplicity.
End Of The Line begins with a nightmare and ends with scenes that belong in one. In between is a sharp, well done and terrifying film.