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‘End Trip’ (review)

Produced by Aaron Jay Rome, Max Shifrin,
Jeremy John Wells, Dean J. West
Written by Eric LeBlanc, Aaron Jay Rome
Directed by Aaron Jay Rome
Starring Dean J. West, Aaron Jay Rome,
Ashley Lenz

 

A URYDE (an obvious Uber/Lyft stand-in) driver is working his usual overnight shift. He’s looking forward to going home to be with his fiancée, but picks up one more ride for the night.

The passenger is a charismatic, charming young man who, he tells us, is on the outs with his girlfriend and just wants the driver to just….drive.

He doesn’t care where, dealer’s choice.

Along the way to nowhere, the two discuss relationships and other topics while slowly realizing they’re becoming fast friends.

Meanwhile, these bonding scenes are intercut with the driver arriving home after his shift.

This cross-cutting is at first confusing, but all is made clear soon enough, as we realize that things are not right as rain with the soon-to-be-married couple, and one of the men in the URYDE is not as he appears.

As the driver, passenger and fiancée, West, Rome and Lenz are excellent. Rome also co-wrote and directed, and for about the first half or so, turns the screw nicely, with the conversations between the men in the car interesting in and of themselves, but heightened by the clues that inspire dread in the viewer.

The scenes with the fiancée are also suspenseful and engrossing — for a while. While the film held my attention to the end thanks to the successful set-up, End Trip unfortunately starts to lose its grip before the one-hour mark.

The acting and direction remain solid throughout – also aided by some genuinely amusing comic relief, mostly in the realistically comfortable conversations between the men – but the script lets the viewer down.

End Trip begins to feel like an updated version of a certain late-eighties cult horror flick (sorry, to reveal which one would give the game away, though in fact the film tips its hand quite early on) that doesn’t have much else on its mind.

I stuck through it due to its overall competence but more so in the hope that Rome and co would deliver a big reveal, twist or bombshell that would make the tedious stretches worthwhile.

Alas, the home stretch, despite the genuine efforts of cast and crew, is a big, fat shrug, and renders the film as a whole pointless and empty.

Even so, keep an eye on Rome, West and Lenz (who looks like she could be Melanie Lynskey’s sister). These peeps have some good flicks and performances in their future.

 

For screening information, visit EndTripMovie.com

 

 

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