If you read my review of End of the Line here, you’d know that I absolutely loved the movie, saying it was (to quote myself) one of the “absolute best DTV movies I’ve ever seen,” and I stand by that. End of the Line is intense, scary, violent and, most of all, really, REALLY damn good.
I was given a chance to sit down with director Maurice Devereaux lately and we talked about the film, what went into making it, and some of the craziness that awaits you when you catch this film! Warning, there are definitely spoilers in this interview!
I loved End of the Line and found it a truly unique horror film. What can you tell us about the thought process that went into crafting the story? Why did you choose to use religious fanatics as your antagonists?
Thank you for the kind comments and interest in my film. End of the line is a combination of my reaction to 9/11 and my life long mistrust of religious leaders. For me there’s something particularly scary about religious fanatics, regardless of their beliefs. Because unlike typical “villains”, who would want money or something and that, deep down, they know they are doing something bad (and can feel guilt or even empathy), fanatics, in their minds, are “heroes” in their own minds, they are doing what’s right under “God’s will”, so it is near impossible to reason with them. Could you imagine trying to “reason” with the 9/11 hijackers in the plane, or someone strapped with dynamite, or Jim Jones’ cultist putting a gun to your head to force you to drink cyanide laced Kool aid…That would be pure terror when you are faced with someone who is that far gone and wants to harm you for their own crazy agenda. And unlike some more supernatural or monster based horror movies, you can’t say it can never happen. It has and will happen again. Now that is scary.
Where did you film the movie? Was it primarily on sets? It all seems like tight quarters – was it a hard shoot?
The film was mostly shot in Montreal and some subway scenes were shot in the unused “ghost station” in Toronto. All were real practical locations, as I could not afford to build any sets, but most were not what they seem in the film (the tunnels were an abandoned underground highway, and the subways were old trains in a outdoor museum) but with the help of some discreet CGI, we managed to make them seem close to the real thing. Was it a hard shoot…anyone who has ever made a movie (even a terrible one) will say it was very hard. I don’t think I ever heard anyone say it was a breeze…But in my case I had the extra pressure of being the director, the producer and the 1st Assistant-director (doing the schedules etc) AND actually paying the film from my own pocket. Also I suffered some personal hardships during the shoot (the death of my Dad and my girlfriend of 4 years breaking up with me). So yeah, it was hard shoot.
What was the inspiration behind the finale’s creatures? What was your intention as to what they were meant to be?
The ending is the first thing I wrote when I did the script, I knew exactly what the last shot would be, but I will not spill the beans as to it’s meaning. That would ruin the fun. But there are many clues in the movies, and even if the film can be interpreted many ways (which pleases me), my intentions are very clearly elaborated within the film.
Did you toy with any other ideas as to the finale? At one time in the film, while watching the apocalypse, one of the actors’ comments that he thinks it’s all fake. Was that ever a possibility?
You see! You’re having fun already… 🙂
Get a group of friends together and watch the film again and have a discussion afterwards. This happened every time the film played in theatres at festivals, crowds would linger outside and talk and I would eavesdrop and smile. Of course the film was meant to be enjoyed as a straight up, scary ride, but for anyone who asks himself questions, the post discussions can be cool. There’s not much “hidden meaning” in a film like Friday The 13th, it’s just a killer, killing, and that can be fun if that’s what you’re in to, but I’m a fan of films that can be enjoyed in multiple viewings (like Lost Highway) with new things to discover that might have been missed the first time.
One of my favorite aspects of the film is that there’s a jump scare literally about 30 seconds in, but you avoided more of the “jump scares” throughout the rest of the film. Was that intentional?
I felt if I scared the spectators right away, then I could do a slower build of tension to introduce the characters and set up, but the spectators would still be “on the edge” as they might never be sure if I would “pull the trigger” and get them again with another jump scare. But jump scares are tricky, many times they are forced and many movies that don’t have any real tension or characters you care about, rely on them to wake up the audience with lots of FAKE ones (cat jumping out of nowhere etc), teen movies like the PROM NIGHT remake, or the Haunting of Molly Hartley, are recent examples that rely heavily on the fake ones. There are only a few jump scares in End, but they all have a specific meaning, once you figure out some of the clues in the movies. They might seem gratuitous, but they aren’t.
The foreboding sense of dread in the film always leaves you a bit uneasy, especially with some of the dream sequences. Why is it that the main actress actually has dreams of the pending apocalypse?
Once again, you have to ask yourself more questions. You think she is having a dream of a pending apocalypse, but is that really what it is? Maybe you missed something, somewhere that might lead you to answer your own question.
Did you run into any issues with some of the violence in the film? Or the fact that the religious zealots are pretty brutal when they execute someone?
Some people where truly offended by the baby scene, one man got up during the premiere at the Toronto Film Festival and started yelling to the crowd that the film was blasphemous, and that those who were enjoying it were sick. Also a women who was doing the color timing for the film, had to leave the editing suite, she could not take it, and she had worked on Gaspar Noé’s films (IRREVERSIBLE, I stand alone) so that is quite an achievement… 🙂
What’s next on the docket for you?
I’ve got 3 scripts brewing that are at various draft stages, and we’ll see which one ends up being my next film. I don’t want to elaborate too much on what they are about yet, but in a nutshell one’s a survival flick, the other will again be a “religious themed horror” and the last is a sort of blend of the bogeyman myth will an all too real pedophile. And one day when I have millions of dollars I might dust off my huge epic Sawney Beane script I wrote years ago about the Scottish Cannibal family.
If you haven’t seen End of the Line, watch it TODAY! It’s so damn good! Check back tomorrow for a kick @$$ End of the Line contest that you won’t believe!