‘The End’: Netflix proposes a tense post-apocalypse set in rural Spain
The post-apocalyptic genre is not common in Spanish cinema, but the truth is that our fantastic cinema has a key piece with a film of this type: ‘La hora incognita’ from 1963, by Mariano Ozores, a small wonder, pessimistic and dark but at the same time very funny. Other films that have dealt with the subject, already below the Ozores classic, are ‘El Refugio del Fear’ by José Ulloa (1974) or ‘3 Días’ by Francisco Javier Gutiérrez (2008) .. And also recently, the very interesting ‘The cold hour’ by Elio Quiroga, in 2006.
‘The End’, which was released in theaters in 2012 but now receives a well-deserved new opportunity with its landing on Netflix, picks up something of the heritage of these films: most are focused more on exploring character psychology than examining genre codes. Or put another way, they use the fantastic as an excuse for the dramatic.
It is a resource that, in the case of Ozores, worked wonderfully, but it has its risks: leave the viewer with the need to explain with some conviction the whys, how this situation has come to be. ‘Fin’ opts for this route, very typical of fantastic filmmakers of our cinema, such as Alejandro Amenábar, but the invention works thanks to a script above the average and the appropriateness of the interpreters.
‘End’ starts when a group of friends who haven’t seen each other for a couple of decades meet again in a rural house to catch up. However, in the middle of the night, and just as old grudges begin to appear between them, the light goes out and the cars are completely disabled. From the next morning they discover with horror that they are isolated and that their lives are in danger.
Apocalypse in emptied Spain
‘End’ part of a few risks from which she succeeds. The first is the aforementioned renunciation of giving a science-fiction context to his apocalypse: although it points to some phenomenon of astronomical origin for what is happening, they are only notes, and a directly magical origin for the situation is also suggested. Really, the movie seems to say, it doesn’t matter, because here we have come to see the drama of these people who can’t stand it.
And in that sense, and against all odds taking into account the inexperience of its director -Jorge Torregrossa- in the field of feature film (Although he had already been hardened from working on series like ‘The Lady’ or ‘Land of the Wolves’), things work thanks to how intoned the actors are. Maribel Verdú, Daniel Grao and Carmen Ruiz stand out, but in general the group of friends who can’t stand it are embodied by interpreters who define conflicts well even with only a few lines of dialogue.
The tight script by Jorge Guerricaechevarría (regular collaborator of Álex de la Iglesia) and Sergio G. Sánchez (screenwriter of ‘The orphanage‘,’ The Impossible ‘or’ The Secret of Marrowbone ‘) adapting a novel by David Monteagudo whose story is in the same line of avoiding the genre to set its apocalypse. The script gets to the point and certain questions are allowed to be left up in the air, such as the detailed origin of Eva’s character or the ideas of the Prophet, which adds to the atmosphere of mystery.
In fact, ‘End’ limps when it adopts the codes of the post-apocalyptic cinema to the use, with the attacks of the animals or the action sequences. Fortunately, most of the time he does very well what is clear that his objective is: to propose how a group of people react with much to throw themselves in the face of an extreme situation. And by the way, to show that in Spain there is capacity and scenarios for more projects of this type.