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Review: Aaron Jay Rome’s End Trip

You’re living under a rock if you’ve never heard of Lyft or Uber, the app run taxi services that found incredible profits and a notch in pop culture history in less than a year. It was only a matter of time before someone merged the service with a horror film idea, and that person was none other than Aaron Jay Rome, who played the role of Will during his stint on “The Vampire Diaries” and has become quite the director since then. A merging between Prolific Pictures, Right and Left Studios, Mama’s Boy Productions and Evil Penguin Films, End Trip is Rome’s feature length directorial debut following short films Viral and Go Crazy Go Mad. In the film, which he also wrote and produced, Brandon (Rome), a ride-share driver, grows more deranged by the minute…and by the mile. The viewer gets to see two sides of Brandon, as he tries to charm a male passenger into a great rating and even better tip, and as he abducts and psychological tortures a female passenger named Stef. When the two lanes converge, it results in a creepy nightmare that’ll leave the city shocked, and the viewer scared to take a ride from a stranger ever again! Dean West (“Gypsi”), Ashley Lenz (“Law & Order: True Crime”), Michelle West (Don’t Kill It) and Jaren Mitchell (Haunting in Connecticut 2) star in this new horror flick that’s heading to Cannes.

End Trip is inheritable scary because it’s based on reality. Who’s to say you’re next ride-share won’t find an absolute psychopath behind the wheel? How would you know until it’s too late? That built in scare factor is already going to pull an audience to this movie. However, this is where I think there’s going to be disconnection between the movie and its audience. End Trip sounds like a good scary movie, in essence, but I think it’s more of a psychological thriller and dark drama more than it’s a classifiable horror film. Sure, it has a decent body count and a little bit of blood, but these days, you need more than that to make something horrific. While End Trip does have scenes of quasi-torture, both mental and physical, and you’ll definitely be watching it on the edge of your seat, it’s more thrilling than chilling and easily being mislabeled. However, I also recognize that horror to me is or isn’t necessarily horror to you. Maybe you find subdued horror with pulse-raising dramatic elements to be more your style; and that’s OK! If you’re looking for a movie that’s not quite horror but incredibly unsettling, then End Trip is the movie for you!

End Trip features cinematography by David S. White and editing by Ryan Dufrene. Although the time lapse of the story was very short, the cast and crew were able to create a world that spanned a long amount of time. Due to above-average writing and incredible performances from the participating actors, the viewer is able to understand Brandon’s psyche and acknowledge his backstory without ever seeing it. It’s a full fledged, movie experience that’s hard to find in modern cinema. All of the characters, actually, aren’t fleshed out on screen in any big way, but the viewer is going to relate to them and make assumptions about the world Aaron Jay Rome created; a world that’s full of human devils and danger lurking around every corner. As I mentioned above, End Trip is more of a psychological thriller and dark drama, but the remnants of horror are most noticeable towards the end, when the action really kicks off and the tears and blood splatter the camera. It might not be the movie you’re looking for, but it’s a solid film and one that I enjoyed none-the-less. It has the ability to make you feel claustrophobic while on the open road, and the wheels of paranoia and real life crime are always turning. Well done. Basing my review on what it is, not what I wanted it to be… Final Score: 7.5 out of 10.

Written by MGDSQUAN

(Senior Editor) MGDSQUAN