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By Merle Bertrand | April 3, 2002

Random events are capable of bringing out either the best or the worst of human nature. Consider the case of Jamie Tanner (Allen Middleton), for example. He’s minding his own business, leaving a message for his wife Linda (Laura Sacks) from a pay phone to arrange a ride home. When the phone rings back, he picks it up, naturally assuming the caller is his wife. Instead, he hears Bob (Lamik Blake) on the other end. Distraught and apparently suicidal, Bob threatens to shoot Jamie if he hangs up the phone…and puts a plug through Jamie’s shopping bag to prove he means business. The tension rises when Linda shows up, becoming an unwitting hostage to the invisible sniper. Maybe Jamie’s just nervous or maybe he really is as self-centered as he seems. Whatever the reason, Jamie seems totally oblivious to Bob’s desperate plea for help, ignoring the simple request to give one good reason why Bob shouldn’t shoot himself.
Director Paul Hough’s gritty short film further proves, in its thirteen minutes, that Hitchcock was right; that oftentimes the most terrifying things really do occur in broad daylight. “End of the Line” is a chilling study of — and reminder against — the occasional self-centeredness and lack of compassion mankind exhibits to our own from time to time. Only the poorly done and ill-advised overdubbing of Jamie and Bob’s voices distracts from what is otherwise a very taut and gripping little thriller.

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