I'd love to be able to rave about this quirky movie, but it has rather too many flaws to make it a real gripping chiller, and not enough real action. Although saying that, it's flaws are small, and some of it's minor parts are actually quite impressive.
The biggest hurdle to get over as you settle down to watch this film is the problem of just what sort of film is this trying to be? The story takes us on a rambling journey through the life of Michael, a lazy and not entirely honest drifter, who works mostly as a chaffeur - when he's not being fired for being too cheeky to the rich clients. Michael has a strange, listless life, in which he dreams of setting up home in a particularly beautiful spot he has found in the country. In between doing this and visiting his disappointed old mum, he meets and romances an attractive young girl called Ellie, and after a lot of, well nothing really, they marry and get an architecht to build a dream home for them in the idyllic location. It's after they move in that things start to go a bit wrong, which is good news for the viewer because almost an hour of the films running time is gone before anything other than the mildly diverting actually starts to happen.
I can't say any more about the plot, except that if you don't know the story you should hopefully be pleasantly surprised by a few twists in the tale. The film looks good, albeit firmly planted in the 1970's, especially the scenes that show the very dated mod-cons of the supposed "dream house". I'd say this is more than a character study than anything, with Michael being the main focus for your attention. Although many pointers are dropped into the film to suggest that Michael is teetering on the wrong side of insanity, he is played rather vacantly by Hywell Bennett, who, despite giving him the required air of instability, never takes us very far beneath the surface of the character. Despite the fact that Michael also narrates much of the tale with a voice-over, I still ended up very confused about his true character.
Hayley Mills makes a delightful heroine, despite a very poor US accent that all but disappears most of the time, but Britt Ekland makes little of the enigmatic Greta, which is a shame after the film makes such a concerted effort to telegraph the mysterious nature of this character before she ever appears on screen.
What helps the film rise above a rather lacklustre plot are some sumptuous outdoor locations, along with some very daring fast cuts and flashbacks to vivid imagery, such as Michael's childhood frozen lake tragedy, and his memory of an ominous wall-hanging featuring a large eye. Michael's other visions include a nightmare in which Ellie has no face, and another in which he encounters her beside a tree, frozen in a smiling pose almost like a shop mannequin, which I found very eerie. In fact the film as a whole is very good at being odd. It chucks in a few rambling minor weirdos like the crazy old lady, and the main characters are forever asking each other things like: "Why is so-and-so riding his horse past our window even though he lives 15 miles away?"... These little oddities scarcely ever come to anything, but they do have the combined effect of making you think that everything is going to turn out very badly without ever actually spelling anything out.
The film belongs to a long-gone era of British pyschological thrillers from the 1970's, which I would suggest also includes "Neither The Sea Nor The Sand" and "The Beast In The Cellar"... all cold, windy countryside based affairs with lots of atmosphere and earnest British character actors, but not a lot of box office success. "Endless Night" might entertain you on a wet afternoon, and probably best so if you are willing to give time a film that does not seem to fit into any particular genre.