FIRE CITY: END OF DAYS (2015)
Directed by Tom Woodruff Jr.
A group of demons living in an apartment block fall hungry when the misery of humans disappears overnight, replaced with successful, happy, upbeat individuals. Convinced another demon is responsible for the human’s emotional change and not a virus, demon Vine sets out to expose the infiltrator and restore the status quo to the apartment.
FIRE CITY: END OF DAYS is a strange creature. Instead of taking time to establish itself, it throws the viewer headfirst into an already bustling apartment building where slowly, over the course of the film, we begin to understand just who these demons are and what they want. However, I’d be lying if I said their existence on planet Earth was ever fully explained as it remains to be an undivulged mystery, for some unknown reason.
The story focuses on demon Vine and how he keeps his fellow demons “fed” whilst keeping the balance in the apartment building. Word from interpreter demon Cornelia, who acts as a medium to the human contingent who see her and all other demons in human form, forewarns trouble brewing. After dreaming, something which demons never do, Vine (Tobias Jelinek from Hocus Pocus) awakens to find all the humans happy and content with peaceful lives – a harsh contrast to their lives days before. Blaming their previous selves for being ill, the humans go about their new daily lives with utter glee which results in the disruption of balance. For demons to thrive, humans must experience sadness, hate and misery. To continue living, the demons must turn the smiles into frowns and cause upset, anger and heartache for the humans else risk killing the human race and each other.
There’s a gritty noir-esque element to FIRE CITY: END OF DAYS in its style. The grimy location and scenario of a young girl about to be raped by her wicked step-father is enough to turn anyone’s stomach and that’s just the opening scene. The storyline here is very subtle though and never really expands into much detail which can be a little frustrating particularly when scenes drag along with barely any insight. Whilst that aspect of the movie may frustrate, what will capture viewers is the practical make-up FX and masks which the demons adopt. Using only a whisper of CGI where necessary, the majority of the demonic creations are real with fantastic applications applied to their faces and hands, something which has become a rarity in movies over the years. Unfortunately though, this practical FX wonderland isn’t enough to clarify the stubborn story which often drags its feet through the sombre setting.
I suspect FIRE CITY: END OF DAYS will gain cult appeal due to its style but overall the characters and story could benefit from clarity and depth as the plot meanders through its 100 minute running time.