A group of demons co-inhabit an apartment block alongside the human tenants and feed off their misery. But the balance is tipped and the demons very existence is threatened.
The demons are among us, feeding off our misery in the new film ‘Fire City: End of Days’.
Set almost exclusively in a run-down apartment block, the demons happily coexist with their human counterparts. However, the human tenants are not aware of this situation and never see the demons in their true form. They will always look like regular people to you and me, unless specific events determine otherwise.
Vine operates as a drug dealer but after he takes the money, he murders the junkies to feed a group of lizard like demons known as Gekkons, Ron, Tripp and Bill, who reside down the hall.
Cornelia is an interpreter, a fortune teller in the demon world but in this apartment block she uses her natural demonic powers to predict the future for humans as well.
Finally a large black demon sits in his apartment apparently content on internet gambling via his computer tablet. He has the ability to generate his own luck.
Although they each have their vices, all of the demons thrive on one thing, the misery of the humans in the apartment block. Without it, they’ll get hunger pains in the literal sense.
When Vine, who in is his demon form is known as Atum, visits a regular weed customer, he is surprised to find him brutally murdered in his apartment. Before Atum can figure out what has happened, the door slams shut and the room goes dark.
After Atum experiences a strange dream, which demons shouldn’t do, he awakes to find the residents of the apartment block have changed. Everyone is now a happy polar opposite of their former selves.
The wife beating husband and wife are acting like a newlywed couple, the abusive father is now caring and goes out to find himself a proper job. Yet this isn’t a memory wipe. The tenants remember their past selves and realise they are now better people.
Atum goes to seek the fortune teller, Cornelia, for help. The humans may be happy but the now the complete lack of misery will have disastrous results for the demon inhabitants.
I first became aware of the film ‘Fire City’ through the YouTube videos of Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc. (aka Studio ADI). The company was founded by Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jnr who were both protégés of the legendary special effects artist Stan Winston who bought to life such characters as the Terminator, Aliens and the Jurassic Park dinosaurs to name but a few.
Studio ADI’s first big job was to create the underground worms for the original Tremors. Since then they have also gone on to work on major projects becoming a big name in the industry themselves.
In recent years, due to the common misunderstanding that all special effects work can be realised with computers, Studio ADI’s workload has been steadily declining. So, the two founders decided to make their own full length films.
‘Fire City: End of Days’ is the directorial debut of Tom Woodruff Jnr and is an evolution of a short film released in 2013 entitled, ‘Fire City: King of Miseries’. The film was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign.
‘Fire City’ has been described as demon noir and it’s an apt description. The demon Atum could almost be a private investigator trying to solve the riddle of the human’s happiness. The film is of course shot in the noir style and this hinders what I think is one of the greatest assets of the piece, the demons themselves.
As already mentioned, Woodruff Jnr is a veteran in the world of visual effects and this shines through with the demons that populate the screen. The make-up and prosthetics are beautiful creations. ‘Fire City’ really demonstrates what can be done with a smaller budget and the lack of CGI to enhance your creations. It’s just a shame that with all the stylised lighting, you can’t appreciate the amount of work and details that has been put into these characters. This especially rings true for a huge horned demon that makes an appearance halfway through the film.
But all of this is gushing praise for the special effects which in themselves are just a tool for the telling of a story. The plot of Fire City I did find a little confusing in places, especially the first twenty minutes or so.
I’ll admit I did have feelings about turning the film off but I decided to stick with it to see where it was headed. As usual, the marketing department has combined all the action and horror moments from the film and condensed that into a two minute trailer.
There is a little action; one or two gory moments but remember these are contained within a one hundred minute running time. Blood, guts and things that go bump in the night, this film is not meant to be.
If you like your demons to be a little more passive and not just ripping up young teenagers in abandoned old spooky buildings, ‘Fire City: End of Days’ might just be your thing.
Or if you’re like me, see it for the old school prosthetics and you might end up enjoying the rest if the film as well.
‘Fire City: End of Days’ will be released on October 6th on DVD and VOD.