END OF DAYS, INC (2015)
Starring Carolyne Maraghi, Janet Porter, Mark O’Brien and Paulino Nunes
Directed by Jennifer Liao
Written by Christina Ray
“A group of laid off workers bribed into working one last night discover that processing the last of their “inventory” will lead to cataclysmic consequences“.
It’s the last day of work at Godfrey Industries. As the workers prepare to be jobless in their own ways, Janet (Carolyne Maraghi) is sad to be leaving, a loyal worker and genuinely sweet soul; Jason (Mark O’Brien) willing to lick all kinds of ass to get a good reference and decent payoff; and Misty (Janet Porter) just looking forward to getting away from the place and the people in it. But Mr Godrey (Paulino Nunes) has other ideas. He invites the workers to a last minute and compulsory “party” at the office, which is unsurprisingly all a ploy to get the staff to finish off processing some more of the inventory…Well, they have to work, basically. But there’s something very odd about all the little slips they are handling. They seem to affect the outside world in disastrous ways, and soon even begin to affect them…
End of Days Inc is a very odd little film, the kind of film that no matter how well made, how energetically performed, feels like it never wants to be an out and out success. The comedy is as broad as it is dark, yet the story is small and stagey, almost on the level of a sitcom. It’s too clean, too bright, too processed.
The performers have a thankless job. The story and the tone pretty much order them to go way over the top, and so they all obey. Everyone is professional, and Maraghi and Porter are both incredibly likeable. O’Brien is expertly smarmy as well and has some cracking timing. But the group as a whole feel like cartoon characters. They’re all very witty, yet all very sanitised. It’s an odd balance, a dark comedy playing it as safe as it’s premise will allow.
Director Jennifer Liao directs with polish and an eye for a good gag, but the budget doesn’t allow for the Burton-esque look she seems to be aiming for. Christina Ray, who wrote the very enjoyable Ginger Snaps Back way back when, scripts with pace and verve but again, this feels more like a stage play. Even with the jaunty score that almost plays like a laugh-track, signalling when something kooky is happening, just in case you didn’t notice.
All in all, End of Days Inc has a fun premise that plays on the idea that the corporations are destroying the world, but it’s far too quaint to be memorable. But it is a fluffy, fast and inoffensive good time, if you’re in the mood for something on the lighter side.