FIRE CITY: END OF DAYS
FIRE CITY: THE INTERPRETER OF SIGNS
Fire City was first imagined by writers Michael Hayes and Brian Lubocki. Their original intent was to create Fire City as a web series but they were persuaded to spin the idea out as a film and End of Days/The Interpreter of Signs is the first in what is planned as a series of four films. (The initial web series format seems to have been retained right down to the extent of having the film broken into chapters). Tom Woodruff, Jr. filmed a teaser version of the film as the nine-minute short Fire City: King of Miseries (2013). The budget for the feature film was raised via a Kickstarter campaign.
Fire City has a fascination on screen. Though the film almost never leaves the central locale of the apartment building, it is immediately a different and original world that we are in. One where demons live among humans in a parasitic symbiosis and things are related through a series of arcane rules. It is something that falls somewhere between the demon karaoke bar in tvs Angel (1999-2004) and the morally blurred neo-noir world of Sin City (2005). Or perhaps the Rat City scenes in Spawn (1997) and in particular the animated tv series version Spawn (1997-9) having been expanded out into their own film.
Fire City suffers from being made on a B-budget. The apartments and halls look a little too obviously like constructed sets as opposed to places that people are dwelling. It is a film that would have been boosted immeasurably by more professional photography and lighting and some tighter editing. The pace of the film is slow it seems to take an awfully long time for things to start going anywhere. All of that said, you are captivated by both the originality of the milieu and especially when Tom Woodruff gets loose on what is his forte the delivery of makeup effects. The creature effects for the demons and assorted creatures throughout are astonishingly good and stand out with an imagination that far exceeds their surroundings. It is this and the unusualness of the story that adds up to make Fire City eventually something quite captivating by the time it reaches its end.
(Winner for Best Makeup Effects at this sites Best of 2015 Awards).