Vancouver International Women in Film Festival – End of Days, Inc.
By Imelda Nurwisah, VAFF Guest Blogger
If you’ve ever been in a love-hate relationship with your workplace, End of Days, Inc. will hit the right chord with you. Director Jennifer Liao and Writer Christina Ray have wrought a great balance of comedy, zombies, and philosophy in this dark comedy about a little company that brings on the apocalypse. A little background on me: I’ve been an enthusiastic Vancouver Asian Film Festival – VAFF’er for nearly 10 years and recently had a baby. So, it’s been a year since I worked at an office and End of Days made me surprisingly nostalgic for the workplace: bosses that make you cringe and demand your loyalty, how annoying coworkers can be, and the daily grind that binds you all together. From the strange receptionist, to the perma-perky coworker, where does one fit in amongst the office politics while waiting for that promotion. And the mysteries that lied behind the boss’s door. What lay behind it – certain death via dismissal or euphoric appreciation?
But as I got more into the film, I realized this Mad Men meets Underground Bunker meets The Office had a much more sinister underlying vein. It turns out that the secretive but highly successful firm that you work for isn’t waiting to make a big splash at their IPO, but instead are rolling up shop so that they can close the company. But, attendance is mandatory at one last company party to celebrate your years of service with a considerable payout.
That’s right. Your company is involved in a business that is as old as time. The business of death, and your complicity is required in order to receive a sizeable severance cheque.
Paul Sun-Hyung Lee plays Mort and reprises the role of being the heavily accented, workaholic Asian as many of us saw in the celebrated play Kim’s Convenience. This time, he has a chance to apply his talents in physical comedy when Mort is killed and returns as a “post-dormant” zombie. The film is a celebration of other Canadian talent like Paulino Nunes (TV fans will recognize him for his many intense, dark roles in Bitten and Shadowhunters), Carolyne Maraghi (Picture Day with Tatiana Maslany), Mark O’Brien (Republic of Doyle) and Janet Porter (Murdoch Mysteries) among others.
The apocalypse brings out the worst and best in their characters. Courage comes to the fore with Misty, the sex-crazed, self-centred receptionist who single-handedly confronts the Godfreys and deals with death on her own terms. Plans begin to be hatched and whatever is left of the employees of Global Godfrey Inventory try to overthrow their diabolical bosses and save the world – or at least their own skins.
This dark comedy gets its laugh from office antics and keeps the audience interested with an unconventional plot line that has plenty of surprises. The movie brings up many deep questions: who deserves to live or die, who decides, and what would you do if you were part bringing the apocalypse? You can watch End of Days, Inc at the upcoming Vancouver International Women in Film Festival showing on Friday March 11th. Film starts at 9:30 PM and is preceded by a wine reception at 8:30 PM. Reception included in ticket. Film is followed by a Q&A.