ⓘ End of Days (film)

End of Days (film)

ⓘ End of Days (film)

End of Days is a 1999 American supernatural action horror film directed by Peter Hyams and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Byrne, Robin Tunney, Kevin Pollak, Rod Steiger, CCH Pounder, and Udo Kier. The film follows former New York Police Department detective Jericho Cane after he saves a banker from an assassin, finds himself embroiled in a religious conflict, and must protect an innocent young woman who is chosen by evil forces to conceive the Antichrist with Satan.

The film was released by Universal Pictures on November 24, 1999. It has grossed $66.9 million in North America and $145.1 million elsewhere, for a worldwide total of $212 million. The film received mainly negative reviews.


1. Plot

In 1979 a priest at the Vatican sees a comet arching over the moon described as the "eye of God", heralding the birth of one chosen to be the mother of Satans child. The priest is sent on a mission by the Pope to find and protect the girl from Satan, although a few Vatican knights led by a corrupt cardinal insist that she must die. In New York a newborn girl, Christine York, is identified by Satanists as the person chosen to bear Satans child on New Years Eve, 1999. The Satanists perform occult rites on the newborn.

In late 1999, Satan possesses an investment banker in a restaurant; he then destroys the restaurant, killing many inside. Suicidal and alcoholic former police detective Jericho Cane, depressed since his wife and daughters contract killings, works for a private security company and blames God for his plight. Jericho and co-worker Bobby Chicago are assigned to protect the possessed banker. A priest, Thomas Aquinas, unsuccessfully tries to kill the banker. Jericho captures Aquinas, who tells Jericho: "The thousand years has ended, the dark angel is loosed from his prison" and says that a girl is central. Jericho shoots Aquinas, who is arrested by the New York Police Department. Marge Francis, an NYPD detective and Jerichos former colleague, tells him that Aquinas has no tongue.

Jericho and Bobby investigate on their own, learning that Aquinas was trained at the Vatican and was sent to New York before disappearing. Jericho questions Father Kovak, a priest who knew Aquinas. Kovak asks Jericho if he believes in God; when he says no, the priest tells him that Aquinas was driven mad by forces an atheist could not understand. They go to Aquinas apartment, where they find his tongue in a jar and messages and symbols written in apparent blood on the walls. Marge arrives, forcing them to leave. Satan infiltrates Aquinas hospital, and crucifies him on the ceiling. Although he survives, he is shot by a Satanic police officer. Jericho and Chicago see Latin words and "Christ in New York" scratched into Aquinas skin, and begin searching for Christine York.

Jericho and Chicago find Christine in her apartment, saving her from murderous Vatican knights, and Mabel refuses to bring her directly to Satan. Satan arrives and blows up Chicagos van, killing him and setting the house on fire, while Mabel attacks Jericho, nearly overwhelming him with sudden unnatural strength. Jericho is able to defeat her in a fight, and he and Christine attempt to flee the now burning house. Satan enters the house and kills Mabel for failing him; Jericho and Christine escape. Marge and another officer, both revealed to be Satanists, tell Jericho to surrender Christine. Jericho pretends to surrender to them, and when they try to execute him he kills them, escaping with Christine, but Satan soon resurrects Marge to rally the other Satanists in New York. Taking refuge in the church, Father Kovak tells Jericho and Christine that Satan must impregnate her between 11 pm and midnight on New Years Eve to usher in the "end of days". Despite Jerichos skepticism, Christine accepts Kovaks protection, and Jericho departs back to his apartment.

Satan then infiltrates Jerichos apartment, showing him a vision of his familys murder, trying to tempt him into giving up Christine to him in exchange of having an illusion of his dead family back. Jericho resists his temptations and throws Satan through his apartment window. Treating an injury sustained to his hand, Chicago appears at his apartment not long after. Skeptical of his claims of survival, Jericho shoots Chicago in the arm to test if he is Satan in another disguise or not. Satisfied with the result when he bleeds normally, the two agree to retrieve Christine from the church and get her to safety.

At the church, the cardinal and his knights try to kill Christine, Jericho arrives in time to stop them, and Satan arrives and kills the Vatican clergy. Chicago kidnaps Christine and betrays Jericho, leaving him to be beaten by a mob of Satanists, revealing that he is in league with Satan. Satan then has Jericho crucified and left to live long enough to see the end of days firsthand. After Satan leaves, Kovak rescues Jericho, and Jericho arms himself and tracks down the Satanists to their lair. Jericho rescues Christine and again kills Marge. Chicago attempts to stop Jericho, who persuades him to fight off Satans influence; Satan burns him alive for breaking their deal. A fire breaks out in the crypt, killing most of Kovaks team. Kovak and his surviving team escape out on to the street while Jericho and Christine escape into a subway tunnel. Satan appears on the tracks and Jericho forces the conductor to run him over. It doesnt work, and Satan begins attempting to board the train, killing the conductor. Jericho separates the two train carts to get away from him. When Satan attempts to jump across a gap in the tracks to pursue Jericho and Christine, Jericho fires a grenade at Satan, destroying the train car he was in. As they flee, Satan is forced to shed the bankers now destroyed body for a new host.

Jericho and Christine escape to another church, where he renews his faith in God and prays for strength. Satan confronts Jericho as a massive, winged creature and possesses him. Satan in Jerichos body attempts to rape Christine, but Jericho still within is able to resist Satan long enough to tell Christine to flee him. Jericho then deliberately impales himself on a sword protruding from a statue, sacrificing himself to stop Satans plan. At the stroke of midnight God frees Jerichos dying body, sends Satan back to hell and the world celebrates the new millennium. Jericho and Christine see his wife and daughter waiting for him in the afterlife. He dies in peace, and Christine waits with his body for the authorities.


2. Production

Directors Sam Raimi and Guillermo del Toro were offered End of Days, but turned it down due to other projects. Marcus Nispel was going to direct the film, but he left because of budget and script problems and was replaced by Peter Hyams.

The role of Jericho Cane was written for Tom Cruise, but he chose to work on Magnolia and Arnold Schwarzenegger was then cast. Liv Tyler was the first choice for the role of Christine York, but she declined over contractual issues. Kate Winslet was then set to play the character, but she dropped out and Robin Tunney replaced her. According to Hyams,

Jim Cameron was the kind of godfather of me doing that film, because of his relationship with Schwarzenegger. He told me I was doing it!. End Of Days was going to be Marcus Nispel, but it wasnt working somehow, but they had Arnold and a start date, and Jim came to me and told me I had to do it. This was the first picture Arnold had made for a couple of years. I think he had a heart thing. So this was Arnold coming back. And he wanted to try to make something good, and to take some chances. I applauded that. And we had very, very good actors around him, like Gabriel Byrne and Kevin Pollak and Rod Steiger. It was a very enjoyable experience. Half way through shooting I told Arnold I thought he should die in this movie. Of course Universal blanched at the idea, so I shot the ending both ways, and everybody agreed that the dying ending was the better one.


3. Reception

End of Days received mainly negative reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 11%, based on reviews from 101 critics. The sites consensus states: "An overblown thriller with formulaic action scenes and poor acting." Metacritic gives it an average score of 33/100, based on reviews from 33 critics. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B-" on an A+ to F scale.

The film grossed $66.889.043 in the United States and about $212 million worldwide, against a budget estimated at $100 million. Although it was profitable because of strong international revenue and DVD sales, its final numbers fell short of Universal Studios expectations. Schwarzenegger received a salary of $25 million for his role in the film.

End of Days was nominated for three Razzie Awards - Worst Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Worst Supporting Actor Gabriel Byrne and Worst Director - and was pre-nominated for Worst Picture, but it was withdrawn shortly before the awards ceremony.

Schwarzenegger later said he thought Hyams was "the wrong director" for the film. "He did not have the potential… I think visually and intellectually to really do something with that movie, but he was recommended by James Cameron, so we thought "Well he must know."


4. Soundtrack

The films soundtrack primarily contains tracks by alternative metal and industrial rock bands. It features the first song released by the "new line-up" of Guns N Roses, the industrial-rock "Oh My God". During End of Days s editing, soundtrack songs were overlaid in scenes that are typically silent in thriller films. A sample from Spectrasonics "Symphony Of Voices" is heard in several scenes. The score for the film is composed by John Debney and conducted by Pete Anthony.

Track listing
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