This is a Canadian movie whose title I regrettably cannot remember. I liked it very much, and hopefully someone can recognize it.
The movie is about a company that was shutting down, and the CEO of the company asked his employees to attend a final “farewell party” at the office. There were only about 6-10 employees, and most of them shrugged and said, “OK, why not”. One of the employees declined, and despite the CEO pushing hard for him to reconsider, he insisted that he didn’t want to attend the farewell party and just went home.
The CEO then sighed, said OK, and appeared to take out a piece of paper – a receipt of sorts – and took out a metallic one-hole ticket punch and punched the receipt. As soon as he did this, the employee – who was now walking down a corridor outside – suddenly had a heart attack and died. The others, who were still in the room, did not see this.
As the “farewell party” began, most of the employees were looking around at each other getting bored, since the CEO (and another lady in management) tried to gee them up into playing games like musical chairs, etc. The employees reluctantly went along with it. At some point, the deceased employee, who was now a zombie, rejoined the group and took part in the festivities, although he didn’t speak, had a vacant look, and was visibly attracting flies to his now rotting body.
At this point the CEO makes an offer to his employees – the company is indeed shutting down, but if they agree to work overnight and “process” all pending work items, they will receive a bonus of $1 million apiece. The CEO presented the offer as if it was a voluntary decision, but having seen what happened to the employee who didn’t want to “voluntarily” attend the farewell party, began to realize that this may not really be a choice. In any event, some of the employees weren’t going to pass up the chance to earn $1 million for one night’s work.
As the employees begin work, some of them begin to realize that there’s something sinister going on behind the scenes. When one of them refuses to continue working in the middle of the night, the CEO proceeds to “punch” a receipt – as he’s about to punch it, the employee starts clutching his chest as if he’s going to get a heart attack. Realizing what’s happening, he recants and says he’ll continue to work. The CEO smiles and walks off.
At this point, some of the employees – those who witnessed this – realize that each “receipt” actually represents a human life, and there is a receipt corresponding to each of them, all in the CEO’s hands. They realize that what they’ve actually been doing all night – “processing” receipts – is actually killing the people associated with the receipts. This small group of employees starts to work together to find a way out.
The movie also shows other employees, who are unaware of this, continuing to work. One of the employees always dreamed of holidaying to “the Ambergris(?) Isles” and would listen to infomercials about holiday packages to this destination -“The Ambergris(?) Isles await you”.
I’m sure I’m getting some details jumbled up (or missed altogether), but soon all the employees get together on the same page, and they realize that the only way out of this mess is to overpower the CEO and his assistant and retrieve all of the receipts with their names on them.
However, the CEO keeps a very watchful eye on them, and while waiting for their opportunity to strike, they are forced to continue processing receipts. We are given various indications that this is having a discernible effect on the outside world – as news of catastrophes around the world begins to filter in. (At one point, in a moment of dark humor – the infomercial for the holiday package states – “The Ambergris Isles no longer await you”).
At the end, near dawn, the employees tell the CEO that they’ve finished their work, and get into a tussle with him. They manage to retrieve their receipts from him, and just at that point, sunlight streams in through the window – dawn has arrived. The CEO and his assistant immediately do a little happy dance with each other, and promptly vanish into thin air.
As the remaining disheveled employees step out of the office building, they walk out into the street outside to face the aftermath of an apocalypse, the surroundings are all in ruins, rubbish is drifting through the streets, there are fires burning in places, as if some catastrophe recently befell the place. Not a soul is in sight. The employees look at each other, realizing that they were responsible for this. As one of the employees wonders if they are the only people left alive on earth, another employee opens her jacket to reveal a small stack of receipts she had managed to conceal – which meant that there were still a few other humans left alive. The movie ends with the survivors looking out onto the scene of apocalypse, wondering what to do next.
In the movie, it is hinted that the CEO was actually some incarnation of The Devil, but never explicitly so.
I’m sure I’ve mangled a few of the details (such as the name of the isles, chronological ordering of some of the events in the movie), but I’m pretty sure I haven’t missed too much. Oh, and the CEO was bald – and was front and center in the movie poster (if that helps).
I saw this movie about 3-5 years ago (I think). Hopefully someone can help me rediscover it! I thought it was a pretty interesting movie, and would like to recommend it to my friends. It’s not a blockbuster by any means, but I thought the concept and execution of the movie was quite interesting.