Office Uprising Review – Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid Grimmfest 2018
Ready player one? Let’s light this shit up!
Desmond (Brenton Thwaites) is a quintessential slacker who ‘works’ for weapons company Ammotech and spends most of his shift programming his video game and smoking weed out of makeshift syrup bottle bongs. With the deadline for his Clayton Report looming over him, Desmond decides to skip the 4pm motivational seminar (can we all say eww together). This decision, born of procrastination and job hatred, manages to keep him safe from the energy drink infection that has now taken over the office.
With almost all of the Amotech employees infected, Desmond is on a mission to save his ‘friend’ Samantha (Jane Levy), who has unknowingly consumed some of the Military grade poison. His help? Mourad (Karan Soni), the pacifist who’s only working at the company to pay off his student loans and Lentworth (Kurt Fuller), the old guy of the office who’s paycheck is split between alimony, weed and viagra. Who else does a guy need against a horde or rage fueled office workers?
The visuals in this film are a solid selling point for me. I’m a sucker for some 8-Bit font and gaming graphics, and with this film it really works. Like a video game there are rules in Office Uprising, all of which come back to play within the narrative. These rules included ‘Always carry a Clipboard.’ ‘Never be too good at something, or it will always be expected of you’ and ‘The higher the office, the bigger the asshole.’ (I’m paraphrasing from memory here so if you know the real rules please let me know!) . Every workplace has rules like this and the Groundhog Day execution of them before and after the infection is a great little spot of humour. The visual tone of the film is set up instantly with the ‘infomercial’ style opening scene and followed through with the beautifully saturated colours of the Zolt can and stylised fight scenes bathed in campy gore.
Zachary Levi steals the show as the film progresses. He begins as Adam Nusbaum, Desmond’s condescending, jargon spouting boss with a clipped tongue, and turns in to….well an exaggerated version of all of that with a short fuse and a severe rage issue. That’s one of the other winning aspects of this film, the script. Between Adam’s insistence on collaboration, the marketing teams slogan screaming war and the sales team talking about high-grade weaponry like a child describing their favourite action figure, the script stays sharp, funny and completely over the top throughout.
So, let’s get down to reason I called this meeting. The kills! Now, this isn’t a traditional ‘zombie’ movie. The infected are still semi-functioning, they talk, they walk and they still clock in and out of the office. So the kill count on this film is a little different to you’re average brain eater movie. There’s no double tap, go for the brains, detach the head going on here. Just rage murders and some hilarious defense kills. My personal favourites, the human pin cushion in the HR office rocking a pencil porcupine look and the poor security guard with an I Heart Monday’s mug caved in to the back of his head. Clearly the director, Lin Oeding, and writers Peter Gamble Robinson and Ian Shorr had fun thinking of how to turn everyday office objects in to dangerous murder weapons.
Obviously, this office isn’t a normal workplace. It’s a weapons manufacturing company, so there is no shortage of high amo weaponry and inventive machinery. Need a flamethrower, or a full on Ripley suit? Just check downstairs. But, there was something more fun about the everyday object deaths. Everyone knows adaptability is an important job skill.
Hidden underneath the cardboard armour and swanky suits, there are messages to this film. It’s not preachy, it doesn’t throw them in the audiences face, but just below the surface this film touches on some important issues. America’s gun laws are clearly focused on, along with the morality of weapons manufacturing. As Franklin states in beautiful irony (and a nod to Dr. Strangelove) “This is a weapons manufacturing firm, violence has no place here!”. Then there’s the message about office politics, the economy and the rights of the worker. The film starts with employees being laid off and the pathetic severance packages they are being offered. One employee is sent packing with a box of desk crap and Amotech t-shirt as thanks. It’s a dog eat dog economy, and that becomes too close to home in this film.
Overall, I really loved this film. It was funny, furious and playful. It touches on our human nature. I mean who hasn’t thought about stabbing the person that takes half an hour long bathroom breaks multiple times a day, or maiming the coworker that leaves a tea bag in the sink when the bin is right fucking there Roger! Office Uprising is an enthusiastic blend of Office space and Shaun of the Dead. It’s a Rom-Zom-Com with a happy ending.
This was another Grimmfest watch that stood out to me for its visuals, comedy and overall watchability. I highly recommend this film to both die hard horror fans and also those who don’t always like to have their heart in their throat but enjoy a bit of friendly carnage.
Check out my other Grimmfest review of Girls with Balls and let me know what you think of Office Uprising? What office based nightmares have you endured?