5th October 2018 (UK Premiere)
An employee at a weapons factory discovers that an energy drink turns his co-workers into zombies
Brenton Thwaites, Jane Levy, Karan Soni
There’s been an influx of workplace based horror tinged in the last few years with the likes of The Belko Experiment, Mayhem and school-set Cooties being employed to serve up darkly funny entertainment. Office Uprising, a film which peeks over the cubicles of its higher flying representatives, copies their reports before handing in a very similar looking piece of work with an amended title.
At the world’s leading arms manufacturer, Ammotech, the board of directors decides to test a new energy drink on their staff to see if it boosts efficiency. But the drink has a few unforeseen side effects – it turns everyone who drinks it into a hyper-aggressive homicidal maniac. After skipping out of the meeting where the drinks are being given out, slacker Desmond (Brenton Thwaites) returns to work the next day to find his co-workers now have fuses shorter than a matchstick. With the help of a few other friends, for the first time in his life he actually must work to get to the bottom of what’s going on.
Office Uprising‘s influences are glaringly obvious. There’s an unhealthy dose of Zombieland injected into Lin Oeding’s highly-energized comedy horror, with the lead even resembling the nerdy look of Jesse Eisenberg. Retro-fonted text overlays and a narration to describe ‘rules’ are also present, again another aspect which features in the cult 2009 film. But it’s not the only already existing property that Office Uprising heavily borrows from. Mike Judge’s sublime Office Space appears to have been part of the research into characters, as well as the riotous Mayhem and straighter-laced, hyper violent Belko Experiment also having property stolen from their desks. Office Uprising‘s exterior shots of the building look conspicuously similar to the one used in Belko too, which is both cost-effective and admittedly a little lazy.
There is some originality still left in the bottom of Office Uprising‘s can though. The afflicted members of staff don’t fall under the usual bumbling definition of ‘zombie’, instead being the sprinting, foaming at the mouth kind akin to 28 Days Later or Dawn of the Dead remake. They’re still fully conscious and aware of what they’re doing too, resulting in some extremely exaggerated and grisly office gags.
But the real highlight here is Zachary Levi as the disciplinary boss and main antagonist Adam Nusbaum. Levi gives the role his all, appearing to thoroughly enjoy being the amped up bad guy. Brenton Thwaites is believably dorky as Desmond, while Jane Levy provides the love interest as Samantha. Karan Soni, better known as the taxi driver Dopinder from Marvel’s Deadpool movies, brings his usual schtick of a cowardly goofball who is way out of his depth, a characterization which gets tiresome very quickly.
Apart from a handful of smart visual jokes, a gutsy pace and a wonderfully manic turn from Zachari Levi, Office Uprising borrows the recipe from the company it keeps, but buys the cheaper ingredients. The outcome is a reliable yet underwhelming offering and one which you’ll no doubt enjoy – but it comes with the aftertaste of knowing there’s better batches out there.
High energy pace
Zachary Levi steals the show
Some solid visual gags
Not much originality to it
Karan Soni's character is irritating