Sony Crackle’s Office Uprising hit the free streaming service on July 19th, 2018. The film is a zombie horror-comedy that manages to pace itself accordingly while maintaining a healthy balance of comedy and violence stretched across a straightforward, but solid plot. Director Lin Oeding, mainly associated as a stunt performer, has managed to present a film with high production value offering awesome performances, plenty of laughs and action sequences that’ll keep you wanting more.
Sony Crackle’s official Office Uprising’s movie page describes the film as a “poisoned love letter to the cubicle warrior” while providing the following plot, “When a slacker at a weapons manufacturing company (Ammotech) finds his coworkers have turned into ravenous “zombies” after consuming a weaponized energy drink (Zolt), he must rescue his true love before the office’s psychotic army descends on them both. Stars Brenton Thwaites (Titans, Pirates Of The Caribbean), Tony-nominated Zachary Levi (Shazam, Chuck), Jane Levy (Don’t Breathe), Karan Soni (Deadpool), Alan Ritchson (The Hunger Games), and Kurt Fuller (Wayne’s World, Ghostbusters II).”
The film’s protagonist, Desmond (played by Thwaites), lacks the ability to read the fine print in life which tends to affect his professional as well as his personal existence. Similar to the animated text as seen in the 2009 horror/comedy hit Zombieland, Office Uprising presents a “How To Survive A Day At Ammotech”, which Desmond eventually applies throughout the film as a means of survival. Desmond’s co-workers, played by Karan Soni and Kurt Fuller, supplement the comedic elements in areas where Desmond’s character lacks at times. Desmond’s love interest, played by Jane Levy, is the quintessential overachiever attempting to set him straight. Yet Levy’s performance gives us such a likable character that adds the perfect balance of charm and, well, bat-shit crazy (watch the film to find out why).
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As for the film’s antagonist, played by Zachary Levi, Office Uprising would not have been the same. Levi’s stellar performance of the deranged micromanaging psychopath could have you applauding the bad guy instead. Even as a ravenous zombie he continues to apply corporate lingo while delivering lines such as, “Desmond, don’t be too sad. We have a killer severance package”, followed by a group of blood-soaked zombies ready to kill Desmond.
The zombie outbreak is contained within the Ammotech corporate building as our central characters attempt to fight their way out. The building’s various departments present different environments and challenges for our characters. This format keeps the film entertaining and engaging without tirelessly expelling repeated sequences. Personally, one of my favorite scenes takes place within the human resources department, where we find a large group of women brutally bludgeoning a fellow employee. After the final blow, the head HR employee looks up and announces, “Okay. This is why we do not send work e-mails with emoticons!” Following the brutal events that take place within Ammotech, Office Uprising sets up a very satisfying third act. The character development is strong and well written, presenting quite a few surprises by the final sequences of the film.
Penned by Peter Gamble Robinson (Trenches) and Ian Shorr (Splinter), Office Uprising tackles the stereotypes of the corporate work environment in a similar fashion as The Belko Experiment (2016) and Mayhem (2017). I am not contending their similarities, but rather, the differences that set Office Uprising apart by the use of its comedic elements and violence in a well acted/written script. And yes, I am a fan of the other two films as well. The film’s script was very well done when it came to character backstories. At times, films tend to give obvious, seemingly unnatural, dialogue by going into nonsensical details about central characters and their relationships to one another. On the other hand, Office Uprising offers subtle details allowing us to figure the characters out meanwhile maintaining its steady pace.
Office Uprising presented an interesting commentary on violence, particularly with guns and artillery. Although clearly done in parody, the film’s opening sequence, done in the form of an Ammotech commercial, presented the company’s president expressing the beneficial use of heavy artillery for the sake of “safety” of the American People. The slogan reads, “The World’s Leading Innovator Of Weapons Of Mass Protection”. The commercial illustrates the use of a flamethrower torching a foreign soldier as the company president narrates, “And we taught those Krauts about another great American pastime: the barbecue.” Ironically, heavy artillery is the only way the uninfected will survive the zombie horde even as the president pleas to Desmond with the hilarious dialogue, “This is a weapons manufacturing firm, violence has no place in here.”
Office Uprising definitely lives up to its name and the online hype anticipated prior to the film’s release. It’s a film with plenty of laughs and violence. More importantly, Office Uprising is a character driven film with a lot of heart. Check out Office Uprising on Sony’s free streaming service Crackle. And maybe next time, you’ll think twice before sipping on your next energy drink.
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