As fans, we know that creating an effectively scary horror film is a near miracle. It is also rare to make a comedy with genuine laughs. Trying to make a movie that does both is nearly impossible. So, it’s not much of a criticism to say Corporate Animals had a tough task ahead of itself from the start but with a fantastic crew behind the camera and a stellar cast in front of it, Corporate Animals has all the right ingredients for a perfect horror-comedy recipe.
Lucy, played by Demi Moore (Mr. Brooks), is the CEO of a major company that makes edible cutlery, for some reason. She is also just the absolute worst. She’s mean, she’s demanding, she’s mildly racist and she just can’t understand why those who work for her aren’t motivated at work. What does a disconnected executive do in such a scenario? Looks like it’s time for a team-building corporate retreat!
Lucy grabs her team and heads for a caving expedition in New Mexico. As Lucy puts it, “If we can navigate the deepest cave systems of New Mexico, we can navigate the challenges of today’s business environment”. Has no one on the team seen The Descent?! Rather than figuratively “surviving” this boring retreat the group is forced to fight for survival when they become trapped underground. As tensions rise and supplies dwindle, the group begins to turn on each other. Secrets are exposed, shenanigans are discovered and the team starts to unravel. Rather than come together and work as a group to get out with their lives, the experience causes the group to become each others worst enemy. Will anyone survive this corporate retreat?
Corporate Animals is Patrick Brice’s fourth feature, already well known for his MumbleGore staples Creep and Creep 2– two films that are masterworks in doing so much with so little. Both feature minimal casts, crews and equipment and despite these limitations, are some of the best horror features in decades. So, when I heard Brice’s fourth feature would be a horror film about folks trapped in a collapsed cave, I got super excited. He seems like the perfect captain for that ship and he utilizes many of his minimalist skills here. Corporate Animals leans more heavily into comedy than his previous work, and features a who’s who of comedic actors including Ed Helms (The Office), Jessica Williams (The Incredible Jessica James), Karan Soni (Deadpool) and Nasim Pedrad (SNL).
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Sadly, I think the over-reliance on comedy and silliness hurt the movie. Part of what has made Brice so effective in the past is finding depth and range in his comedian leads. Here he isn’t looking for depth, he’s looking for laughs. While the aim may have been to be lighter, it is a little too light at times. In the end, it does feel a bit sit-com’ish at times, which is to say it relies more on letting go and having fun than on deep social messages, but If you’re looking for a laugh with some very dark edges, Corporate Animals is the flick for you.
While the premise could lead to a bunch of hackney, forgettable stuff, it’s clear this movie is in capable hands with both Brice and Demi Moore, who turns in a fantastic performance as Lucy. They elevate this movie from being a goofy sit-com episode into something entirely different. It’s funny, it’s gory and you’ll have a lot of fun with Corporate Animals.
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Review: CORPORATE ANIMALS
Corporate Animals has all the right ingredients for a perfect horror-comedy recipe. Sadly, I think the over-reliance on comedy and silliness hurt the movie. In the end, it does feel a bit sit-com’ish at times, which is to say it relies more on letting go and having fun than on deep social messages, but If you’re looking for a laugh with some very dark edges, Corporate Animals is the flick for you.