Zombie comedy movies tend to be a bit hit and miss. For every Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland, you’ll find dozens of others that fail to hit the mark. 2018 movie Office Uprising is one that managed to slip completely under my radar and had been sitting on my now extensive Netflix watch-list for quite a while now. It’s certainly not one of the hits, but with an impressive cast, all fully committed to the wild and crazy story-line, it’s one that just about avoids turning into a complete miss.
Desmond (Brenton Thwaites) works in the accounting department of Ammotech, a company selling a wide variety of ammo and weaponry. He’s your stereotypical slacker, turning up late for work, neglecting to read important company memos and developing his own 8-bit video game while on company time. He works alongside Mourad (Karan Souni) and Lentworth (Kurt Fuller), has a crush on Samantha from HR (Jane Levy) and reports to boss Adam Nusbaum (Zachary Levi).
As he picks up his clipboard (people don’t stop you for a chat if you’re carrying a clipboard), Desmond gives us a brief “How To Survive A Day At Ammotech” tour of this multi-story corporation, explaining how the higher the floor, the bigger the douchebags you’ll find – from sales, through HR, to upper management.
With news of a company merger and likely redundancies sweeping through the office, a motivational seminar is called for all employees. Desmond skips this though, heading home instead to complete the report that he should have already finished. When he returns to work the following day, he fails to notice the blood splattered walls and dead colleagues draped across their cubicles. It’s only when called into the office of a more agitated than usual Mr Nusbaum that he notices things aren’t quite right. Turns out that everyone who attended the seminar had been drinking an experimental new drink called “Zolt”, that was manufactured in-house, and now everyone has become crazed “zombies”.
I say “zombies” because they’re not zombies in the traditional sense. Those affected by the weaponised drink are more like crazy psychopaths, still capable of conversation and thinking, but becoming easily angered and highly aggressive. Basically, all of their office working annoyances and traits have become extremely heightened. Mourad, who is currently fasting for Ramadan, is obviously unaffected but Samantha has already drunk half a can of Zolt, so while she is not as dangerous as the other employees, she is still prone to some pretty violent outbursts.
The company’s own security measures mean that the building goes into lock-down, so it’s up to Desmond, Mourad and Samantha to try and work their way through the multiple levels of douchebags we met earlier in order to find a way of stopping the spread of the outbreak and escaping the office.
As I mentioned at the start, it’s the likeable cast who prevent this from being a complete misfire. Office Uprising plays like a mix between Office Space and Shaun of the Dead, but is neither clever, funny or scary. The behaviour of the zombies had a huge negative impact on the movie for me – one minute there’s full on violence all round, with blood and body parts flying, the next it’s reverted to a heated discussion regarding office politics between the infected. There’s an occasional glimmer of fun during some of the action scenes, and a much improved final third, but ultimately this is just an interesting idea poorly executed.