The 2009 horror comedy Office of the Dead offers a pretty good premise for a satire that hadn’t really been tackled yet in the zombie genre: the lifeless drone that office life can make us. Add in the Shaun of the Dead type photo on the DVD and you anticipate some major zombedy fun.
The setup is pretty straightforward; a leading technology company is experimenting on its workers in an effort to make people happier. Instead…they turn them into zombies! There’s so much office humor potential here, but instead of being a horror version of Office Space, the film gets bogged down by heavy-handed corporate satire that is essentially too detailed to be appreciated by us peons.
For instance, the trio of heroes who needs to stay alive and stop the outbreak sits in a closet watching a motivational video by their CEO, hoping to apply work management techniques to zombie apocalypse survival—maybe we’re supposed to be smirking at the clever parallels, but it just doesn’t touch the right nerve at all. Characters bickering about their positions in the company food chain also fall flat because the humor feels more determined to get across its jabs at office politics than to deliver laughs.
As the trio of heroes gathers more survivors on their journey through the building, office romances bud, an office affair is exposed, and the employees have a sort of round table confessional session. However, the revelations of their secrets mean nothing to the audience because we don’t even know these characters, who are completely underdeveloped due in part to the short hour and fifteen minute running time of the movie and in part to the fact that the majority of the focus is on the three main characters.
The zombie action is nothing new and the zombies are your typical low-budget moaners with a little face paint, but it’s always fun to have the living dead lurking around corners and doing a little feasting. There are a couple of fun zombie segments, but this is no gorefest or scarefest by any means. Office of the Dead could be a made-for-tv attempt by a network like TBS or Lifetime to cash-in on the zombie craze, making it all very cute and vanilla with a tidy romantic ending to appease general audiences.
But there is one standout aspect of Office of the Dead: the guys. HOLY FRICK the office workers in this building are cute! And this is just a taste! I couldn’t even find pix of some of the other guys.