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When Dorine Douglas' job as proofreader for Constant Consumer Magazine is turned into an at-home position during a downsizing, she doesn't know how to cope, but after accidentally killing one of her co-workers, she discovers that murder can quench the loneliness of her home life, as a macabre office place forms in her basement, populated by dead co-workers. Written by
Mike Myers <email@example.com>
An early draft of the script featured more violence and gore, but director Cindy Sherman felt the focus should be on what Dorine does with the bodies once she has killed them, not how. See more »
When Dorine's cats are scratching under the basement door, you can see that a toy is being waved under the door. See more »
At Constant Consumer Magazine there is but one constant rule: get the job done. This can be hazardous, however, when the laws of economics effect our workplace and threaten to downsize us. For those of you who cannot keep pace with such changes, be forewarned: you will be terminated.
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In the mid-90's, there was this weird trend where 80's New York art stars were all given the chance to direct feature films. The less-than-impressive results: Robert Longo's "Johnny Mnemonic," David Salle's "Search and Destroy," Julian Schnabel's "Basquiat" and finally Cindy Sherman's "Office Killer." That only Schnabel moved on to direct a second feature says a lot about these poor directorial choices. Surprise - just because you can paint a picture or take a photograph doesn't mean you know how to make a movie.
That said, "Office Killer" has a unique look to it: Sherman's photographic eye makes for some nice creepy compositions, even if her philosophy about using a camera cinematically is of the bolt-it-to-the-ground-and-maybe-pan-a-little school. And she works well with cinematographer Russell Fine, though the whole film is shot through a murky lens that had this viewer crying out for the occasional bright exterior just to add a little contrast.
So what went wrong with "Office Killer"? Well, pretty much what you'd predict would go wrong with a photographer director who had never made a film before: uneven pacing; more attention paid to the setup of a shot than to what's going on in it; a lack of tension; and a cast who, with the exception of the ever-willing Carol Kane, don't seem to know what to do. Aware that they're working for a famous photographer, they quietly obey, even while Sherman clearly has little experience in working with actors. Michael Imperioli and Jeanne Tripplehorn have been far better elsewhere, Barbara Sukowa is flat-out bad, and Molly Ringwald is her usual depthless self. The script is also somewhat leaden, given its dark comic potential.
"Office Killer" is still a curiosity, interesting mainly for aficionados of Cindy Sherman's work (and you've got to admire those cool opening credits), though horror fans who enjoyed the better-received "May" (which I personally didn't care for) might like this movie's look and mood. As for me, I couldn't shake off the feeling that this is the product of a bunch of chuckling New York hipsters who thought they were doing something "postmodern" and "ironic" but only churned out something uninspired and limp... albeit artsy.
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