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The first question that would come to mind would be whether Carol Kane
could play a psycho successfully. And after seeing this film, I would
have to say I still don't know because the very tame screenplay didn't
allow her to be a well developed psychotic, nor did it allow any other
sort of development for any other aspect of this film.
The storyline here is very typical. It involves Carol Kane (with very odd penciled in eyebrows) as an awkwardly mousy, hardworking magazine editor in a drab and depressing looking office building where she gets picked on daily. Then, without any time wasted, the inevitable psycho switch gets flipped and she starts killing off her coworkers.
I know that may sound to most like your typical fun slasher, but in fact, it can't even be considered a slasher. Actually, I really don't know what genre to categorize this film in because it dips it's toes in a couple different sub-genres without ever fully concentrating on any one area, therein lying the problem. The resulting film just doesn't quite work. At the start, it seemed to be heading into satire territory with office politics and such, but quickly falls flat because of a major lack of humor. As it went on, it then seemed I was in for a slasher, but all of the murders take place off screen, giving us no chase sequences, creative deaths or gore. Then I expected it to take a turn into suspense, but was left with no tension or any sort of character development whatsoever, so I never cared for anyone or anything enough to ever get involved in the storyline. The writers just didn't seem to know what they really wanted, which kind of left the final product in limbo. And it's pretty disappointing because the photographer turned director, Cindy Sherman, seemed to have talent and would have benefited greatly if it were a straight up thriller.
So what were we meant to feel during this film? It wasn't smart, funny, thrilling or even bloody. Were we supposed to hate and fear Kane? Or were we supposed to root for her? The whole film felt just as awkward as she looked and felt just as drab and boring as the office building looked, which leaves us with no reason to ever want to visit. I would compare this to later films, such as Love Object and the Willard remake, both of which used the same plot techniques, yet executed them in a much more entertaining fashion. Office Killer isn't a terrible film. I give the director and cast credit for trying. But it's just so lifeless that I can't recommend you wasting your time with it.
This is a great horror/comedy.Its got a great plot,a great cast who gives great performances including Molly Ringwald(Teaching Mrs.Tingle,The Breakfast Club),Carol Kane(Jawbreaker,Adams Family Values)& Jeanne Tripplehorn(The Firm,Waterworld).This Movie is funny and a little scary if you watch it in the dark.See this Movie!
I was impressed to see this film had so many bad reviews, both from critics and viewers. I saw it and I actually think it is a very good inside joke, it is only necessary to get the "spirit" of it. Director Cindy Sherman uses gore and some very curious camera positions to make you a little bit scary and also laugh once or twice (not out-loud, though). The performances from Carol Kane (totally crazy) and Molly Ringwald (in a very against-the-type turn) are very good. The supporting cast (German actress Barbara Sukowa and The Soprano's Michael Imperioli) is also interesting. I think this film makes a perfect midnight video snack with some friends.
Don't ever fool around with Dorine Douglas! She will make sure you will
pay for whatever you do to her!
"Office Killer" is a film, judging from most comments submitted to this forum, that deserved better. Cindy Sherman, the director, shows she can deliver a good movie. The film was written by Ms. Sherman and it appears Todd Haynes, a good director himself, helped with the dialog, although he is uncredited.
We don't understand, at the beginning, what is Dorine's motivation for doing what she does, but the key to comprehending what's wrong with her is revealed in flashbacks that shows her as a teen ager when some traumatic events occurred involving her parents. Dorine has been dealt a bad blow from life and her reactions, although extreme, seem to be typical of someone that has been deeply scarred.
The film works because of the wonderful Carol Kane who does some of the best work of her career. Ms. Kane transforms herself into this weird Dorine, who is the butt of all jokes at the magazine where she works. What triggers her spiral unraveling is the downsizing the company is going through that will render her a part timer, losing, no doubt, a good deal of her earnings.
The supporting cast is up to task under Ms. Sherman's direction. Molly Ringwald, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Barbara Sukowa, Michael Imperioli, David Thornton and Alice Drummond, among others, respond well to the director's instructions.
One wishes good luck to Ms. Sherman with future films because she is not afraid, to show it all for the viewer's enjoyment.
Cindy Sherman's winsome, largely misunderstood feature film is surely a
post-modern masterpiece. What could easily have been just another "revenge
fantasy for nerds" becomes, in the hands of this quirky and visionary
artist, an excitingly original psychological horror film, as well as a
scathing satire on office politics, and a subversive parody of the
so-tiresome slasher flick genre.
In Sherman's cynical-yet-bemused world, Woman, especially the emancipated Woman, is a powerful, bitter, and destructive creature, turning against herself and her sisters with vicious glee.
This revelation of the dark side of female emancipation is symbolized brilliantly by poor office worker Doreen (Carol Kane in a stunning amalgam of doormat and psychotic). Doreen is the perfect anti-heroine, a passive-aggressive she-mouse and societal time bomb, molded by crippling abuse since childhood from both men and domineering women. She is emblematic of everything that went wrong when the industrial revolution tried to become "humane" with slapdash injections of social engineering and utopian experimentation.
As in Sherman's stunning photographic work, OFFICE KILLER cleverly illustrates how women can create their own self-image; yet often this occurs in a negative vein. Some have lambasted Sherman for supposedly perpetuating repressive female stereotypes, yet her woman characters are all clearly powerful and autonomous. They forgoe their power to allow subjugation by the workplace, men, or other, more powerful women. They give up their power, or use it self-destructively. Alternately, men are either abusive pricks or cartoonish ciphers.
Sherman's astute eye is all over this glorious film, from the deft compositions to the uncomfortably intimate close-ups to the sweeping textural patterns to the brilliant playing with color, all of which infuses this exciting cinematic experiment with a sense of spontaneity and constant surprise.
This amazing film also performs a virtual cultural miracle: it rescues cinematic "gore" from the hands of misogynist cad-hacks like H. G. Lewis, and makes it playful, theatrical and largely non-punitive. The many corpses laying quaintly about Doreen's living room remind one of Sherman's work with mannequins, her groundbreaking artworks which prophecy through absurd caricature an eventual demise of the objectification of women.
How about "Performance Art - as - Pop Cinema"?
I remembering seeing this in my local video shop and well didn't think
much, but I ended up picking this up anyway, kinda by accident and when
I got round to watching this, well it wasn't bad, not amazing or
brilliant, and not terrible, but somewhere in the middle. I think that
this is the only slasher with an office setting, which is a shame as it
could be quite interesting. To my surprise this movie has quite a few
familiar faces such as Carol Kane (When A Stranger Calls), Molly
Ringwald (The Breakfast Club) and Jeannie Tripplehorn (Basic Instinct).
The plot seemed interesting enough, a mousey employee goes on a killing spree when she's handed her pink slip at the office. The tone is surprisingly light Carol Kane plays her part well as down trodden would be serial killer Doreen, without going over the top and I really enjoyed Molly Ringwald as the bitchy secretary whose sole purpose is to be a total bitch.
But some aspects of this movie simply doesn't work, like the comedy element is almost entirely humourless, the characters are plain and boring and didn't feel for them when they got killed. I would have liked this movie to go a lot darker and the killings to be a lot more innovative instead they were just boring and lacked any thrills.
All in all not a terrible waste of time, but is kind of forgettable which makes this movie very average, but seeing familiar faces in a movie like this is always fun.
Office Killer, written by Elise MacAdam, is the first feature film
directed by Cindy Sherman, best known for clever references to classic
films in her still photography and utilizes some excellently placed
commercial visuals to joke on the slasher film in a very low-key
Sherman always frames for types over specifics of character - this avoidance of in-depth characterization leaves the viewer distanced and uninvolved, and ultimately is what converts the horror-based tale into a comedy. Because we are shown the gloss of the narrative rather than the motivations of the lead character Dorine and her needs, we remain uninvolved except for some tasty flash backs from Dorine that fill in some gaps, the story still remains outside of the character's head.
This movie is strangely entertaining, I don't really know why. The story isn't anything special, it's just the old concept where a harmless person becomes murderous for really vague reasons. Our office killer kills someone by accident, and that somehow makes her start killing people on purpose. Very well, I'll take it. So we get to see her murder a bunch of people, just one after the other, and it's well, there is no right adjective. It's not funny because people are dying gory deaths, it's not shocking because well, look at this thing, but it is pretty good. I believe it's kind of a tongue-in-cheek kind of thing, and I believe it's working. Carol Kane also plays her role very well, helped by the screenplay that's gradually making her character meaner. At one point she encounters some girl scouts selling cookies. What follows is just not cool. Well, maybe a little. I'm also really digging this ending. Either way, this is essentially following a formula, but there's still some creativity involved here and there and I appreciate that.
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.
***SPOILERS*** Hard to take black-comedy that grosses itself out long
before the ending credits. Mousey and introverted magazine proofreader
Dorine Douglas,Carol Kane,is the most effective worker at the office.
When it comes down the grapevine that there's going to be a major
change-over at the magazine Dorine as well as most of the staff are
sent home to do the work and e-mail it in via a new computer system
that being installed.
Dorine looking harmless and nerdy has a deep seeded and unstable violent streak in her and it's this event that eventually bring it out to the surface with murderous results. Not wanting to be at home with her infirmed mother Chalotta, Alice Drummond,and away from her job and fellow workers at the office slowly turns Dorine's sick thoughts into violent actions and it's a quirk of fate that sets it all into motion.
Quietly and secretly killing off her fellow workers at the magazine Dorine hides their bodies in her basement to keep her company. While all this was going on Kim, Molly Ringwald,a writer at the magazine becomes suspicious of Dorine not really knowing whats she doing but that she's somehow trying to get her fired from the job.
Dorine besides murdering her fellow workers is greatly disturbed with Kim who, besides being more popular, seems to be on to her and about to uncover what Dorine's really up to. There's also office manager Norah Reed, Jeanne Tripplehorn who Dorine feels has been embezzling the magazine coffers and is responsible for what's been happening there.
Trying to murder Kim in a dark and empty stairway Kim gets away but is later fired for accusing "sweet and innocent" Dorine of trying to kill her. Norah who befriends Dorine, because her timely article saved the magazine from folding, invites her out to lunch. It's then when she's knocked out in the parking lot by her and brought back to Dorines basement and locked in with all the other stiffs.
Kim getting in touch with Norah's boyfriend Danial, Michael Imperioli, to warn him about how unstable Dorine is as well as Norah being alone with her that afternoon. This has has him driving to the Douglas house looking for her only to find that Kim was right about Dorine, dead right, and that he and Norah were soon to pay the price for not listening to her.
Strange but interesting and not for everyones tastes "Office Killer" takes a while to get off the ground but once it gets going you can't really take your eye off it.
Carol Kane as Dorine is her usual quite and passive self at first but slowly goes postal as the pressure of her job, and putting up with her nagging mom, gets to her and drives Dorine over the brink. We also get an insight of Dorine's relationship with both her mom and dad Peter Douglas, Eric Bogosian,in a number of flashback sequences. The flashbacks indicate that she not only was sexually abused by Peter when she was a young girl but was also responsible for the car accident that took his life, and ended up crippling her mom for life. Which may have well been the reason for her distorted mental state as an adult.
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