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New Releases for Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Corporate Animals

Genre: Horror/Comedy

Directed by: Patrick Brice

Run time: 86 minutes

Rating: R

Format: Video-on-Demand

The Lowdown: Corporate Animals, the ridiculously funny cannibalism comedy starring Demi Moore, is proof that you have to give a movie at least 15 minutes before you pull the plug.

The film, which chronicles a disastrous corporate retreat by Lucy (Moore), the founder/CEO of Incredible Edible Cutlery, opens with an extended get-to-know-everyone sequence that leans too heavy on Ed Helms and doesn’t nail the laughs that it likely intended.

But, then, something pretty awesome happens. The group, which includes Helms’ extreme outdoor guide, Lucy’s office boy-toy Freddie (Karan Soni, Deadpool) and a handful of colleagues packed with familiar comedic faces like Jessica Williams, Isiah Whitlock Jr. and Dan Bakkedahl, finds its groove as soon as a cave-in traps them underground.

Cut off from civilization, but feeling confident that a rescue team will find them quickly, the group tries to make the best. Lucy tells them it’s like their own private escape room.

By day two, factions have formed, and it’s here that Corporate Animals kicks into high gear as anxiety ramps up and secrets are revealed. Freddie accuses Lucy of Weinstein-ing him. A hilarious debate about feminism is launched. And you realize that this was likely the pitch from director Patrick Brice (Creep) and writer Sam Bain, to explore just how quickly a group of office drones would find their humanity stripped down to the bare survival basics.

By day five, desperation is setting in, and the group begins to debate the merits of eating one of their own that died in the cave-in before his flesh is too decayed.

“I’m not saying we should eat Brandon,” Freddie posits, “but if we did, how would we go about it?”

“I took a sashimi class once in college,” Jess offers.

“Did it involve slicing human flesh?” Derek asks.

“No,” Jess says, somewhat dejected, “mostly salmon.”

Corporate Animals just keeps pushing forward into darker, funnier, wholly unexpected territory from there.

By the time an animated Gary Sinise, a food truck and dozens of little amputated arms appear, you’ll be laughing too hard to even wrap your brain around the fact that the tiny lizards the group ate after they found them in a subterranean pool they discovered might possess hallucinogenic qualities.

This is a total discovery movie, the kind of high-concept horror-comedy that shouldn’t work, that rarely ever works, that somehow succeeds not through divine intervention of the movie gods, but because of a very intelligent script, spot-on direction and a game ensemble cast that brings their A-game to play.

BVB highly recommends you seek Corporate Animals out.

The Stuff You Care About: Hot chicks – Yes, Demi Moore still has it.

Nudity – No. Gore – Yes.

Drug use – No.

Bad Guys/Killers – Corporate retreats can be killer.

Buy/Rent – Buy it.

Candy Corn (Epic Pictures/Dread, 85 minutes, Unrated, Video-on-Demand): Writer-director Josh Hasty’s Candy Corn is a smart, meticulously shot ode to horror’s hallowed classics, yet it still manages to forge its own identity without feeling derivative.

Candy Corn travels in the same lane as Halloween and The Evil Dead, upstart independent pictures that surprised viewers and surpassed the expectations of a limited budget.

Hasty shoots his film in a way that looks like vintage John Carpenter and plays like early Sam Raimi with inventive practical effects and smart framing that allows Hasty to disguise his budgetary limitations and convert them into benefits.

The kills are exceptional and several of the actors, particularly Sky Elobar (The Greasy Strangler), go above and beyond to make a lasting impression.

Triggered (Wild Eye Releasing, 104 minutes, Unrated, DVD): Triggered, a social commentary disguised as a meta horror movie, is virtually impossible to take seriously.

Sadly, every creative decision by writer-director Chris Moore falls flat.

The way he writes his main character, Callee (Meredith Mohler), completely undermines any sympathy that audiences might feel for her plight. Callee comes off like a collection of the worst traits of a social justice warrior, proudly and loudly espousing her politically correct leanings to the point of being insufferable. She's essentially the embodiment of every ultra-conservative talking point peddled by far-right media outposts like Fox News to try and sway public opinion against "snowflakes."

Baby Nymph (Wild Eye Releasing, 80 minutes, Unrated, DVD): This experimental-in-theory social media thriller presents its story entirely from the vantage point of a mobile hand-held device, using chat bubbles, filters and emoji’s to present dialogue and advance the story.

There are important messages being debated here, from the impact of online bullying to the dangers of putting too much information online, but the set-up and execution make it extremely difficult to pay attention, much less forge an emotional investment with the two main characters.

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