Okay, so I watched this one because it was released in 1997 and featured Molly Ringwald and Michael Imperioli. So you get Ringwald after her prime “Breakfast Club” days and Imperioli before he went on to his career-defining role as “Christo-fah” on the Sopranos. And when well-known actors get together in their “off-prime” years, the result is often pretty funny.
The premise of OFFICE KILLER seemed interesting enough: An office goes through a down-sizing phase and when a mousy, disgruntled employee gets her pink slip and accidentally electrocutes a co-worker, she gets the taste for the kill and slowly works her way through all of the office jerks. We are clearly meant to relate and then live through her vicariously, imagining all the knuckleheads in our own offices we’d like to annihilate.
The lead is this little woman named Doreen who is mocked and abused by her superiors. She responds as we all should whenever we’re confronted in life by jerks and bullies: she murders them. After she kills each of them, she then brings then down to her basement. In one scene that is mildly funny, she watches TV with the dead bodies like a little girl talking to her dolls at a make-believe tea party. Yeah, she is a sick lady, but through some flashbacks we see that Doreen was abused as a child and her mother, who she lives with, is a pill. Note to filmmakers: why do we care about a killer’s past? I don’t want to worry about the abuse that might lead one to become a psychopathic slasher, I just want to see some slicing and dicing.
The tone of this movie was surprisingly light. Doreen stays her mousy little self as we hear upbeat strings playing in the background to imply that this is also a comedy. That would be fine if the movie had any humor, but it really doesn’t. No real jokes and the characters are kind of blah. I think the premise would have worked if Doreen became a little darker and if her killings were a more innovative. Instead she just goes around the office switching an asthma inhaler with poison and hitting people over the head when they aren’t looking. Boring! Between a Xerox machine and a paper shredder, there are already lots of wonderful opportunities for death that the filmmakers missed.
This movie is very average, but seeing recognizable actors is this kind of dreck is always amusing and at least keeps the attention and for that reason alone, it gets a star.
Rating: * (out of a possible 4)