The evils of corporate culture.
Derek is not having a good day. He has had to shoot down an attempt at extending a loan by a desperate client, Melanie, gets to take the blame for a mismanaged legal case he had nothing to do with and gets fired for confronting his superiors about this (and not taking a severance package). When the corporate offices are quaranteed because of a deadly virus, which removes inhibitions, Derek uses the opportunity and chaos to physically climb up the tower to get back. He is accompanied by Melanie, who didn’t get out of the tower in time and wants to resolve her own situation.
In the opening, Derek tells us a tale of a man, who was acquitted for murder, because he had the virus. This becomes the basis for much of what happens in the movie, as the virus can be used as leverage. You can kill people freely, so why not use that for negotiations, if you don’t have anything else? I find this an interesting metaphor for the corporation or corporations in general. As the corporation is in itself a juridical person, the people working within it are legally required to work to it’s advantage, which means that people can externalize the guilt of whatever they need to do for their job. Someone asks me to ruin someonee else’s life by firing them? Well, what can you do? The corporation requires you to unload pollutants into the nearest river? Rather wouldn’t, but there you are. Are you serving food you know isn’t nutritious at all? That rent is not going to pay itself.
And because the corporate culture and structures themselves make sure that only the most ruthless people will survive the gauntlet and move forwards. Or upwards, as in our corporate office tower. Here, the CEO is an asshole, who is addicted to cocain and when informed that his company will be shut down for at least eight hours, the first thing he does is calculate the amount of money he is going to lose.
Even Derek, who is our hero, follows the corporate line and is only ready to sacrifice himself when he is threatened to be sacrificed by the corporation in order to keep a client. While he acts like an asshole with Melanie in the beginning, we do see a moment of goodness from him early on, except that the moment is in itself very problematic. There’s a colleague of his, who is verbally assaulting his secretary. Derek stops this by showing the guy a video of the guy being fellated by a woman in his office and threatening to show it to the guys wife. Okay, so Derek has this information and is just sitting on it, waiting for an opportunity to pull it out? What the fuck? Shouldn’t you try to speak to HR about this?
Melanie is played by Samara Weaving, who at this point can probably be safely named the patron saint of this little subgenre of horror comedy after this, Ready or Not and The Babysitter, as well as a role in Ash vs Evil Dead. She obviously has a career outside of it, but I do enjoy her in these roles, so I wouldn’t mind seeing her in more of them.
While there are often sex scenes in horror movies, in this one they are justified, which is in a way refreshing. People are losing control over their desires, so there’s just someone having sex in the background at some points. The amount of gratuitous nudity is still quite limited.