*full disclosure: an online screener of this film was provided by Vision Films.
It is hard to recommend a film that borrows so heavily from others. The Employer, from director Frank Merle, is an almost complete adaption of Stuart Hazeldine's United Kingdom shot Exam (2009). Both films deal with anonymous corporations and strange hiring practices. While it is not unusual to see a horror film borrow from another, The Employer is a film that this critic has seen many times before. And, The Employer does not bring anything new to the claustrophobic style of filmmaking, which has been seen in films such as The Steam Experiment, 247°F and many others. Instead, this film is very predictable, with Malcolm McDowell's performance as the boss, the only reason to watch.
Exam and The Employer have very comparable stories. Both films deal with some very ambitious job seekers. Their ambition is turned into murder by a potential employer, with several prospects forced to kill their competitors off for the number one spot. If they do not kill, then they will not get the job and they will also likely die in a small room. Dehydration and starvation are only a few days away. And, both of these films show how human nature can turn to evil in a very short period of time. But, if you have seen one film, then you have seen the other. There is very little new material inThe Employer.
Is this employer the Devil?
The performance by Malcolm McDowell is compelling, however. McDowell is the employer and there is a danger behind those eyes and in each of his lines. McDowell projects evil intent in many of his scenes and his performance notably stands out from the other actors. This expertise in delivery comes from his experience. McDowell has performed in over 200 films and his experience is utilized onscreen. It is too bad that more emphasis was not placed on McDowell's character, compared to others.
The Employer is just too predictable to recommend. The plot develops in a very linear fashion, with a few flashbacks setting up some of the characterizations. Viewers will know how the story unfolds before it happens. This title is from the horror genre, after all. Soon, the worst of humanity is on the screen as one sociopath takes on another for a six figure salary. There can be only one winner and most horror fans will be able to pick that person out. Unfortunately, the material here is a little too repetitious and The Employer's story has been seen in film several times before.
This title will release June 7th and film fans might want to read other reviews before seeking The Employer out. In this critic's opinion, The Employer does not add much to the confined space style of horror filmmaking. The Employer just does not offer enough surprises to recommend. And, film fans might be better served watching Inhuman Resources, which offers a new take on this style of moviemaking, rather than this outing. Simply, The Employer is too light on substance and heavy on predictable storylines.
Overall: 6 out of 10 (this film has been done several times before in a similar fashion, repetitious, characters are mostly well rounded, the protagonist finds an arc).
A trailer for the film has previously been posted on 28DLA:
The Trailer for The Employer on 28DLA
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