Redd Inc, going by the equally punerific title, Inhuman Resources, in some countries, serves the distinction of being one of only three other horror films that we know of that are set in and around a workplace. The others being Christopher Smith’s Severance and Office Killer, starring Molly Ringwald, which is so obscure, Wikipedia had to help us find it.
Often, as any George Romero scholar will tell you, horror can hold a mirror up to society. Romero’s own body of work encompasses commercialism, racism, civil rights, the war on terror and the instant fame of YouTube. Look at other modern takes of the genre; Lake Mungo’s scares almost take second place to the story of a mother’s loss, Alison Lohman’s desire for a better job kickstarts her problems in Drag Me to Hell and Kill List may be set in the world of hitmen, but we are left to wallow in the suburban ideals of our two leads lives before all that. Using the familiar as a backdrop helps heighten the scares; shifting them from being subtle icy fingers stroking the back of someone’s neck, to the longer lasting impression of jumping out on someone in a sheet, shouting boo and kicking them in the balls. And it’s this testes-crushing position Redd Inc aims for with it’s tale of office politics gone awry.
In Redd Inc, Five strangers, including spunky internet stripper, Annabelle Hale (Kelly Paterniti), wake to find themselves in a darkened office, chained to a desk and being project managed by Thomas Reddman (Nicholas Hope), a convicted serial killer thought to have died in an asylum fire. Reddman, as well as being quite, quite insane, has taken issue with the sentence handed down to him. Despite all evidence to contrary, he is convinced of his innocence and has ‘employed’ our protagonists to find out the ‘truth’. Failure to adhere to his ever-changing company policy, leads to a permanent dismissal.
Redd Inc teeters on the precipice of torture porn without, thankfully, realising it’s Eli Roth potential. Instead, we’re gleefully reminded of Peter Jackson’s work before he started dicking around with hobbits, and the 80s schlock of Tom Savini. Which is appropriate enough, as the goateed goremeister makes a cameo, as well as providing the means with which to lop people’s limbs off as and when necessary.
Anyone who has seen Bad Boy Bubby will know Hope is adept at playing crackpot and his Reddman is no exception. Flipping between scary zen-like calm and irascible bastard the next, Hope chews away the furniture and cast till there’s nothing left. There’s a delicious black humour that runs through the film as well. Black humour that benefits from everyone playing it perfectly straight. When Reddman begins to file literally everything away in his cabinet, it would be tempting to do comedy turns to camera, but director, Daniel Krige, ensures that the scenes stay as black as old Tommy’s coffee.
It’s not all sunshine and carveries, the ending does seem to over-egg the pudding and there’s a danger of it all falling apart as result. However, unlike The Last Exorcism, which broke its subtle build up like a sledgehammer on a kitten, it’s not too detrimental. The previous hour is so absurdly macabre that it’s easy enough to forgive it and bury the hatchet.