No, it is not yet another sequel to The Descent (2005), it is a “new” spelunking expedition into horror, this time, with a healthy dose of humor in director Patrick Brice’s cannibal comedy, Corporate Animals (2019). Brice’s dark, black, bloody comedy throws its cast into a pressure cooker where they themselves are the meaty dinner for the audience to devour. This movie is perhaps best summarized as being a cross between The Office and 127 Hours (2010), however, in my opinion, does not do itself justice.
By a third of the way through I was already thinking that Corporate Animals was too long, which was a bad sign. I felt the scenes of bickering, speckled with a few funny lines here and there, grew repetitive by the 5th day of the movie — they were trapped for about 10 days. The extremely tight space of their cave setting did not help, as there was nothing for the cast to interact with but dirt, rocks, and each other, and despite there being 10 characters, there was not much going on besides the in-fighting. The cast plays typical office caricatures, despite being stacked with budding comedy heavyweights such as Jessica Williams and Karan Soni.
In the film, Lucy (Demi Moore), is a slightly well-meaning but mostly egotistical boss that corrals her employees into going on a spelunking team-building exercise. With a guide, Brandon (Ed Helms) in tow, the team begins their descent, but soon after, a tremor causes a cave-in that traps them in one small cavern. Faced with starvation, dehydration, and without their medications, the team members quickly find themselves at each other’s throats with frustration. Eventually, they find that though there is no -I- in team, one can definitely spell m-e-a-t!
Nobody likes a stale joke, and I would describe two-thirds of Corporate Animals as such, however, a minor blip of action in the third act and perhaps the most psychedelic body horror I have seen breathe new life into the film, and made the first parts slightly worth the drag. For the cast being in a high intensity, life or death situation, the portrayal felt as static as the setting — I wasn’t expecting Twelve Angry Men or anything, but at least something that didn’t feel like a waste of an otherwise good cast. Neither good nor bad, writer Sam Bain’s script and by extension the whole movie felt lazy and perhaps should have been a short movie, as overall, Corporate Animals seemed to rely on its cast of familiar faces.
I hate to be a downer, but for it being a dark comedy I didn’t laugh out loud once, and the carnage should have gone a lot further than it did for there being a cannibalism element. Whether leaning towards comedy or horror, upping the ante on gore would have served either aspect better, but what was produced did not live up to the hype of a movie starring Demi Moore & Ed Helms and directed by the maker of Creep (2014). If you find the dick and drug jokes of Happy Madison Productions entertaining then you may find similar sentiments in Corporate Animals, available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and streaming.
5.5 out of 10