Corporate Animals – Sundance Film Festival London Review

Movies can be many things. They can be life-changing dramas that go on to win Oscars. They could be epic blockbusters, seeing phenomenal fighting sequences on the big screen. They could be whacky comedies, stirring spectacles, the batshit insane, and the ones filled with pain.

Sometimes, they are just dumb, That’s Corporate Animals – a nasty little comedy “horror” that is both hilarious and silly and owns it completely.

Directed by Patrick Brice the film revolves around employees of the Incredible Edibles – America’s premiere provider of eatable cutlery. CEO Lucy is an egotistical manager who takes her long-suffering employees on a retreat through the caving systems of New Mexico. Once inside, a cave-in happens, killing their guide. The employees now have to survive which would be easier if they didn’t all hate each other. Cue hilarious antics, sexual tension, business revelations, and as Wikipedia calls it, “casual cannibalism.”

Directed Brice has gifted us with many funny and different movies such as found-footage horror Creep and, my favourite, The Overnight. Corporate Animals may just be his stupidest movie yet that works because it is as hilarious as it is bonkers. Unfortunately for our ragtag bunch of employees (who don’t necessarily like each other,) everything that’ll happen in a daring cave-in rescue, happens. And it is comical to watch it unfold in this, frankly, bizarre manner. There’s the tasteless and the downright stupid as well as the inspired and bloody brilliant.

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The acting talent is on-point: Demi Moore leads the cast as the insufferable Lucy whilst Jessica Williams and Karan Soni play her hapless assistants vying for a better position – with Soni being the true star here as he realises exactly the trauma Lucy has put them through. But the movie also features Ed Helms, Isiah Witlock Jr, Nasim Pedrad, and more who bring their own different energies from the deadpan to the whacky.

The film does dive into power-structures and how bosses can manipulate their employees into working hard, doing sexual favours, and also venturing down a great big cave. This iota of meaning does give some depth to our characters and why they may behave in a certain way. However, it isn’t fleshed out as well as it could be and with our gang of helpless lead characters, you can’t help but want more from them.

Still, Corporate Animals is a romp. Well – not a romp – because they are stuck underground, but an adventure nonetheless. It’s laugh out loud hilarious whilst also making your toes curl in the most exquisite and perfect way. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but for fans of Brice’s previous work and those who can appreciate the outright perfect dumbness of this movie will absolutely adore it.

It is as though 127 Hours took one big bong hit and just kept going…Corporate Animals is a comedy delight!


Corporate Animals plays at Sundance Film Festival London 
30th May – 2 June 

The Death of Dick Long – Sundance Film Festival London Review

Swiss Army Man is arguably one of the best (and misunderstood) movies of 2016. The black comedy titled from directors’ Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (collectively known as Daniels) revolved around Paul Dano’s castaway character who finds a dead body (played by Daniel Radcliffe in what is, again, arguably his best performance) and uses it to get off the island.  The movie is a splice of magical realism that balanced the downright bizarre with an absolute emotional journey, Swiss Army Man was a tender and hilarious film that most need to see.

I’m saying this because the minute Scheinert’s name appeared on the screen for The Death of Dick Long, I knew it was going to be an absolute fucked-up ride with emotional beats throughout.

Part sick comedy, part mystery, and part family drama, The Death of Dick Long revolves around three friends, Zeke, Earl, and the titular Dick who are in a band together. After practise, they decide to kick their drinking up a notch and things get a little weird.  Starring Michael Abbott Jr, Virigina Newcomb, and Andre Hyland,

The Death of Dick Long is a ultimately about two dopey men who have fucked up massively and continue to do so as they try to cover their tracks. The pair are a naïve and bumbling duo who come across as teenagers stuck in men’s bodies. There’s a scene where the flippant Earl has to lie to Dick’s suffering wife. The scene is treated as though Earl is a child who avoids eye contact because he knows he has messed up and it’s great to watch Andre Hyland play with this adolescent filming. It’s even set at a school! Their absolute travesty in shirking responsibility and their crimes make for a compelling watch.

What pulls Dick Long out of the ham-fisted slapstick territory is Scheinert’s ability to flesh these characters out, namely Zeke. Played greatly by Michael Abbot Jr, Zeke’s journey here is a complex one and yet surprisingly a tragic one too. The film may be about that moment allude to in the title but it’s also about Zeke accepting that parts of himself are just…fucked up. As he tries to hide it from his family – getting into all sorts of hi-jinks along the way. Not the most likeable of heroes, but certainly one that you empathise with most, Abbott is terrific alongside Scheinert’s confident direction.

The Death of Dick Long is picturesque too which does wonders in juxtaposing the tone. As mentioned before, this could easily have become silly. Yet linger shots that allow the actors to open up, the back-streets of small town Alabama, and reflections across a quiet lack leave inedible impressions.

With shades of The Coen Brothers, The Death of Dick Long is a reverent film that subverts its own twist. By piecing together beautiful cinematography and incredible performances from Michael Abbott Jr, Newcomb, and Andre Hyland, Scheinert’s film burns with an almost poetic heart.

Those special “things got weird” nights have happened to the best of us and what Scheinert’s does here is humanize the weird and whilst Dick Long is a funny watch, it is also an impossibly tragic one too.


The Death of Dick Long is playing at Sundance Film Festival London 30th May to 2 June!