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Film / Office Uprising

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Office Uprising is a 2018 horror-comedy directed by Lin Oeding. It stars Brenton Thwaites, Jane Levy, Karan Soni, Zachary Levi, and Kurt Fuller.

Desmond (Thwaites) is a 20-something slacker that works at a weapons factory, trying not to let his incompetency become noted. But when an energy drink causes his coworkers to become psychopathic, raging monsters, he has to fight his way out alongside his crush and any employees that haven't been infected.

This film contains the following tropes:

  • Air-Vent Passageway: Subverted. After the Elevator Failure Desmond, Samantha and Mourad try to escape via the vents, but they can't fit Samantha and the hand truck she's taped to into the vent, so they give up.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Nusbaum cuts off Gantt's hand to secure his fingerprints.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Nusbaum is able to get into Gantt's office without his password because thanks to the expense reports that came through accounting he knows that while the door is impregnable, the walls are made of cheap materials that they can easily break through.
  • Bad Boss: Nusbaum rips off Marcus' arm to use it as fuel for the Powered Armor. He also has other Zolted employees maul another to death for dropping a shipment of Zolt.
  • Berserk Button: Nusbaum can't stand poor performance from his employees. He starts screaming in rage when Desmond starts telling him he's only done a few weeks of work in the months he's been employed at the company and he's been using company resources to create his game.
  • Boom, Headshot!: After cutting off Gantt's hand, Nusbaum blows his head off with his shotgun.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Desmond and Mourad pick up several weapons on display in the museum portion of the office building, such as a pair of revolvers, a bolt-action rifle, Tommy gun, grenade launcher, and land mines.
  • Chekhov's Armory: The opening commercial features automatic weapons, land mines, and flamethrowers, all of which are used in the climax.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Powered Armor that's powered by organic matter.
    • Desmond's gore-covered report, which the head of R&D found in the trash.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Mourad manages to stay uninfected because it's Ramadan.
  • Death by a Thousand Cuts: An unlucky employee who got on Nusbaum's bad side is shown having been stabbed dozens of times with pencils.
  • Dual Wielding: During one of the office brawls, Lentworth uses a pair of short wooden poles as improvised spears.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Desmond, Samantha, and Mourad manage to escape Ammotech and stop Zolt from spreading, and Desmond and Samantha kiss.
  • Easing into the Adventure: The first 20 minutes show a regular day at Desmond's office. Then when he arrives the next morning, everything goes to hell.
  • Elevator Failure: Desmond, Samantha, and Mourad try to escape using the elevator, but it won't respond correctly and as they watch, it crashes to the bottom of the shaft.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The head of R&D does admit to stealing credit for Zolt from another researcher. However, he'd thought the guy would get his own back on him through the court, not by handing out the flawed cans of Zolt to the employee and turning them all into murderous psychopaths.
  • Fingore: Samantha bites Desmond's finger early on while he tries to restrain her.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: Mourad uses a flamethrower during the climax to briefly ward off the Zolted employees.
  • Foreshadowing: Early in the film, Nusbaum tells Desmond that "not everyone will be here by the end of the week". Sure enough...
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Nusbaum wears glasses and is the main villain.
  • Guns Akimbo: Desmond briefly wields two revolvers during the climax.
  • The Heavy: Adam Nusbaum isn't responsible for giving Zolt to the employees, but he's the most violent and pressing antagonistic force. Then he decides to spread Zolt to the rest of the world...
  • Idiot Hero: Desmond, whose refusal to read instructions (he hadn't even read the employees' manual) winds up hamstringing him several times.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: While trying to escape the building, Desmond, Mourad and Samantha pass a corpse that was impaled with a long stake.
  • Improvised Weapon: Numerous.
    • Tony the desk guard is shown with a mug driven into the back of his head.
    • Nusbaum turns a Zolt can into a shuriken and uses it to kill Bob.
    • Desmond kills Carter with a broken clipboard.
  • In-Universe Factoid Failure: Desmond confuses aspects of Islam (Ramadan) and Hinduism (Shiva).
  • Inertial Impalement: Mourad kills an employee by moving his (scissor-armed) hand backward at just the right moment for the employee to run onto the scissors.
    Mourad: I did not do that! That was not my fault!
  • It Only Works Once: It's explained that the cure only has a chance of working on Samantha because she didn't drink a full dose of Zolt, where anyone else has basically already had their brains scrambled after drinking at least a full can of it.
  • Karma Houdini: The unnamed researcher who distributed Zolt to the other employees and set off the entire chain of events never gets his comuppance. They never even encounter him.
  • Killing for a Tissue Sample: Nusbaum tells his Mooks to "bring [him] Gantt's thumb".
  • Life Saving Misfortune: Desmond escapes being infected by Zolt because he arrived at work so late that he saw how it affected everyone else before he could have a can himself (Mourad was fasting and Samantha fortunately hadn't finished her drink by the time Desmond found her).
  • The Load: Samantha spends the first half of the film after everything goes to hell taped to a hand truck because Desmond and Mourad can't risk her succumbing to her infection and attacking them.
  • Lying to Protect Your Feelings: Desmond decides not to tell Mourad that the one man he killed on purpose, thinking he was saving Desmond, was only pretending to be on Zolt to stay alive.
  • Made of Plasticine: Carter winds up being killed when Desmond breaks a clipboard on his head, the broken pieces fall onto the floor, followed by Carter, who gets stabbed through the head on one of the broken pieces.
  • Myopic Architecture: Franklin Gantt made a crucial mistake when designing his panic room; the doors are made from two-inch thick metal, but the walls are not only standard but were actually built by a cheap contractor, making it easy for the deranged workers to break in that way.
  • Never Found the Body: Carl the security guard isn't seen at his station when Desmond pulls up, and he's never seen either as a Zolted employee or as a corpse.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Desmond tries to break a window with a computer, which results in the entire building being locked down.
  • No Peripheral Vision: When Desmond shows up to work one day, he doesn't spot that several of his fellow employees are dead.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The call centre department is basically useless, with Desmond questioning the merits of creating a new department as a cost-cutting measure and the woman he reaches talks about needing permission for making a call out to the police to warn them about the current situation even as Desmond insists people are trying to kill him.
  • Off with His Head!: Nusbaum decapitates Bob with a shuriken made from a Zolt can.
  • Powered Armor: The AT 1000 Exoskeleton, a prototype developed by Ammotech. It has missile launchers, wrist-mounted machine guns, and is powered by organic matter. The techs developing it use lettuce, but one of them expresses the desire of just picking up any small creature and using that instead. Later on, we see that a human arm will suffice as fuel.
  • Psycho Serum: Zolt, the energy drink. It was meant for soldiers to increase their aggression, but the first batch made was flawed and turns the drinker into a rampaging monster as the cerebral cortex erodes.
  • Race Against the Clock: During the climax, Desmond and Mourad have thirty minutes to find the cure for Zolt before Samantha succumbs and becomes permanently deranged.
  • Sanity Slippage: Lentworth ultimately snaps and decides to drink the Zolt knowing the side-effects, which leads to him being torn apart by the attackers when he tries to join them.
  • "Save the World" Climax: The second half of the climax (the first is Find the Cure! for Samantha) is destroying Ammotech to stop Nusbaum from distributing Zolt to the rest of the world.
  • Severed Head Sports: Several of the marketing department employees are shown playing with a severed head, which gets tossed at Desmond.
  • Shoot the Bullet: Desmond kills several Zolt-crazed employees by shooting a glass bowl full of shotgun ammunition, which triggers the rest of the shells inside, dispersing the shot and killing his attackers while he hides behind a desk out of the 'blast radius'.
  • Slashed Throat: Mourad accidentally cuts an infected employee's throat during the brawl.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: During the second half of the film, Mourad rips off the sleeves to his sweater and shirt.
  • Stock Scream: A Wilhelm scream is heard in the flimís opening.
  • Tainted Veins: Those who have drunken Zolt develop these. The reason why Samantha hasn't is that she drank a smaller amount.
  • Unfortunate Names: It's pointed out in-universe that Adam Nusbaum's name on his office door looks like it says Anus Balm.