The Employer Review

by: Sean Brickley

There were a lot of fun elements to this movie. Starting from the top down: Malcolm McDowell. If you’re making a thriller or a sci-fi movie (maybe even a sci-fi thriller) and you can afford it, it’s never a bad idea to have Malcolm McDowell as a member of your cast. This is particularly true when the movie calls for the most sociopathic Human Relations director the corporate world has ever seen.

Five strangers wake up in a room with no means of escape. Initially distrustful of each other, as they calm down and begin to speak with one another they all realize that they are each up for a job at the Carcharias Corporation, a mysterious organization which buys other companies, strips them down and sells them for profit. Before this realization even has time to settle in, the group hears a phone ringing from a nearby air vent. Upon retrieving and answering it the voice on the other end, revealed to be The Employer (McDowell), asks to be put on speakerphone before revealing their eventual fates.

Trying to call the authorities will be useless. The group is limited to five outgoing calls so they must use them wisely. Most importantly, this is their final interview for the position. Each of the five people is direct competition to the other four. The only means of eliminating the competition is (hopefully you’ve figured it out by now) by killing them. While all of this is being explained to the group the viewer can see The Employer casually meandering about his luxurious estate. This is why Malcolm McDowell was so perfect for this role – as the reality of imminent death is setting in on each of the five members, The Employer has a very laid back and easygoing nature. Lastly, as each person dies, a call will come in with a code that they will need in order to open the door and exit the room.

Despite the fact that at this point the group of five has already begun to distrust each other, they decide to make a pact to go against their captor and not kill each other. They further this sentiment by collecting items that they could use in a violent fashion (belts, high-heeled shoes, etc) and storing them in the air vent.

As they begin discussing the ramifications of their current predicament the viewer begins to learn more about them and their highly differing backgrounds. This is done in an interesting manner. First, we see a group of five individuals who are scared for their lives. Second, we see clips of them in their individual interviews with The Employer. It is an interesting contrast to see the faces that they put on in their quest for corporate glory as opposed to their real, primal selves as their situation slowly deteriorates. It’s only a matter of time before self-preservation kicks in and the job is quickly forgotten as each person fights to stay alive.

While it may sound like a rehash of movies of a similar nature (Cube, Unknown (2006), the Saw series, etc), The Employer really isn’t as similar as it seems. The common denominator linking the group is what they all thought was a highly sought after job. That’s it. It’s not due to their lifestyle choices. They don’t have special talents that should help each other survive. They aren’t suffering from amnesia. They are just five people who happened to unfortunate enough apply for a position at a company with really rough hiring practices. Additionally, their deaths aren’t due to elaborately planned out contraptions which give them some kind of horrible decision between dying or being maimed. Their survival is dependent primarily on their ability to kill. That’s why The Employer shouldn’t be put on the same shelf as similar titles. It does a fine job standing out on its own.

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