Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Netherbeast Incorporated

I figured that the first movie I saw at the film fest would be an appropriate one to review on Halloween. Netherbeast Incorporated is an attempt to do for the vampire movie what Shaun of the Dead did for the zombie movie- kind of. Netherbeast is set in corporate America, revolving around a company run completely by vampires. Already this has potential for a very funny movie, with vampires in suits discussing profit margins, while drinking juice boxes of blood.

Darrell Hammond plays the manager as a blend of every Will Ferrell role ever, and Steve Carrel from The Office. There's nothing original about his performance, but it's still so funny. Something has happened to his brain, and he forgot that himself, and everyone around him are vampires. Because of this he inadvertently brings in an efficiency expert (Judd Nelson), and hires a new employee which they refer to as "a first lifer," meaning she's mortal. The office is thrown into a frenzy trying to hide their dark secret from these newcomers.

Steve Burns (you might remember his as Steve from Blue's Clues), plays Otto, the timid lead, who develops feelings for Pearl (Amy Davidson), the new employee. He tries to build a relationship with her, without revealing too much about the company. This leads to some wonderfully awkward scenes with him trying to explain to her the bizarre activities of their co-workers, and why he can only leave the building once every two months.

Most of the movie relies on the same joke over and over- they're businessmen, and they eat people. This results in some unnecessary, and not well executed gore. Also, they're not vampires per se. They don't follow all of the rules, and new restrictions apply. These are all explained through cut aways to power point presentations. These are clumsy, but they work. Finally, the main conflict comes from the "Netherstone" a chunk of rock they all need to survive. It has disappeared, and they need to find it- culminating in a final action sequence that is dull and amateur at best.

It is decidedly low budget, and clearly spent most of the money getting the cast (Dave Foley rounds out the lead roles). I think they put the money where it was best used. Sure it could have looked cleaner, and the action could have been tightened up, but that part wasn't even necessary in the first place. The saving grace of this movie is definitely the interactions between Otto and Pearl, as well as Turner (Hammond) interacting with everyone. This is his first real lead role, and he does it wonderfully.

It gets old, and some parts fall flat, but for the most part, it succeeds in what it sets out to do. Netherbeast is not necessarily a parody, because it doesn't skewer anything specific. It just completely re-invents a genre, and for the most part, does a good job.


Also, The entire short film it was based on can be seen here

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