After “Saw,” you could basically build an entire sub-genre around horror movies involving a group of strangers whom wake up in an abandoned location and endure a painful series of trials that teach them some lesson and reveal secrets. Thankfully, director Daniel Krige’s film “Inhuman Resources” (once known as “Redd, Inc”) works because it’s not only unique in its delivery of the premise, but darkly funny, too.
I often wondered why the characters in this movie awaken strapped to desks and don’t seem bothered by this scenario in the beginning, but Krige and the writers for “Inhuman Resources” draw attention to the ridiculous scenario enough to where it’s funny but never devalues the picture as a whole. “Inhuman Resources” is set after a vicious murderer called “The Head Hunter” is caught by police. Years later, gorgeous Annabelle awakens in an office with five other people strapped to desks. They’re brought together by the fact that they all were involved in the head hunter case, and have been forced to endure a series of menial office tasks by Thomas Reddmann, the escaped killer who insists that he was framed for the murders. At first he forces the group to type out long documents and follow very rigid time schedules, and then begins forcing the group to reveal his true innocence.
Donning a hook hand, he forces his prisoners to uncover facts about the case his original legal team didn’t, and with error comes vicious punishments. The scenario is thankfully always fresh and entertaining as the prisoners first do their best to suffer through the tedium, and then realize that they have to begin following orders or else be viciously murdered by Reddmann. Every person caught by Reddmann has to find clues to the murder and discover proof that ensures he is innocent. Along the way they begin planning an escape. What helps the film from becoming another dull “Saw” wannabe are the great performances from the entire cast.
There isn’t a single weak performer in the group, and Krige arouses some great laughs from the reactions of the prisoners, all of whom have little respect for one another. James MacKay is hilarious as smart aleck defense attorney Rudy Khan who responds to every grisly and unusual situation with a witty one-liner. He also has a hell of a time giving the police “psychic” Sheena a hard time throughout the trials and torture they receive. Sam Reid also pulls in a good performance as William Tucker, the empathetic delivery man who bonds with Annabelle. Kelly Paterniti is takes charge as the inadvertent heroine of the picture who struggles to cope with the tasks handed out by Reddmann and begins to discover inconsistencies of her very own. The movie relies on her charm and charisma to sell the terror of the situation, and she is more than up to the task with her turn as the wry young vixen.
Meanwhile as villain Reddmann, Nicholas Hope is fantastic as the accused killer who has gone beyond all hope of sanity and becomes the ultimate boss from hell, carving points in to the foreheads of his workers, and filing body parts in to his own personalized cabinets. Hope dives head first in to the role and becomes a complex villain who is sympathetic enough to where you understand his goal for this revenge, but are always horrified to see what he’ll do next. “Inhuman Resources” takes various twists and turns with surprises and vicious violence (by Tom Savini) and torture dealt to those who step out of line to Reddmann, but it always keeps its tongue firmly in cheek as a darkly comedic and consistently funny horror film. I was pleasantly surprised at how entertaining “Inhuman Resources” was, and it kept me smiling until its sick final scene.