Dementamania (2013)

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Dementamania (2013)Starring Sam Robertson, Vincent Regan, Geoff Bell, Kal Penn, Holly Weston\

Directed by Kit Ryan

Kit Ryan, director of 2007’s bloody and fun Stephen Dorff vehicle Botched, takes his second stab behind the camera with Dementamania — a look at mental deterioration amidst the daily grind of office politics. Sam Robertson stars as Edward, an unassuming everyman working in software development who finds his day getting off on *ahem* the wrong foot when he accidentally stands on a large wasp lying on the floor of his apartment. Of course, something bad is obviously going to happen as a pre-credit sequence has already shown us this same wasp emerging from under the skin of an apparent case of suicide before making its blood-soaked flight to Edward’s place.

Plagued by the sting on the sole of his foot, Edward sets off to work, where he is forced to endure the endless stream of back-stabbing, shit-talking, glory-seeking and unreasonable management requests that populate his working hours. As the day wears on and Edward becomes ever-more agitated, the sting on his foot appears to be spreading an infection throughout his leg while he imagines himself taking violent, bloody cathartic action against his workmates — from biting out the throat of a snivelling member of upper management to a full-on office massacre. Also dealing with the fallout of the recently terminated relationship with his ex-girlfriend, Edward’s ever-building disdain for the world and everyone in it seems to be building towards an inevitable nuclear explosion of frustration.

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Except… it doesn’t, really.

Instead of focusing on the mental downward spiral that seems to be the core of the story here, Dementamania instead just sits in place, spinning its wheels needlessly while the audience waits for Edward to lurch into the next entertaining skit wherein he imagines horribly maiming or utterly destroying one of his sneering colleagues. These short segues are close to the only reason to pay attention, short of a few fleeting minutes featuring Kal Penn as Edward’s fast-talking CEO, or the hilarious Robert van Twillert as Ed’s diminuative workmate Pablo as he talks about his uncle fucking a dog. These hyperbolic portrayals of office existence make for effective comedy, and a fun time for audiences also feeling similarly worn out with daily office life — yet when the only reason to continue on with Dementamania is to get to the next funny bit, it quickly becomes obvious that the horror-centric psychosis side of things is failing miserably.

Vincent Regan shows up a few times as the mysterious Nicholas Lemarchand, yet it’s quite obvious from the first scene in which he appears just what his part in all of this really is — and even then, it doesn’t amount to anything of any particular worth to the narrative, merely another facet of Edward’s obvious psychosomatic downfall erringly convinced that it carries more gravity than it does. In the lead role, Robertson manages to pull off Edward’s disaffection in a satisfying manner, and seems to have a good handle on comedic timing — but when the repetitious events offer him little to do but look annoyed, then get a bit angrier and hit someone with something before moving on to looking highly confused, there isn’t much here to showcase his ability. Ryan does pull off a few nice sequences, though, including the aforementioned Office Massacre Tour and a tentacle-laden nightclub sequence, but impressive moments like these become little recompense for what surrounds them in very little time.

By the point that the exposition-heavy finale arrives (on the back of an extremely visually impressive sequence involving an elevator going ALL the way down), Dementamania only proves itself a frustrating and pedestrian experience. After spending almost the entirety of the runtime with it jogging in place, hoping to finally go somewhere only to realise in the last five minutes that forward momentum just isn’t going to happen, you’re likely to want to punch a colleague in the face too.

1 1/2 out of 5

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Gareth Jones

Copywriter and critic sporting a lifelong obsession with all things horror. A little bit sane.

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