THE Conference is a Swedish comedy slasher about a mangy group of local government employees who go to a vacation resort for some team-building exercises before the construction of a new shopping centre in their district.
Based on a book by Mats Strandberg, this new Netflix film is lighthearted and slapstick with plenty to quench horror fans’ appetite for gore, despite plenty of cringe elements throughout.
My biggest problem with The Conference, which is directed by Patrik Eklund, is its depthless characters.
The players onscreen are so one-dimensional and false, its as if they have been pulled directly from the set of Scandinavian children’s favourite, LazyTown. We even have a Robbie Rotten among the cast of grovelling and stereotypical public sector workers, who do very little to win me over or have me routing for their survival.
A tale of corruption, murder, and mayhem that spirals out of all control, it comes off like a half-baked cross between Tucker and Dale vs Evil and Dead Snow made for teeny tots on daytime television.
Think Scooby Doo with notions of Shaun of the Dead greatness that really feels more like Friday the 13th with a Peppa Pig twist.
This ragtag group of grey council workers are about to announce plans for a new mall to bring business to a district, already on its knees, but it all goes tits up in the same way as Limerick’s O’Connell Street Revitalisation Project. To make matters worse, there’s a masked loon hacking the doltish band of pencil pushers to bits.
The Conference is an exercise in teamwork that doesn’t succeed. The film’s biggest flaw is that the characters do not gel and come off as either overplaying their parts or not playing them hard enough. They are grating, removing the element of tension, as I take great satisfaction in their gruesome expiration.
If you are looking for a few Halloween thrills and giggles, this one is inoffensive and will while away your time without demanding anything much of you.