Director: Craig Zobel
Cast: Ann Dowd, Dreama Walker, Pat Healy
Country of Origin: USA 2012
Language: English 90 mins.
'Compliance' is a horror movie. Not the studio horror blood and guts slasher movie. This is the real thing. This is what happened. It's chilling and uncomfortable'.
It's one of those days. Sandra (Ann Dowd), the middle aged Manager of ChickWich, a fast food outlet is feeling pressured. Could you invent that name? The freezer door was left ajar, 1500 dollars worth of bacon has been ruined and a company undercover inspector is expected. They've got to work extra hard to please the bosses. All Sandra needs is a call from the cops.
Police Officer Daniels (Pat Healy) describes Becky (Dreama Walker) as an identified suspect in the theft of cash from a customer. That's not Becky, she's young, honest, hard working, giggly and a great texter but he insists that she's stolen the money and they've got to find it and he can't do that without the help of some of the ChickWich staff.
It's not straightforward. Officer Daniels hasn't called into ChickWich to chat with Sandra and sip a refreshing Coke in her cramped make-shift office, Isn't that the normal procedure? The cops always visit if there's a problem. Officer Daniels is an authoritative voice on the phone, a very busy man on the case. It can all be settled over the phone. Deception, flattery and intimidation are his weapons to manipulate Sandra and other members of staff to comply with his wishes. You don't question authority no matter how bizarre Officer Daniels's requests become and they do become horrifically bizarre when Sandra's fiance,Van enters the equation. But there's no Officer Daniels, there's only a sociopath on the phone.
It wouldn't happen in a Bank or in a city office but in a fast food outlet it's ripe pickings for a serial phone sociopath - Friday night is manic, it's non-stop pressure and the customer's always right and they've got to please the bosses - they're vulnerable.
A chilling camera's eye view of the weakness and suggestability of human nature that can lead to a slavish collusion with an invisible authority and a total loss of compassion and moral responsibility. It could have been made as a documentary but the excellent cast and tight script, which was based on an incident in a McDonald's fast food outlet in Mount Washington in 2002 portrays the horror to greater effect. Ironically in that case the perpetrator got off.
'Compliance' is a horror movie. Not the studio horror blood and guts slasher movie. This is the real thing. This is what happened. It's chilling and uncomfortable.