(2005) dir Paul Tarantino – w/ Benjamin John Carillo as would-be upwardly mobile insurance agent, Mark Aiken as Dougie, Kristi Clainos as Sarah, and Ralph Lister as, apparently, “The Man”.  I don’t really remember who that might be.

Synopsis: A happy office drone wants a little more out of his workplace environment, and feels he might get a better job elsewhere.  No troubles so far.  He gets recommended a headhunter by a client/friend, and figures–why not!  It can’t hurt to look.  Naturally, he gets a new job right away.  The new headhunter really did the trick!  The hours are a little bit… strange.  And the co-workers are… well…  They’re strange, too.  But the money’s good, am I right?  What’s a little curse, when you’re laughing all the way to the bank?  Or grave…  Puns, horror, and camp follow.

Review: As you might guess from the DVD cover, this is not a high-production-value film.  It’s not, say, Rosemary’s Baby. So what I’m about to say may come as a surprise.

This is an excellent film!

Not exactly good.  But simultaneously earnest and campy, in all the right places.  “Headhunter” knows when to downplay the supernatural, and traffic in innuendo and good old-fashioned story-telling instead.  (Don’t worry–there are some special effects.  And they are very special.)

You have your standard murder curse haunting story, more or less.  The people involved do stupid things, but not unreasonably stupid things. (If it were a true story, and you believed in curses, their actions would be 100% believable.)  Most of the movie takes place in office buildings and parking lots and very ordinary places, and without any special effects whatsoever.  Which is one of the movie’s saving graces; it’s campy when it should be, and silly, and ridiculous (the baby? the lightning?!) — but restrained at other times.  There are a number of scenes that are surprisingly effective despite the lack of any special effects; one scene involves a cursed key-chain.

I have to say, this is a kind of hidden treat.  (I was actually expecting it to be unrelentingly awful, and found myself drawn in, and completely entertained.)

Rating: [•••½] out of [•••••]

Extra: It’s also a little bit adorable that the quote from the movie that someone saw fit to add to imdb’s “memorable quotes” section is:

Ben Caruso: I need you to do a little poking around.
Scott: That’s my speciality.

Because, really?