Not Safe for Work (film)

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Not Safe for Work
Film poster
Directed by Joe Johnston
Produced by Jason Blum
Written by
  • Simon Boyes
  • Adam Mason
Music by Tyler Bates
Cinematography Jonathan Taylor
Edited by Rick Shaine
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • May 9, 2014 (2014-05-09)
Running time
74 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Not Safe for Work is a 2014 American psychological thriller film directed by Joe Johnston[1] and written by Simon Boyes and Adam Mason. The film stars Max Minghella, JJ Feild, Eloise Mumford, and Christian Clemenson. Minghella stars as a paralegal who witnesses an unknown man (JJ Feild) murder a lawyer at his nearly empty workplace.


John Ferguson, a whistleblower at Denning, a major pharmaceutical company, becomes disillusioned with the perceived lack of action taken against the company, murders several executives, and commits suicide as the police enter the building. Tom Miller, a paralegal assigned to the Denning case, subsequently loses confidence in the scheduled trial against Denning, as Ferguson was their star witness. Miller's boss criticizes his idealism as financially unsound, and when Miller writes an unsolicited memo on an unrelated case on the Gambizzi crime family, Alan Emmerich, one the partners at the law firm, fires him. Roger, Miller's friend and a fellow paralegal, initially commiserates with Miller, but returns to the office in order to work late. Emmerich sends everyone else, including Miller's girlfriend, Anna, home early due to a technical problem with the firm's Internet access.

As Miller leaves the building, he sees a man in a suit set down a briefcase. A different man then picks up the suitcase and enters an elevator. Curious, Miller follows the man with the briefcase, only to see him produce a pistol from the briefcase and murder Janine, a lawyer. Panicked, Miller hides from the killer in the bathroom, where he discovers the body of a security guard. When he alerts Roger to the danger, Roger objects to Miller's plan to save Emmerich, as Roger does not believe that Emmerich would do the same for them. Regardless, Miller instructs Roger to contact the authorities as he tries to find Emmerich. Before Roger can make the call, the killer finds and strangles him. As Miller's recharging cell phone chimes, the killer realizes that there are more people left in the building than he anticipated.

Miller uses his knowledge of the building's security to evade capture and eventually discovers Emmerich in an office with a woman who Emmerich identifies as Lorraine Gambizzi. When the killer breaks into the room, Gambizzi grabs a pistol, but the killer is able to shoot her first. Not noticing Miller, who hides, the killer spares Emmerich's life and orders him to stay in the office. When the killer leaves, Miller surmises that the killer is a Gambizzi hitman sent to kill Lorraine, who was going to testify against her husband. With her death, Miller hopes the killer will leave. However, the killer attempts to gain entry into the record room, a reinforced vault that Miller and Emmerich use as a safe room. Using Miller's recharged cell phone, the killer draws Anna back to the building and taunts Miller with this fact.

The killer takes Anna hostage as soon as she arrives. Drawn out of the vault, Miller attempts to trade his access card for Anna's life, but the killer reneges on the deal, wounding Emmerich as he shoots at them. Now with access to the records, the killer starts a fire, only to realize that Miller tricked him into accepting a fake access card. Locked in the vault as the records burn, he chokes and falls unconscious. Miller enters the room to put out the fire, after which he realizes that the killer has recovered. As the killer beats Miller, Anna knocks him out with a fire extinguisher. Emmerich recovers the killer's pistol and shoots him with it. As he dies, the killer whispers a code to Miller.

Curious about the killer's last words, Miller investigates further and discovers that Denning likely targeted Roger for assassination because of his own whistleblowing about how the law firm was intending to throw the Denning case. When he confronts Emmerich, Emmerich begs him to destroy the evidence, as Emmerich believes the pharmaceutical company to be more powerful and ruthless than any crime family. When Miller refuses, Emmerich commits suicide. As Miller and Anna leave the building, the killer's earlier accomplice, now revealed to be a police officer, alerts his superiors, and a hitman outside the building radios that he has visual confirmation of Miller.



The film was announced on February 1, 2012, as a low-budget thriller, with Joe Johnston set to direct.[1]

On February 13, 2012, it was reported that Max Minghella was in talks to star as the film's protagonist, with Eloise Mumford in talks to play his girlfriend.[2]

On February 24, 2012, it was reported that JJ Feild, Tom Gallop and Christian Clemenson had joined the cast. Feild had previously worked with Johnston on Captain America: The First Avenger.[3]

Principal photography began on March 9, 2012.[citation needed] The film was in post-production as of August 2012.[4]


On June 6, 2013, it was reported that the film would bypass a theatrical release and would instead get a VOD release at an unspecified date.[5]

On February 3, 2014, the poster for the film was released, along with the news of the film's DVD release on April 15, 2014.[6] On February 23, 2014, a trailer for the film was released.[7]

On February 27, 2014, the film was described as "long-finished" by Universal Studios chairman Donna Langley, who said that while the film would not get a theatrical release, it might get a video on-demand release. "Someday we believe there will be an opportunity to monetize that movie on a distribution platform or as a bundle [sold with other films]. It's theoretical, but we're assuming distribution is going to become more varied."[8]

The film was released in the United States on DVD on May 9, 2014.[9] On September 9, 2014, it was announced that the film would be released digitally in October 2014.[10]


Martin Hafer of Influx Magazine rated it A− and wrote, "It's worth your time and is awfully good and just goes to show you that you don't need mega-stars and mega-budgets to make a good film."[9]


  1. ^ a b "Captain America Helmer Joe Johnston to Direct Not Safe For Work". February 1, 2013. Retrieved May 9, 2013. 
  2. ^ Sneider, Jeff (February 13, 2012). "Universal taps thesps for low-budget Work". Variety. Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  3. ^ Sneider, Jeff (February 24, 2012). "Johnston reteams with Captain thesp". Variety. Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  4. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (August 2, 2012). "Bryan Brucks To Head Luber Roklin Lit Division". Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  5. ^ Horn, John (June 6, 2013). "The Purge hopes to make a killing for less". Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  6. ^ Barton, Steve (February 3, 2014). "Not Safe For Work Safe for DVD in April". Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Trailer for Not Safe For Work Thriller, from Captain America Director Joe Johnston". February 23, 2014. Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  8. ^ Masters, Kim (February 27, 2014). "Jason Blum's Crowded Movie Morgue: Downside of a Microbudget Empire". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Hafer, Martin. "Not Safe for Work". Influx Magazine. Retrieved November 13, 2014. 
  10. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (September 9, 2014). "Blumhouse Launches Multi-Platform Arm BH-Tilt". Retrieved September 21, 2014. 

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