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Janitor, The (2003)
Movie Review by The Gravedigger

Janitor, The (2003) Produced and Directed by T.J. Nordaker and Andy SignoreJust when you think you've seen every incarnation of the Slasher Genre along comes THE JANITOR, which, of course is about an insane custodian who kills people. If you want to see lots of over-the-top gore, lots of breasts and lots of lewd and sadistic humor then this is the movie for youLionel is a custodian at the Generico Corporation who kills anyone who insults him. According to the talk of the people who work there, thirteen people have been murdered so far. It doesn't take much to set him off. After Lionel kidnaps and burns to death another employee the FBI are called in. They are completely inept, particularly at the end of the movie when events go horribly awry.As you can surmise, the movie doesn't take place in the real world, but a place where people are extraordinarily stupid and the killings are cartoon-like. I guess the closest comparison is to one of the early Troma movies, like TOXIC AVENGER (though I don't really like Troma movies). And because all the workers in the office are portrayed as idiots it makes Lionel a step above the rest because he's so serious all the time. In fact, he's too serious and the contrast nearly brings the movie to a halt anytime he's on the screen. It's simply too uneven.Lionel's character does have one friend, his fellow custodian by the name of Mr. Growbo. Since their house had burned down in a mysterious fire some months before they are allowed to live in the janitor's closet in the office building. This gives them plenty of time to talk about their hopes and dreams.Growbo goes on about how he feels his job is important, that he feels that he makes a difference in the world. Later on he admits this is all crap, that he hates being a janitor.In the second half of the movie Lionel runs into some sorority girls they inform him that they are looking for a new janitor and this sparks in him a dream of something better than working in an office building. He's so enthusiastic he thinks he's gotten the job-but is beaten to the chase by someone else he knows.This makes him absolutely furious and a great deal of carnage ensues, very over-the-top and disgusting, exactly what you expect so far. The makeup effects are very well-done.My biggest problem with the movie is that I hated the Lionel character. He's so angry, so one-dimensional its really hard to relate to him. And because he's the main character and has to carry the movie I think it's important that the audience can identify with him somehow. In large part I think it due to the casting of the part. Andy Signore, the co-director, chose to portray Lionel himself and it turns out he's the weakest actor in the movie. Also, the guy who plays Mr. Growbo is an extremely good actor and by comparison, particularly when they are in scenes together, this further diminishes Signore's performance. Although I didn't like the Lionel character there were enough sight gags and jokes in the rest of the movie to compensate. There's this hilarious cameo by Troma's Lloyd Kaufman as a homeless man who insults Lionel twice and both times the janitor rips off one of Kaufman's arms. And, as I said, there lots of blood and guts are flying throughout.The production values are well-done for a low-budget independent shot-on-digital movie and co-director/producer T.J. Nordaker has to be commended on shooting it. The audio, obviously dubbed in parts, is very clear. Most of the music seems to be original but there's this well-known mushy 80's song used in parts, integral to one of the characters, and I know they possibly couldn't afford to license that music.That's a 'no-no' if you're expecting to sell and market the movie.THE JANITOR is by no means a bad movie. It, like most first-time movies, has its faults, but you can tell the filmmakers invested a lot of time and energy into making it. I think the appeal would be primarily to the 15-25 year-old male audience. It's definitely a guy movie.for more info: www.janitormovie.com and see the interview with Andy Signore
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