Title: The Belko Experiment
Director: Greg McLean
Starring: John Gallagher Jr, Tony Gladwyn, Adria Arjona
Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes
What It Is: Welcome to Belko Industries – a normally calm workplace that’s about to devolve into a blood-soaked Battle Royale and a shocking case study of bone-crunching horror! When 80 American employees are suddenly locked in their office building in Bogota, Colombia, a mysterious voice on the intercom orders them to participate in a ruthless game of kill or be killed. As the terror escalates, so does the body count. Now, everyone, is a competitor…and everyday objects become deadly weapons.
What We Think: The basic premise of this is essentially put a lot of people in a confined space then tell them to kill or be killed, and then sit back to see how it pans out, this premise isn’t terribly original of course but the setting gives it an extra punch. If you’ve ever had a dull office job with its meaningless work and petty politics this might feel all too relatable as it did me.
For me, the main issue with this film is that after thirty minutes I was urging anyone to kill anyone so we can get it started and the reason for this is I had zero emotional investment in none of the characters at all, I felt they were never fleshed out beyond their initial descriptors and this was a real issue for me. Any emotional depth was simply exchanged for blood and gore which is a shame as the first twenty minutes or so seemed really promising. A final scene which tries to explain what we just saw just feels unnecessary and adds nothing to the conversation.
The parade of gore can be its own reward and The Belko Experiment has fun getting rid of these employees, some die quickly, some slowly; some via other conventional means and others in creative ways. Through it all, the film maintains a dark sense of humor, it isn’t laugh out loud but when a Sellotape dispenser is used to clobber fellow employees you have to laugh
Our Grade: C-, Overall, I was somewhat let down as it started so promisingly but it never maintained that and ended up turning into Battle Royale. Despite a decent opening, the film is simply a monotonous cavalcade of exploding heads, interspersed with shootings, stabbings and blunt force trauma to mix things up a bit. Unless you’re entertained by the sight of folks dying gruesomely every six seconds or so the underlying commentary on social-science run amuck will hardly seem worth the brain splattering tedium.