Blunt and Bloody: Our Review of ‘The Belko Experiment’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - May 13, 2017
Blunt and Bloody: Our Review of ‘The Belko Experiment’

Most of the characters in The Belko Experiment die from either gunshots or bombs exploding in their heads: the film’s execution and point is far more blunt and messy than either of those weapons.

It would seem a prank initially, but 80 employees working in an utterly generic and stereotypical office building for a faceless corporation (located in the middle of nowhere in Bogota, mind you) are soon face with a bloody fate. Their building is put on lockdown, and a sadistic game is being played, a social experiment of sorts that will result in lots and lots of dead bodies.

Some group has taken over and issued commands, directing employees to kill a certain number of people in a certain amount of time, lest these puppet masters kill many, many more. They can do so because everyone has a tracer in their head from when they were hired, and surprise, that tracer is also a bomb. A And an easy metaphor.

All the conventional characters of corporate life are there: we’ve a black security guard, a sarcastic hero, a stoner, an oily executive, an HR nightmare, a jolly mom, a coward, and a very welcome handyman in Michael Rooker. Directed by Greg McLean on a script by James Gunn, The Belko Experiment has a superb first act, doing just enough to establish a slew of characters and getting us to sort of care one way or another about them, and then revel in the tension.

As the sociopathic game begins, there is panic, suspense and chaos, and Belko savours each and every bit of it so perfectly. Unfortunately, a second act changes the tone drastically, and it goes from a tense, bloody thriller to a grotesque, hyper-violent, unredeeming bloodbath. As so many, many employees start to die, the film loses pace and purpose.

A finale gains back some of the good will and thought of the first, devolving into The Hunger Games or Battle Royale. There are clear bad guys: they happen to be high up on the corporate ladders, while our heroes are the plebs, of course. While featuring a great premise and an ending that for this genre can be described as cute, The Belko Experiment really, really just wants to see people die. And hates office life.

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Anthony is a lover of a good story in any form, on any subject. Tirelessly navigating filmdom, he is equal parts an unbridled idealist and stubborn curmudgeon, trying to strike a balance between head and heart when it comes to pop culture. He pens stories about television, music, the environment, lifestyles, and all things noteworthy and peculiar.