Thursday, March 23, 2017

Movie Review: The Belko Experiment

Sick and disturbing, The Belko Experiment is a gruesome horror with an interesting premise but not much of a payoff. From the crazy mind of writer James Gunn The story begins with a normal day at work at the Belko  Industry in Bogota, Colombia. The first strange part is that there is increased security at the building that confuses the workers but with the threat of narcoterrorism in Colombia, the workers understand there may be times of heightened security. They also understand that they would need to receive an injected tracer so that if they are kidnapped, they'll easily be discovered before the company is forced to pay a ransom. 

Mike Milch (John Gallagher Jr.) has started a new relationship with his coworker Leandra (Adria Arjona) and has had an easy time for over a year working for Belko. Leandra has to fend off the creepy behavior of Wendell Dukes (John C. McGinley). The COO Barry Norris (Tony Goldwyn) is confused along with the rest of the employees when an announcement comes over the intercom that the employees must kill 30 people or 60 of them will die as the walls are sealed by impenetrable metal. Many like Marty (Sean Gunn) discount this order as a prank or a scare until the tracers in four employees' heads explode.

The employees split between those who think they should kill led by Barry Norris and those who should look for help and not kill each other led by Mike. As the two-hour time limit to kill ticks down, the executive employments go for the weapons stashed in the security safe and make a plan to execute employees of their choosing in a sickening scene. Dany Wilkins (Melonie Diaz), a new employee, witnesses several murders and shut down the power. She was one of the intriguing characters that didn't get their due in the film like maintenance workers Bud (Michael Rooker) and Lonny (David Dastmalchian) and human resource manager Vince Agostino (Brent Sexton). 

The heads exploding is one of the more gruesome parts of the film and eliminates tons of employees in a sickening scene. The remaining men and women have to kill the most people to survive. The film could have used more action but appeals more to the horror and gore fan than a viewer looking for an office action movie. There is some mention of a social experiment but the film seems to be more about gruesome murders with office supplies and exploding heads than any social commentary. There are some interesting twists but nothing too clever to take it past the premise.

The Belko Experiment will leave plenty of viewers that are easily impressed by films with a sense of dread and a disturbed feeling and it might be a testament to my viewing violent films at a young age that I wasn't too bother by explosive heads and office workers running in fear from violent coworkers. The film does set up a bigger world but it doesn't look to be a big enough box office success to inspire the bigger sequel it would need to attract audiences by into the theater for more gore. Perhaps after some time, it will achieve a sort of cult status. 

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