As I look back on the movies I’ve watched over the years I can only think of a few office based titles that have truly caught my attention. First one was Office Space (1999), which was a hilarious comedy. Then Bloodsucking Vampires (2015), which was a bloody good horror/comedy and now I can add this one to the list. The Belko Experiment (2017) is a killer mix of battle royal meets everyday office life.
The story goes something like this. Eighty Americans are working for a corporation overseas in Colombia. One morning, after everyone is getting ready to start their day, a mysterious voice comes over the intercom system and tells them (basically) they “will” participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed. How do you play the game? Simple, kill everyone or be killed. What do you win? Your life! That’s right, be the last living person in the building and you’ve won your freedom. Now, believe it or not, there are a few more rules to the game, but I don’t want to spoil everything for you about a movie centering its story on killing your coworkers to survive.
I have to say, the story that James Gunn came up with wasn’t necessarily anything new, but it hooked me because I’m a fan of social experiments and I thought the director, Greg McLean, did a great job putting everything together. When it’s all said and done, you’re taking an eighty-nine-minute bloody ride that makes you witness what people are willing to do when they are put into an extreme situation, like life or death. Like I said, the story isn’t anything new. We’ve seen characters “forced to fight for survival” before, but what helps this one rise up a bit is that it has a good cast and (to be honest) some pretty gory kills. Something I liked about the story was, yeah we knew there was a mysterious voice commanding the whole thing, but they did a great job in keeping that voice a mystery till the end of the movie. Some films feel the need to hurry up and pull the curtain back for a big reveal and end up killing the mystery of the story. Also, when you have a movie that is based on everyone dies, it can be easy to forget how important it is to have good characters helping to tell the story and just have people run around offing each other. Yet, Gunn continues to show his writing skills in The Belko Experiment by having a wide variety of characters scattered throughout the movie that helped deliver everything from action to quick bits of comedic relief, which (in a good way) kind of surprised me.
I really liked the pace of the film. You get a calm start as everyone is piling into work and once the mysterious voice hits the intercom… it’s kickoff time! Once the story is put into motion the movie turns into this no holds barred, run for your life flick that’s filled with plenty of action, horror, and thrills to keep your attention for the rest of the movie.
On the cast side you get to see people like: John Gallagher Jr. (10 Cloverfield Lane), Adria Arjona (Emerald City), Melonie Diaz (Fruitvale Station), Tony Godwyn (Scandal), John C. McGinley (Scrubs), Sean Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy). Sure the concept of the movie sounded interesting, but the actual reason I decided to catch this one was that it had two of my favorite actors in it, Rooker and McGinley. Both Rooker and McGinley always seem to pick fun or unique roles to play. However, I can’t say their roles really fit into that category this time around. I thought McGinley and Rooker did a good job, but they played an average Joe character that was fighting for their lives. Gallagher Jr. was a solid choice for the main character and carried the weight of his role with no issue.
For those of you that are not a fan of gory films… you may want to skip this one. It’s rated R and has (tons of) violence, language, and gory kills. A majority of the time you have a front row seat as you watch someone meet their brutal demise. On that note, I have to acknowledge the special effects that went into making this flick. There’s a lot of practical effects used, which I’m a fan of and they all looked great! Now, helping those scenes look as good as they did was also partly due to some really good cinematography work, which was done by Luis David Sansans. Put the two together and the movie as a whole was seriously eye-catching.
If you haven’t seen The Belko Experiment yet and are wanting to, then you’re in luck! The DVD and Blu-ray were released on June 27th, 2017. Both the Blu-ray and the DVD share the same special features, which are: Rules of the Game: The Secrets Behind The Belko Experiment, Lee Hardcastle’s Survival Tips, Deleted Scenes, and Gallery.
Overall, I really wasn’t expecting much from The Belko Experiment, but death and mayhem. As it turned out, I ended up with a higher level of entertainment than I expected by the time it was over. So, if you haven’t seen this one yet and have the stomach for it, then check it out.