Everyday, we go to our jobs. Do our work. Have lunch with those people we work with. Some friends. Some acquaintances. Some, just people we wouldn’t go near with a ten foot pole were it not for sharing the same employment. But then we carry on our day until we thankfully can punch out and return home. But say one day, you’re told to murder your co-workers in cold blood. This is the experiment that 80 American workers at a Belko Industries building in Bogotá, Colombia find themselves forced into. Locked inside and told by a mysterious voice to murder certain numbers of the corporate population or else they will all be killed through explosives implanted inside each employee. From the maintenance workers, to the techies, and to the executives, white collars are going to be dyed red with blood!
The Belko Experiment comes from Blumhouse Tilt and Orion Pictures, written by Slither and Super scribe James Gunn and directed by Wolf Creek director Greg McLean. With a pedigree like that, you know things are gonna get good and brutal sooner or later. It starts as a tightly wound thriller that escalates into an office party of blood.
Working with 80 ‘subjects’ in this experiment, the film does a decent job in giving focus to a wide, but select core group of people fighting for their survival. There’s Mike Melch, played by John Gallagher Jr. who acts as the everyman office worker and attempts to act as a voice of moral order during the chaos. The assistant Leandra Jerez played by Adria Arjona. The COO of the Belko branch, Barry Norris played by Tony Goldwyn. Wendell Dukes, a crass executive with eyes on Leandra played by John C. McGinley. Among a few highlighted charcters, and a wide variety of characters in all departments of the gladiatorial office building. Being written by James Gunn, each has a unique voice and sense of humor that makes every one of them stand-out. Even those that commit mass murder.
While ‘battles to the death’ and ‘hunting the most dangerous game’ movies have been used for stories as old as the actual “Most Dangerous Game” story and beyond, Belko manages to create its own footing for a few reasons. Main of which being its social commentary on corporate/government culture. Each of the players has a tiny bomb in the base of their skull. Why? Because they let the company do it. Under contract. So they could get that sweet job and sweet pay. And in breakneck corporate culture, you sometimes have to do things you never thought you’d have to do to get ahead. And in this case, if you want to live, you may have to kill.
The only real gripe to be had was some of the pacing building up to the big bloodshed felt a little off. As well, while we get to observe the players brace themselves for it, it’s still mainly through the lens of the core group that’s followed throughout the movie. That aside, once the experiment breaks out in full, it does not stop. While not necessarily groundbreaking, if you’re looking for a fun and thrilling survival horror movie or just need something to blow off the steam at work in a safe and sensible way, take part in The Belko Experiment!