Do you ever have those days where you want to bash your co-workers across the head with a stapler? You do?! Boy, do I have a film for you!
The Belko Experiment, written and produced by James Gunn and directed by Greg McLean, is a brutal, horror-thriller, peppered with a sly vein of dark humour and a tremendous cast of unlikeable characters.
A group of American white collar workers based in their company’s Colombian offices are locked in the building and forced to murder each other for some unknown reason. If they don’t comply, their mysterious captor will start the killing for them. Every employee was fitted with a GPS chip in case of kidnap, but there’s bad news, the chips are secretly some Task Force X style bombs.
While being a riff on the old Running Man/Battle Royale trope of being forced into murdering people to stay alive, Belko cleverly marries this familiar concept to the idea of the workplace and it’s competitive environment. Not a totally original concept, but you’ll agree it’s a nice fresh take.
The two movies I was reminded of most were meta-horror classic The Cabin In The Woods and 2009’s Exam, another single location thriller about corporate competition.
Belko stars Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona and John Gallagher jr as the main three of our unlikeable characters, but this movie is a real team effort, with Sean Gunn, Michael Rooker, John C McGinley, David Dastmalchian rounding out a strong ensemble. Every cast member is potential cannon fodder and we are left guessing who will be next on the chopping block, with some deaths being very surprising indeed!
The level of violence in this movie is astounding, everything from guns and knives to exploding heads and murder by office equipment. Greg McLean’s direction pulls no punches, showing us enough gore and then some. I’m a fan of horror and I do enjoy spectacular kill scenes, so I quite liked the Final Destination-esque way in which Belko tops each death with something a little more gruesome.
If you arrived at The Belko Experiment through James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy, be aware this is a very different beast, even more dark hearted than Super or the Dawn of the Dead remake he wrote for Zack Snyder. I’d have liked a little more character development, as we’re never really taken beyond any surface level details, however, I enjoyed the rapid pace and lean story, so I can’t complain too much.
A story about survival in a literal cut-throat working environment, The Belko Experiment is entertaining, gory and darkly funny.
For Fans Of:
The Running Man
The Cabin In The Woods