Quick Hit: Bloody horror fun, the whole ending killed (no pun intended) it for me.
What if you were suddenly forced to murder your office mates, or be killed yourself in a gruesome, James Bond villain type way when your head exploded from the inside? And not like the explosion of the bombs in Mission Impossible III, where your eye just goes a little crooked. I’m talking like… brains being pasted on the windows and walls explosion? That’s exactly what is presented to us in The Belko Experiment.
Starring John Gallagher Jr. (10 Cloverfield Lane, Hush) as Mike Milch, Belko immediately gives us believability and an incredulous set up at the same time. To believe that all these young people left to go work at this country seems incredible, but then you think about the student loan crisis and consider you probably would too for the right amount of money. When everything starts to happen and the groups immediately fracture, you know that you can picture in your head the different people that you work with, and which side they’d end up on. It’s an extremely creative idea, and I give them a lot of credit for a fun execution of it.
The effects are spot on, and director Greg McLean never hesitates to focus on the action. We’re treated to some truly gruesome shots of people being killed by everyday objects before we eventually succumb to the fact that somehow there is a whole armory in the building.
At this point, Belko lost me a bit. I was a bit on the fence with it up to this point, but I was loving the ludicrousness of it – well that and John C. McGinley’s extremely excellent Wendell Dukes. He’s still the best part of the movie for me. But when we lose the fact that this was an experiment to see how far people will go – guns are impersonal for most people, and so it loses that gritty effect. Throw in an ending that seems ripped from an episode of Black Mirror and I wasn’t happy with it overall.
There are some other strong points though – I particularly enjoyed the soundtrack, which is filled with Spanish versions of popular hits (because they’re in Columbia). There are also some really good death montages, which is always a hit in a movie like this. The characterization is also good, if stereotypical, and most of the loose ends that you wonder “Why don’t characters just…” get tied of satisfactorily pretty early in the story.
Overall, it wasn’t my favorite, but I enjoyed getting to watch it, if only for the ideas that could have made it great. I’m giving it a big, fat, blood splatted “C”.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"