A group of employees stationed at their corporate building in Colombia find themselves under lock down inside the building. They soon become horrified when a mysterious voice orders them to start killing each other. If they fail to comply, he will kill off people himself. Alliances and morals are put to the test as tensions rise along with the stakes.
The Belko Experiment doesn’t exactly boast the most original idea with the kill or be killed concept. However it is an extremely entertaining horror/thriller with some excellent intensity and black humor thrown in. In some ways, the plot itself has some black humor to it. You can’t deny that there’s employees at your job that you think to tell yourself “god I could kill them.” That idea is obviously presented here. The employees are forced to kill their co-workers. Sadly, there weren’t exactly any characters who were wanting to jump at the opportunity to kill someone they work with. All of the characters like each other just fine. Except for the office pervert/creeper and the woman he’s pretty obsessed with. In some instances it’s also a pretty interesting character study. When we first meet these characters they feel familiar and for the most part likable (except for this Selena Gomez look a like who spends the majority of the moving hiding and crying, and obviously the pervy guy). But when the plot gets going, you begin to see some of these characters change for the worst. Some want to comply by the voice’s rules in order to get out, and some refuse because they simply just don’t want to kill people. The setting of the company is used very well in that we see the characters moving from different levels and locations as opposed to being just in one spot the whole time. This helps a lot towards the end of the movie when a huge cats and mice chase scene occurs between the two opposing parties.
I’d be lying if I said there weren’t very intense sequences in the film that had me on edge. A lot of this has to do with the brilliant direction of Greg McLean, and the actors involved really pull of their fear in these scenes. In said chase scene, you get this Spanish version of California Dreaming playing at a very loud level. This is actually a very great touch that makes scene twice as intense and maddening, and the choice of adding red tint to the scene was also a great touch. Easily the best part of the film. However, once the film gets around the final act, it’s all very rushed, and you can really guess how the ending is going to be. Then there’s a final reveal that gives an explanation to the events, but it’s very cheesy and kind of lame. And the final scene was most frustrating because it was really the exact same ending I’ve seen in another “kill or be killed” horror film. But as mentioned above, a lot of the emotions that you feel from the movie are the solid performances from the actors.
John Gallagher, Jr. is our leading male here, and after his pretty solid breakthrough performance in 10 Cloverfield Lane, we see him get to shine as the lead. And he definitely proves he has leading male material. He brings a lot of realism to the character by not making him out to be some tough guy, but a caring guy who is thrown in a shitty situation and now has to decide where his stance is when it come to killing. And Gallagher nails this. Tony Goldwyn also does an excellent job as the head of the team. What’s interesting about his character is how you think he’s going to be the tough guy who will try get everyone out, but it goes in a different direction. Goldwyn does extremely well with the part and comes off as very intimidating at times. John C. McGinley is really brings on the creep factor as the office pervert who really sets his eye on his prey (Gallagher’s characters girlfriend), and he can play creepy really well. We also have Sean Gunn (mostly known for his role as Kirk on Gilmore Girls) who provides the more comedic moments in the film. I could say something about every single actor in the cast, and everything would be positive. Even those with the very small parts do well with their roles.
While it may not have the freshest story, and some weak script points, The Belko Experiment does succeed in entertaining with its intensity, characters, dark humor, performances, and its jabs at office relations.