Directed by: Greg McLean
Cast: John Gallagher Jr., Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona
There are a lot of really impressive things happening in The Belko Experiment. The cast is stellar. The special effects are often extremely nasty and remarkably convincing. The pacing of the film couldn’t possibly be better. There are a lot of very likable characters in the lineup. But there’s just one thing… one giant thing that really damages any chance of ever feeling in any way immersed in the chaos.
Everyone who works for Belko had a tracer chip of some sort surgically implanted in the back of their heads.
Take that in for a minute.
You want a job? Sure thing, right after we split your head open and implant a strange techy device… then you’re good to go. Nah, no worries on the drug test!
That one single detail haunts this film through intimate moments and scene of ultraviolence. You just can’t get past the lunacy of that required body modification – it springs into your mind every single time you think of the predicament these people are in.
And you know the predicament, the trailers were extremely straight forward. About 100 employees for a strange company (even the employees fail to understand what job they’re actually doing) get locked inside a large facility while a mysterious voice informs them that they’re going to start killing each other, or someone from the outside (shall we say) will see to it that it’s done.
How does one pick who lives and who dies?
Who has the grit to execute innocent co-workers?
When measures become desperate, a man will do any damn thing to save his own skin. So, there you go, you know it gets outlandishly gory in the office.
Clean up on isle everything.
Despite that enormous plot hiccup (that feels more, lazy and forced than legit or viable) The Belko Experiment still manages to be a load of fun. The gore is just something you’ve got to see. A couple characters are fantastic, the male lead – played by the seemingly everyman John Gallagher Jr. – is excellent and favorable in every sense. I mentioned the pacing earlier, as well. The movie flies by and there’s nary a moment of downtime.
I think writer James Gunn played it a little too safe on a few issues, but otherwise he does impressive work in creating relatable personalities and frantic moments of dread. And Greg McLean, of Wolf Creek fame completely redeemed himself after the absurdly underwhelming Kevin Bacon piece, The Darkness. The film looks great (a nod in the direction of editor Julia Wong who turns in more grade-A professionalism), it moves great and it leaves the muscles a tad tense. If not for that one terrible excuse for a villainous monkey wrench, you’re talking about a sublime effort. As it is, The Belko Experiment is a film you should look into at least once.