From James Gunn, the writer and director of Guardians of the Galaxy (Volumes One and Two!) comes the twisted social experiment known as The Belko Experiment. Eighty employees of the Belko company arrive for work one morning, and are locked in their office building. An anonymous voice comes over the PA system telling them that they have to kill thirty of their co-workers in an hour, and if they don’t sixty of them will be killed instead. Some of the workers try to hide, some try to escape, and some turn violent. Factions are formed, leaders are chosen, and people die. When some of the workers try to make contact with the outside world one of their heads is remotely blown up, proving this experiment is not just a game.
The Belko Experiment was graphic, violent, suspenseful but also repetitive. Was it realistic though? Were these the reactions people would have in this admittedly absurd situation? Yeah, it was probably pretty accurate. James Gunn apparently came up with the idea for the script in a dream, and if this is what his dreams are made of, I’m worried about the possibilities in his nightmares. He did a great job on the characters and there were a lot of recognizable actors involved with the project. You liked some of them and you hated some of them. John C. McGinley was especially rotten in the movie, and it was great to see his character die. Gunn’s brother Sean has a nice little role, as does fellow Guardians of the Galaxy “Reaver”, Michael Rooker. Tony Goldwyn was the boss in the film, and even though he could have been considered the bad guy, the cleverness of the script makes you wonder, as he was doing everything he did for his own survival.
My only complaint about The Belko Experiment was that it was a little slow because of the great character development. I would almost have preferred it just went to the crazy action right away. The action when it did happen was pretty crazy, and the effects were quite good for what is clearly an elevated indie film. The final scene was pretty predictable, from who would be the sole survivor, to how they would deal with their captors. Still, it was quite entertaining and a nice release. When I first heard of The Belko Experiment I was told it was going to be like Battle Royale meets Office Space, which I immediately made me think of the movie Operation: Endgame. In that film a team of spies have to kill each other in their own office building, using whatever they have around them, I was very glad that Belko wasn’t just another film like that. It was thought out very well, and was a lot more intelligent than you would think. Dark beyond belief, it won’t be for everyone, but I did enjoy it.
Bottom Line: I was very surprised to see Belko was put out by Orion Pictures, I had no idea that name was still around!