Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 47% (Critics) / 50% (Audience)
Directed By: Greg McLean
Written By: James Gunn
Starring: John Gallagher Jr., Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona and John C. McGinley
Studio: Blumhouse Productions
Synopsis: In a twisted social experiment, 80 Americans are locked in their high-rise corporate office in Bogotá, Colombia and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company’s intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed. – (Source)
THE BELKO EXPERIMENT brought back fond memories to me of when I was a youngster and stayed up late watching Drive-In Theater with Joe Bob Briggs on The Movie Channel. Joe Bob would feature movies ranging from the titillating to the gruesome but they were all low budget and exploitative but really fun trash. That is what THE BELKO EXPERIMENT is…really fun trash.
All of the acting performances are serviceable with John C. McGinley standing out as a super creepy employee who was probably going to end up murdering his co-workers if the shadowy conspiracy hadn’t implemented its murderous social experiment first.
And the way the movie conveyed the mind-numbing humdrum daily office experience before tossing it all on its head was cool. Anyone who has ever spent any time under the artificial glow of fluorescent lighting while huddled inside of a tiny cubicle immediately recognized the office and its inhabitants as places/people very familiar to them.
The ending of this movie (maybe even the last quarter) was all so predictable and telegraphed especially when the sole survivor of the experiment met the folks who were running it. And the camera pull back to reveal a large screen full of smaller ones showing other experiments happening all across the world was a shot I was expecting to see the moment I saw the first trailer for this movie.
The pivotal scene where the (up to this point) Office Dove bashes in the skull of the Office Hawk with a heavy tape holder while super-cheesy and triumphant music plays was a bit too hokey for my tastes.
Final Verdict: A fun throwback to the “midnight movies” era of entertainingly violent schlock films. THE BELKO EXPERIMENT does get a bit more heft from the smart dialog that James Gunn fills the script with but at its core it is definitely just a small budget genre film with the only thing being missing is a wisecracking host to introduce the film to the audience.