The Belko Experiment (Movie Review)
After seeing The Belko Experiment trailers and movie posters, I have been utterly excited to finally take a look at what appeared to be a very promising horror movie. Or at least a good action or thriller.
The Belko Experiment was written by James Gunn and directed by Greg McLean. The film had a high quality cast that included Tony Goldwyn, John C. McGinley, and Michael Rooker. Tony Goldwyn was really great in the film. Tony is a truly talented actor.
The only thing that gave me pause about going to see the film is that Jason Blum (BH Tilt, Blumhouse Productions) was the executive producer on the project. Yeah, Jason Blum has had his share of money making movies. But Jason Blum has had a lot of crappy films too. Some may argue that Jason Blum has really screwed up the horror genre but that’s for another post. I decided to go out to a Sunday matinee and take a chance on The Belko Experiment.
The Belko Experiment is set in a world that many of us recognize and can empathize with. A corporate office. Everyday office workers are forced to trade eight hours of their day in a prison cell like cubicle. It is in this type of environment, where employees experience forced interaction with a mix-match of humans.
In this office environment, you have employees that become your friends, some that you tolerate because you need a job, and some that you just plain hate. You engage in political correctness and tolerance because you need a job. You play the corporate game of office politics because you want a paycheck and you want to advance in the corporate rat race. You function in this environment by biting your tongue and hiding your true feels. Your days are filled with fake smiles and polite greetings.
That is until the building is locked down. A voice comes over the intercom announcing that there are 80 employees in the building. You must kill 30 employees in 2 hours. If 30 employees aren’t killed then 60 employees will be killed.
The concept for The Belko Experiment is great. A crazy violent film where it should be Office Space meets The Purge. However, somehow someway, the concept was messed up.
The Belko Experiment failed to live up to it’s potential. I am unsure if the original James Gunn script wasn’t fully developed or if Jason Blum or Greg McLean messed up the film. But somebody messed up a perfectly good concept.
Why do I think it was messed up? The film should have been setup where you had a character in the film that represented every corporate office stereotype. These are characters would be similar to those in The Office or Office Space. These characters would quickly thrusted into the “experiment” and you would see the evolution of their actions. Think Office Space meets Purge with lots of entertaining violence and some unique funny kills.
Instead, The Belko Experiment came off as an unbelievable moral preachy movie. The movie pitted a wimpy peaceful “let’s not kill anyone” character against a former military special operations “let’s do what we got to do to survive” type character. The peaceful guy only decides to kill when his girlfriend dies. The peaceful guy becomes a total badass and kills everybody in a move that would be on Mission Impossible. Totally unbelievable character evolution. It’s almost like James wrote the movie and couldn’t decide on how to make it end so he just picked a bullshit ending out instead of thinking it through.
In my opinions, the characters were very one dimensional and underdeveloped. The goal should have been to create characters that the moviegoer could identify with and root for. If the movie was going to be successful, then every moviegoer would be able to pick a character and state “that would be me if this really happened.” But that wasn’t the case.
Instead, The Belko Experiment undelivered on its potential. It’s like they made a kickass trailer and kickass posters but somebody forgot to make a kickass movie.