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Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Belko Experiment 2016 * * 1/2 Stars

The Belko ExperimentDirector: Greg McLean
Year: 2016
Rated R
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Jim Gallagher Jr., Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona

A Columbia setting, murder by tape dispenser, the hero being the same guy who got offed by John Goodman in 10 Cloverfield Lane, kneel down executions during a Spanish version of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive". Yeah it's all present in 2016's The Belko Experiment (my latest review).

So OK, here's the gist: Eighty employees are working at Belko Industries (a fictional company). They become trapped in the facility's huge office building. The walls are sealed off, the air conditioning has been shut down, the security guards are replaced, and an unknown intercom voice instructs the workers to kill thirty of their own or sixty will die instead. I guess you can cross off Hawaiian shirt day or any staff promotions that week. Bummer.

Now I like horror films. I like thrillers. Heck, I like a little dark humor as well. "Belko" is a mixture of all three. Just imagine 1999's Office Space and The Maze Runner having a cinematic offspring. Now imagine that same offspring turning into a raving sicko. In truth, a truckload of people die in The Belko Experiment. And hey, it's all for the study of human behavior done by lucid, social scientists. To call this movie disturbing is like calling Donald Trump's approval rating unsatisfactory. Both statements are inherently true.

Image result for The belko experiment 2016 movie scenesAnyway, "Belko" is directed by Greg McLean. He's the same dude who did the serial killer flick, Wolf Creek. Greg has a clear vision in that he wants you to squirm one minute and laugh mildly the next. There are exploding heads, endless blood splattering, and death by axes, guns, and knives. Oh and the elevator music in between is a nice touch. That's right, elevator music.

In terms of casting for The Belko Experiment, well it reads like a list of veteran B actors who randomly show up in commercial movies from time to time. Yes I'm talking about Tony Goldwyn, John C. McGinley, Melonie Diaz, and Michael Rooker. Call me crazy but I think Greg McLean put Rooker in "Belko" just to remind everybody that he was in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. And McGinley, well wasn't he in Office Space mentioned earlier? Just a random thought.

Image result for The belko experiment 2016 movie scenesAll in all, The Belko Experiment has almost no character development in its gory eighty-eight minutes. And within the first ten, you have to quickly get to know everyone and the peril they are about to go through. With its corporate thumb nailing, its dead bodies spread out like mouse droppings, and its cubical nature, "Belko" does contain a startling ending that reveals a bigger picture than the movie itself. And yes, this flick is fairly well done and will affect you somewhat psychologically. However, The Belko Experiment feels too demented and/or twisted to freely garner a recommendation. Call it bloody, B-movie mayhem. Call it a maverick, "experimental" model. Rating: 2 and a half stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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