The Belko Experiment review: Guardians Of The Galaxy’s James Gunn brings his low-budget splatter-fest to screens, uniting with genre favourite, Wolf Creek’s Greg McLean.
The Belko Experiment review by Paul Heath.
James Gunn returns to his horror roots for this throwback thriller set in the confines of a towering office block in present-day Bogotá, Colombia. The film revolves around 80 employees whose lives are plunged into immediate danger when the entire building is put into lock-down with an unseen control-freak manipulating them as pawns in a simple game where everyone must fight for their own survival. Specifically, a voice over the workplace’s intercom informs them that unless someone kills two company employees within the following thirty minutes, more will be instantly offed. Obviously, this ensures instant widespread panic amongst the individuals and is just the first part in a deadly social/ morality tale where anything can and does happen.
The Belko Experiment features a fairly impressive cast – genre character actors like Tony Goldwyn, John C. McGinley, John Gallagher Jr. and Gunn regular Michael Rooker are joined by the slightly lesser-known, though equally impressive Adria Arjona and Melonie Diaz in a film that is bound to split audiences. The main reason is its extreme violence, very present from the outset with constant hammering home of its message throughout. This causes issues consistently but the film does manage to entertain as well as have the viewer reaching for the nearest sick bucket with its often unpredictable kills.
Part-Battle Royale, part-office drama, all constructed and (quite literally) executed within the claustrophobic confines of a Die Hard-like set-up (well, it is set in a tower block), the film just about manages to maintain the entertainment factor throughout. Its slight repetitiveness does sometimes grate, the filmmakers seemingly running out of ideas as the narrative continues through to its bitter bloody end, but there’s is enough going on to ensure that you walk away from the multiplex feeling as though you’ve got your money’s worth – even if you do feel a little dirty as a result.
Genre fans should tuck in for a rare, cinematic splatter-filled treat, but perhaps this film will find a bigger audience with the Friday night, post-pub streaming market where it will definitely feel more at home.
The Belko Experiment review by Paul Heath, April 2017.
The Belko Experiment is released in UK cinemas on Friday 21st April 2017.