The Belko Experiment Review
by Phillip Wilcox "Our Movie Demon"
"At the end of the day, everyone is out for themselves."
This chilling line, as spoken in The Belko Experiment, is unfortunately true in most circumstances in not just this society, or Any society, but in human nature. It's no surprise that human beings have this mechanism that kicks in when under lots of stress, it's called "Fight or Flight". I'm sure you all know what that means. And for those who don't - It's means when your back's up against the wall, when the chips are down, you have two options: Either stay and face/tackle the issue or problem head on, or to bolt, take off and not deal with any of it. Well, that's what 80 people who are working in a corporate industry building must deal with in the film when an ominous voice suddenly speaks over the intercom and gives them two options: They must either kill each other and build up the body count to 30 within 2 hours, or if they don't accomplish that task, they will be executed via detonating the explosive tracers that were implanted in the back of their heads. Much like real life, if something like this were to happen, there would be Some concern, but people would mostly think it was some sick joke. But, as the way human beings are built, a sense of mortality sets in the minute someone dies. After that it doesn't take much to create chaos, panic, more so, mass hysteria. This is the point where protagonists become antagonists. The people who you may think are your friends are only out to watch their own back, and if it came down you or them, they would most likely choose themselves over helping you. As it's pointed out in the film, it's human nature. It was coined early on before it was to open nationwide in theaters that it was "Office Space meets Battle Royale". What a way to liken this film to 2 other great films in my opinion! Because essentially you do get humor, some dark humor at that. I sometimes found myself the only one giggling and chuckling during moments in certain scenes where it made me question, "Should I even be finding this funny?!" When something like that happens during a movie like this, that means the dark humor is there, and you have discovered it.
The film was scribed by writer/director James Gunn. Who, let's face it, is now one of the biggest names working in movies today with the sequel to the Marvel superhero extravaganza Guardians Of The Galaxy (or GOTG for all you acronym whores out there). But if you paid close attention, he was out there already writing and directing movies. His first recognizable gig was back in 1996 writing for Lloyd Kaufman's Troma Entertainment twisted punk adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, simply called Tromeo & Juliet. Jumping ahead, if you've seen the reboot to Dawn Of The Dead, Gunn wrote that as well. And jumping even further ahead, he wrote and directed his own creature feature called Slither. If you're reading this and love your horror movies, you Better have seen Slither, otherwise shame on you! So, these are just a few examples of what's he done and how long he's been around! So here's a man who know's horror, has written and directed horror movies, and also has a fun twisted sense of humor. It should really be no surprise that what gave him inspiration for this story was from a dream he had. Director Greg McLean came busting down the door to the horror scene like gang busters when he opened his first feature length debut with the Aussie Horror flick Wolf Creek. It was intense as it was brutal, and that's just what The Belko Experiment needed, and that's just what the movie got! The film has got a fantastic line up of actors who bring a sense of authenticated reactions to what's happening in the story, that you don't have to feel cheated, like you knew you were watching actors! I had no problem believing these people were in such an insane situation. One that had a low percentage survival rate. Some people had a hard time seeing the horror, as if the horror should come out of those cheap jump scares, when the true horror of the picture came from human behavior during dangerous and stressful circumstances. I'm sure James Gunn didn't mean to, but at the heart of it, it poses questions, one of which is "What would YOU do?", and also, "Who can you Really trust if you were in a situation like that?". That's scarier more than any haunted house filled with ghosts. The Belko Experiment is a fun, dark, thrill ride that will leave you wondering which person are you, Fight or Flight?
Writer: James Gunn
Director: Greg McLean
Starring: John Gallagher Jr., Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona, John C. McGinley, Melonie Diaz, Michael Rooker, Owain Yeoman, Sean Gunn, Josh Brener, Rusty Schwimmer, Gregg Henry
Running Time: 1 hr 28 mins
Genre: Action - Thriller - Horror
How It Can Be Seen: In Theaters Now!