Sunday, June 11, 2017

'The Belko Experiment' Is Decently Interesting and Thrilling, but It Doesn't Live Up to Its Potential

The Belko Experiment has this intriguing setup: 80 Belko Industries employees go to work in a remote company building in Bogota, Columbia, thinking it’s just going to be another ordinary day at the office.  Suddenly, steel shutters envelop the building, trapping them inside, and a voice in the intercom forces them to participate in a kill-or-be-killed, survival-of-the-fittest game.   If instructions aren’t met, they are going to be remotely killed – as each employee apparently had a nano-bomb implanted at the base of his or her skull when he or she was hired under the pretense that it’s supposed to be a tracking device in case he or she was kidnapped.  So alliances are made, friends become enemies, and chaos and slaughter ensues.

Yep, The Belko Experiment is basically another reiteration of the Battle Royal, Hunger Games concept.  It’s a scenario that has been done a couple of times.  But I like the “out of nowhere” nature of its take on it, as the participants are abruptly put in such a situation from a place that they have come to accept as a safe, banal, familiar, standard, day-to-day environment.
Fans of movies like Saw (I kind of am) and The Purge (I’m not) will like this movie as it delivers the violent fun expected from the genre.  However, it doesn’t offer anything of substance beyond that.  It indeed has an interesting premise, and I feel that a lot of thoughtful subplots, characterizations, and metaphors could have been done from it.  But it doesn’t get around doing these things.

It could have also worked much better if it fully committed to a dark comedy tone.  This only makes more sense when you consider the fact that its cast includes some actors that do comedy.  Instead, what it has is an uneven, confusing blend of satire and straight-up splatter horror.  But, hey, when the morbid humor works, it does produce some chuckles.
Overall, The Belko Experiment is enough to decently entertain.  I was intrigued at most parts of its plot, though I’m also somewhat underwhelmed of its “big reveals” and where it went with its narrative.  As for bringing gory action and thrills, it succeeds.  But, in the end, it leaves the frustrating feeling that it didn’t truly live up to its true potential.

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