Are you reading this review at work? You probably shouldn’t, but I won’t tell if you don’t.
Whilst I have your attention though, take a quick look around at the people in your office. Over there are Jim and Emma, they still think no one knows about their secret relationship despite what happened at the Christmas Party, sitting next to you is Wendy, the scent of her herbal tea is rather soothing, if a little overpowering sometimes. Just leaving the staff kitchen area is Robert, you and he have been good friends since starting and you regularly meet up for drinks on Friday. Finally, there’s your Boss, Giles. Just look at him sitting in his office, watching over all of you like a prison warden, you’re just waiting for the day that you can get one over on hi- OH CRAP! He’s looking this way. Quick! Pretend you’re working. Yell out that you need the numbers for the Smith account right away… Is he gone? Phew. We dodged a bullet there.
Now, imagine that you’re forced to kill them in some sort of sick, twisted plot by an invisible overseer. Could you do it? Okay, okay, everyone excluding Giles. He’s had it coming for a while.
This is the premise for The Belko Experiment, which has been described by many as Battle Royale meets Office Space, and the result is absolutely amazing!
One of the most important aspects of this style of film is its script. The plot itself is more or less the standard fare you get from the genre, give or take a few twists here and there. However, without a script that maintains a good pace, the entirety of the film would be let down. Fortunately, that is not the case here. The story, while a little slow to begin with, quickly heats up, building a fast-paced narrative that is overflowing with tension, rising up to a finale that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat.
Helping to back up the tight script is a fantastic cast, featuring some of the usual suspects from director James Gunn’s previous films (Michael Rooker and Sean Gunn) alongside a whole host of other talented actors such as John C. McGinley (Scrubs), John Gallagher Jr. (Short Term 12) and Melonie Diaz (Fruitvale Station). Each actor brings something wonderful to their role, but there is something missing from McGinley’s role of the slightly deranged and perverse Wendell Dukes. It’s hard to say what is wrong with his character without spoiling parts of the plot, but it feels as if some aspects of his emotional state were left on the floor of the edit suite. I’m sure that there will be plenty of people who will be pleased with these cuts, but the impression is that something is lacking overall.
Another, more egregious, part of the film that’s missing revolves around its setting of office warfare as well as the marketing in general for the film. In the lead up to its release, a lot of hype revolved around the average items you might find in an office and how they might be used them to defend oneself. Yet the film itself sees very little use of improvised weaponry. Once again, it is a strange thing to gripe about, but when you are faced with the scenario from the film, it seems hard to believe that more people wouldn’t try and wield a stapler or keyboard as their coworkers attempt to garrotte them with a paperclip chain.
Overall, The Belko Experiment, is an absolutely fantastic, if gore-filled, thrill ride. Whilst some of the characters may not get enough time to shine, you will find yourself rooting for them nonetheless.
By the way, well done for not getting caught while reading this… He’s right behind you isn’t he? Don’t worry, just tell him you’re waiting on Steve to get you the Smith account. Steve’s always good for a scapegoat. Wait, Giles is still there and reading this over your shoulder? Damn! Maybe pretend you’re being controlled by robots. If you’re lucky, he’ll send you home for the day. Unless he’s still reading, in which case, you’re up a creek without a paddle.
Sorry about that…
The Belko Experiment is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now!