A nice reminder that James Gunn got his start writing twisted horror.
2016 flick ‘The Belko Experiment‘ is a pleasant surprise. Darkly funny “last man standing” survival horror with a strong cast and beautifully executed for shock value direction from Aussie “Splat Pack” alumni Greg McLean.
You gotta figure something’s not quite right when your U.S. government sponsored non-profit organization moves its entire operation, personnel included, into a remote high-security building in far away Columbia. Right?!
So when one day an ominous intercom voice declares that the employees now trapped inside this
office building impenetrable fortress must kill some to save the rest it shouldn’t come as a complete shocker. Of course, Mike Milch (John Gallagher Jr.) and the rest of his coworkers are left dumbfounded. I guess they figured the (explosive!) tracker inserted into the base of their skulls upon arrival was just for their safety…obviously.
McLean wastes little time developing characters or motives. The ensuing panic and inevitable horrific “sacrifices” define themselves. Mike, his interoffice girlfriend Leandra (Adria Arjona), and alpha male dickwad Barry (Tony Goldwin) take up of the majority of our interest as they weave through the onslaught.
The remaining cast members (including John C. McGinley, Sean Gunn, and Michael Rooker) are simply more cross-section of humanity meat for the grinder. These tight office space environs well-suit the genre. And the highly-creative, gorific deaths beautifully reflect both McLean’s and scribe James Gunn’s collective cinematic histories.
A great set-up, quick pacing, a smart script, and ruthlessly efficient direction make ‘The Belko Experiment‘ one of the better guilty pleasure films of the year. That twisty payoff is epic. I was just hoping for something less hollowed out and with characters we actually care about. Oh well.