The Belko Experiment John Gallagher Jr., Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona. Directed by Greg McLean. Rated R. Opens Friday citywide.
If a corporation wanted to implant tracking devices in its employees, for their own protection (in the case of kidnapping, say), where do you imagine they would be located? If your first thought was the arm, rather than the base of the skull, you’re a lot smarter than the 80 characters in The Belko Experiment, who suddenly find themselves trapped in their isolated Colombia office building one morning. An impassive voice on the intercom instructs them to follow his orders or face “repercussions,” which turns out to mean being killed when the “tracking device” in an employee’s head explodes. The orders they’re required to follow are equally horrific.
Unfortunately, those orders aren’t very imaginative—even though the film’s script was written by James Gunn, years prior to Guardians of the Galaxy. (Greg McLean, best known for Wolf Creek, directed.) There are multiple stages to the anonymous voice’s sadistic game, but all of them simply require the Belko employees to murder one another, turning The Belko Experiment into an especially gory indoor Hunger Games. A large cast of fine actors—including John Gallagher Jr. as the main hero and Tony Goldwyn as the most brutal of the lot—do their best to provide emotional ballast and some flashes of dark humor, but there’s a grinding monotony to the carnage that’s downright clinical.