By Dave B.
In The Belko Experiment (2017, currently on HBO) a group of office workers on the outskirts of Bogota, Colombia have their normal routine interrupted by an unexpected announcement over the public address system: kill two coworkers in 30 minutes or be punished. When the workers fail in this objective, mandatory trackers that have been implanted in all of the workers, allegedly to deter kidnappings, explode in the heads of four employees. Trapped in the building and with ever increasing demands for carnage, the Belko employees engage in a deadly game of survival against their captors and each other.
Generally speaking, The Belko Experiment is mildly entertaining if you’re a fan of carnage, gore, and violence. The movie does a good job of showing what humans are capable of doing to (and for) each other when survival is at stake. The performances aren’t spectacular, but they’re all solid and help viewers buy into the film’s farfetched premise. The visual effects are somewhat mundane and get old quickly, but they aren’t bad enough to negatively impact movie in a significant way.
The biggest problem with The Belko Experiment is that if you’re someone who is inclined to watch it, you probably already buy into it’s messages about the true state of human nature and how we are likely to respond when the rules that we take for granted change. The movie offers nothing new philosophically, intellectually, or creatively. And it doesn’t provide much for viewers to think about once it’s over. That’s unfortunate because although the film firmly has an opinion on how naïve moral positions can be outside the realm of civilized society, there is a lot more that could have been said about how a degree of amorality is also necessary for a society to function well and for the bounds of human knowledge to expand, for example.
I didn’t hate The Belko Experiment, but it didn’t scratch the itch that I wanted it to. It failed to expand its messaging beyond its premise and that decision feels a bit lazy. The Belko Experiment is acceptable for some relatively mindless, gory fun, but I don’t recommend it. It’s neither fresh enough nor unique enough for viewers to go out of their way spending 89 minutes of their life watching it.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.