The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in films from Battle Royale to The Hunger Games. What's different here is the utter pointlessness of the exercise. There's no social commentary here whatsoever, nor is there any satirical edge or character-based intrigue. Instead, this is little more than a sadistic exercise in violence and death, more along the lines of the Saw series. And if it didn't have such a terrific cast, it would be unwatchable.
It's set in a suburb of Bogota, Colombia, where the Belko nonprofit agency helps Latin American companies connect with North American employees. One morning, just after the staff arrives for work, there's an announcement: two people must be killed in the next two minutes. And then 30 people must be dead in the next two hours. It doesn't take long until the entire office block collapses into anarchy. The boss Barry (Tony Goldwyn) immediately seizes control of a stash of guns in the security office, while IT guy Mike (John Gallagher Jr.) keeps a level head as he tries to protect his girlfriend Leandra (Adria Arjona). And as chatterbox Wendell (John G. McGinley) goes on a rampage, Dany (Melonie Diaz) manages to keep out of everyone's way on her very first day in the job.
It's hard to believe that this is written and produced by James Gunn, the man behind the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. The script is so simplistic and witless that it can't help but make thinking audience members furious. Convenient elements are added to boost the premise, such as impenetrable shutters closing off the building or tracker chips implanted in the employees that have explosive charges in them that can be triggered with the flick of a switch. In other words, it's clear from the start that it's unlikely anyone will survive. And even if they do, there's no real reason for any of this to be happening.
Continue reading: The Belko Experiment Review