The ‘Belko Experiment’: A psychological thriller that lacks closure
LOS ANGELES, March 17, 2017 – What would you do to stay alive. That’s the question facing a group of employees that work for Belko Industries.
Scriptwriter James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) psychological thriller The Belko Experiment has viewers asking the question “what would you do” when your employer becomes a terrorist, demanding that the strong kill weak in order to survive.
The ensemble includes cast Tony Goldwyn (Scandal), John Gallagher Jr. (The Newsroom), and John C. McGinley (Scrubs) quickly realizes they are in trouble when an anonymous voice is heard over the intercom, announcing the rules of the game. The mysterious voice announces that they must choose two people to kill within 30 minutes to satisfy stage one of the game.
If they don’t, four people will die via tiny bombs, disguised as tracking devices, that were placed inside the employee’s head.
The unseen captor is discovered to be watching the group via tiny cameras placed throughout the building. As the story progresses, the characters are forced to decide who should live and who should die. Goldwyn’s character attempts to rationalize killing his fellow employees saying “my wife and children need me.”
The Belko Experiment soon ensures that anyone hoping to live will have to kill at least one person.
Throughout the film, a few of the hostages attempt to signal for help but are shot at by some mysterious security guards. There’s a wide streak of humor here, but it resists slapstick in favor of occasional bleak wit and throwaway quips that don’t intrude on the essential suspense.
While the film provides a lot of action and suspense, it lacks closure. We are not told why Belko was chosen for the experiment and I believe it would have been better to see the survivor attempt to explain what happened, which could have led to a second movie.
Despite receiving a lowly 45% on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s worth a viewing.