Ladies and gentlemen, I think we may have another The Purge-esque franchise on our hands. At least, that’s what it sort of feels like when you’re watching The Belko Experiment. Instead of having a legalized day of killing, you have a social experiment of killing. I’m not sure which one’s supposed to be better! Ever since seeing the trailers and posters, I’ve been wanting to see this film. Even if the film was downright horrible, I liked the premise out of just sheer fun. Maybe it’s a little morose, but this is pretty much what I wanted to see in The Hunger Games…well, it sort of is like The Hunger Games in an office.
In a remote office building, 80 employees are forced to play a game of life or death when a speaker is heard ordering the employees to kill each other. If they refuse, the voices will kill them instead, and they will kill twice as much as they requested from the employees in the first place. Basically, if you refuse to kill someone, you just doubled your chances at dying yourself. They only have a limited amount of time to decide if and how they will do it…oh yeah…and the captors turned off the air conditioning.
I really liked the concept of this film, even though I knew it would probably be lacking in the writing category. Now, I will tell you the biggest pet peeve I had with the film, and this is sort of important, as it has to do with the advertisements for the film. Look back to the poster – you see people using a tape dispenser as a means of a weapon, so you automatically assume people will be using office supplies to kill their colleagues, but the entire movie is filled with people using real weapons. ie guns, knives, axes, wrenches, etc. For the most part, a fire extinguisher was as far as it went with office supplies, which is a pretty big let-down for me. At the same time, it isn’t fully false advertisement, as it still really is The Hunger Games in an office building. It’s exactly what I thought it’d be minus the office supplies.
So, let’s go ahead and break it down. Where did it go right and wrong? Find out after the break.
PEOPLE SCORE – 6/10
Acting – 1|Characters – 1|Casting – 1|Importance – 2|Chemistry – 1
So, the first category, as always, is people…and my score was mostly meh, which is what I was afraid of. The only way these types of films can be phenomenal is if we really, really care about the characters. The main problem with that, however, is that there are 80 employees of this office building and the only way for us to care about them is if they made an entire film before it full of character development, I get it…but still, you don’t care as much as you could. The acting is mostly the same throughout, so no real challenges on their end. The characters had little diversity other than wicked and innocent, there should be more of a spectrum. The casting was okay, but literally anyone could have filled these roles. I do believe every character had their own role to play that very much helped the story progress, but no one really had the greatest chemistry.
WRITING SCORE – 7/10
Dialogue – 1|Balanced – 2|Story – 1|Originality – 1|Interesting – 2
Next up, we have the writing score, which got an okay score, but obviously not the best score. I would definitely consider this a highly interesting film that follows a pretty darn balanced pace, but everything else was just okay. Nothing stuck out with the dialogue, the story isn’t exactly what you’d call deep, and is it original? I think it would be more original if they used office supplies as weapons – but we have other kill or be killed films. Plus, there’s a lot of inspiration from Battle Royale.
BTS SCORE – 8/10
Visuals – 2|Directing – 1|Editing – 2|Advertisement – 1|Music – 2
Next up, we have everything that’s going on behind-the-scenes. As far as the visuals go, I would say it looked pretty nice – it was really gory, but in a lot of the cases, you’re talking about classic gore with practical effects, which was nice to see, as morbid as that sounds. The director didn’t have a huge challenge on their hands, though. Editing was pretty good, from what I could tell. It all flowed really nicely. I also wouldn’t say the film was as-advertised, see the third paragraph for more info. It did have some nice music, though…take that as you will.
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 8/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 0
Next up, we see that the narrative structure was mostly intact, save for the end, which had a super clear cliffhanger and lead-up to a second film – which doesn’t count for any kind of falling action. Everything else was perfectly fine, though. The introduction was short, but it gave you enough information as to who everyone is and why they work in the building in the first place. The inciting incident is when the voice tells people to kill each other, the crossing-of-the-threshold moment happens when the voices ultimately kill people instead. The obstacles come down to running from both the voices and killer co-workers in the building. The climax is what everything ultimately builds up to, and like I said before, there is no falling action.
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 7/10
Rewatchability – 2|Fun – 2|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impulse/Talk – 1|Sucks you in – 2
How entertaining was The Belko Experiment? I would say that it’s overall a bit of fun, but it’s nothing I would recommend heavily. I believe it’s a pretty rewatchable film overall, fun to watch, and it sucks you in throughout the film. I have no real urge to buy it or even own it. However, I wouldn’t mind chatting with someone about it, but it won’t drive me crazy if I can’t.
TOTAL SPECIAL – 40/50
Action – 10|Horror – 5|Thriller – 10|Creativity – 5|Halfway Decent – 10
Now for the specialty questions that I wrote before seeing the movie. First off, the three genres IMDb has listed for The Belko Experiment is action, horror, and thriller, let’s start there. As an action film, it works out really well, as there is certainly plenty of action. As a horror film, the only thing you could really say is that it is indeed gory, but nothing about it is really that scary. As a thriller film, I have no qualms telling you that this film is indeed a thrill ride from beginning to end. Next, we go back to the third paragraph when we talk about the creativity – this is where I expected some office supplies – which never happened. The kills themselves were sometimes creative, just not the weapons. Finally, would I consider this movie halfway decent? Yes.