Cinemavenger

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The Belko Experiment


When you're engaging to harness the upside potential of a disruptive new paradigm, you have to move the needle.  Once you achieve buy-in, you can pivot to maximize scalable synergy.  If your throughput is challenged, just open the kimono and rightsize the solution matrix.


If you understood any of that biz-speak gobbledyfuck, you've probably spent time in an office listening to middle managers attempting to justify their existences.  If it made you laugh or pissed you off, congrats!  You're the smartest monkey in the khakis and spreadsheets barrel.


The corporate world is lubed up and overdue for a good, hard ass-fucking like the one the inimitable Office Space gave it back in '99.  Judging from the previews, The Belko Experiment had the front door locked and the ball gag firmly in place.  Sadly, the movie itself just can't get it up.


Belko is a big company.  One day, at its office in rural Columbia, 80 employees are locked in and told by a voice on the intercom that they are about to part of a social experiment.  Their first task:  kill two of their coworkers.  Any two.  By any means.  Within 30 minutes.


The COO (Tony "The Tiger" Goldwyn) urges calm.  Nice guy Mike (John "Sledge-o-Matic" Gallagher, Jr.) thinks it's gotta be a joke.  Sleazeball Wendell (John C. "Bob Slydell" McGinley) wonders if this is his chance to get into Leandra's (Adria "My" Arjona) pants.  When the 30 minutes are up, the voice on the intercom kills four people - I won't spoil how - and explains that the survivors have two hours to kill 30 more or the voice will kill 60 of them.


With a nifty setup like that, The Belko Experiment could have been gloriously absurd or tensely frightening.  It could've offered up insightful commentary on corporate shitwittery and/or the fragile illusion of human civility.  Instead, it ends up being the movie equivalent of getting your ballsack stuck in a paper shredder.


Writer James "Tommy" Gunn has proven he can pen some wickedly weird, subversive stuff.  See:  Tromeo and Juliet, Thirteen Ghosts, Dawn of the Dead, Slither and Super.  But with The Belko Experiment he's more off his game than the Monopoly thimble.


Death by 3-hole-punch, coffee mug, stapler and laptop!  The "dumb blonde" secretary using sex appeal to lure her horny, bro boss into the broom closet then drowning him in the mop bucket!  Paperclips rubber band-launched into eyeballs!  Traps laid with Scotch tape and thumbtacks!  Father's Day tie strangulations!  Carryout lunch bag suffocations!


Is that so much to ask from The Office meets The Hunger Games?  Apparently, yes.  Most everyone in The Belko Experiment gets shot with guns from the company armory.  Because all offices have armories, right?


Yeah, so I'm going to have to ask Belko to go ahead and come in on Saturday and eat an econo-sized bag of dicks.  Mmmkay?  Thaaaanks, that would be great.


April 7, 2017

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