The Belko Experiment

Slick and Empty.

* * 1/2
(out of five)

Greg McLean’s The Belko Experiment, from an original script by James Gunn, is a slick, expertly crafted horror/comedy hybrid that, unfortunately, is not as strong conceptually, thematically or stylistically as almost any episode of Black Mirror. It’s polished but in no way profound.

The milieu, and the set-up, are interesting, insofar as we don’t often see movies set in corporate high-rises in Bogota, Columbia. This particular building is on the outskirts of the city, and is home to the Columbia HQ of a nebulous corporation, Belko, whose employees are mostly American, with some Brits and a few locals scattered throughout. One morning, the local employees are told to go home, and the rest are subjected to – well, The Belko Experiment, which is all kinds of nasty.

This kind of story – at home in the worlds of The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Outer Limits and, of course, Black Mirror – has its devotees, and I am one. But I’d certainly seen all this before, or at least variations. Nothing here is a surprise. But it is crisply entertaining; McLean, who knows how to shoot a movie, gets good mileage from red blood on sharp white business shirts and gleaming modern interiors, and John C. McGinley makes a meal of his role as the first of the worker bees to go loco. The kind of movie best enjoyed with a six pack.

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