The philosophical/hypothetical question "Is it better to kill a certain number of people if twice as many people will be killed otherwise?" gets the big screen treatment in The Belko Experiment.  This movie, written by James Gunn, takes a dark (and sometimes darkly comic) look at what people will do when given an impossible choice.

It's a strange start to the day for the employees at Belko Industries.  On the way to the office building in Bogota, Colombia, armed guards search every vehicle and turn away the locals.  We get to know some of the 80 employees there: romantic couple Mike (John Gallagher Jr.) and Leandra (Adria Arjona), responsible boss Barry (Tony Goldwin), awkward and creepy guy Wendell (John C. McGinley), maintenance men, the stoner employee, the hostile woman, etc.
Things get much worse when steel walls rise up and seal everyone in the building, and all communication with the outside world is cut off.  A voice over the office intercom tells the people that they have to kill two people, or four people will be killed.  The employees nervously think it's a joke, until four people's heads explode.  It turns out that when the company put tracking chips in people's skulls in case of kidnapping, they were really explosives that can be detonated by remote control; the company also has cameras all over the building to spy on the employees.  The voice on the intercom then gives an ultimatum that's the basis for most of the movie: The employees have two hours to kill 30 people, or 60 people will die.

The employees react to this in different ways.  Mitch doesn't want to kill anyone and focuses on escaping.  Barry gets a bunch of people and arms them, to do what he thinks must be done.  Some people hide, some arm themselves (with kitchen and office supplies), and everyone has to decide what to do as the deadly deadline gets ever closer...
The Belko Experiment is a basic yet enjoyable big-budget B movie.  The characters are fairly generic, but that's largely the point: to see how they react in this suddenly homicidal experiment.  The movie could have used more dark humor, but it certainly delivers plenty of bloodshed --first accidentally, the deliberately -- as the characters face the demand put on them.  While The Belko Experiment could have done more with its dark premise, it's still entertaining.

Overall grade: B
Reviewed by James Lynch

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