Starring: John Gallagher Jr, Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona, John C McGinley, Melonie Diaz, Owain Yeoman, Sean Gunn, Brent Sexton, Josh Brener, David Dastmalchian, Rusty Schwimmer,Michael Rooker
Directed By: Greg McLean
Plot: 80 employees of The Belko Corporation find themselves in a “social experiment’. Kill or be killed.
Warning: Spoiler Level Medium
What Works: I actually really like the concept. Obviously, it’s kinda like The Purge, and some other films, but I thought the trailer was interesting, and the film delivered somewhat on the promise. There are a few good characters here, but most of the “characters” exist because they picked a recognizable face to help you distinguish one character from the next. If you watch a lot of films, you’ll start with maybe 25 recognizable “characters” that get whittled down. Depending on what you would do in the situation, you’ll relate to maybe one of three main characters. There’s John Gallagher Jr, who is absolutely against killing. There’s his girlfriend, Adria Arjona, who is in between, and Tony Goldwyn, who is going to get home no matter what. Which leads me to a big problem this film has…
What Doesn’t Work: Aside from a very early death of a big actor, it’s pretty clear who is going to survive to the final stage. More importantly, the film sets up a Gallagher vs Goldwyn finale from the beginning. I think the film would have actually been more interesting if someone other than those two had actually made it to the end. Someone who played a very different game. The film almost had that contender in Melonie Diaz, but decided against that route. Instead, we get a predictable ending, even if the film tries to throw a last minute twist at the end. Unlike The Hunger Games, where clearly Katniss was always going to survive, this film could have gone a different route from the beginning. This film would have been more interesting, with 25 different recognizable faces, if our “protagonist” was constantly changing. Imagine if just when you think you know who is going to survive, that person dies, and a new protagonist is born. Instead, we get a really predicatble film.
Final Word: I was somewhat disappointed with how the film played out in a very generic form, but I still think there’s a concept here that’s somewhat entertaining. I’m a little torn on this film. I think I liked it more than I should have. On a side note, let’s talk about the gore. Is this film gory? Yes. But almost every instance of gore is super quick. Only one time does the film linger on the gore. Most of the time, a head explodes, and we move on. There are definitely gorier films out there. I still wouldn’t show this to a little kid, because this film is pretty consistently violent for its 90 minute runtime, but it’s just not offensively gory.
Final Grade: C+