For Mike Milch (John Gallagher Jr.), his day at Belko Industries begins when he arrives at the office in Bogotá, Colombia. He finds it odd that security guards are escorting some of the staff away from the premises, but he continues into the office. Some of the other employees arrive, and the day continues as expected. Things quickly change when a voice over the intercom demands that the workers kill two of their own, or else four of them will be killed at random. Thinking that it might be a prank, the employees do not kill comply with the instructions. As promised, four people are killed when the remote trackers, implanted at the base of each employee’s skull, explodes.
Through the panic, the voice issues the next set of instructions: kill thirty of their coworkers, or else sixty more people will be killed. The rest of the film follows the survival strategies of those who believe that they should work together towards a peaceful resolution, and those who brutally kill in order to survive.
What I Thought
(Spoilers ahead!) I have to admit that I was disturbed by this movie. Even though it did not get the best reviews on sites like Rotten Tomatoes, I thought it was an enlightening look at human psychology.
My main criticism of the film was the end. The motivations of the experimenters seemed weak for the amount of killing they did. I have a hard time imagining that anyone could take lives so lightly in the name of social science, but then again, maybe that is what makes the film so disturbing. There are probably people out there that think the study of human psychology should not be hindered by social norms. And, while the experimenters might have learned a lot from their experiment, things that could benefit society, it begs us to question the implications. Where do we determine the value of human life? When do we determine the cost for a few for the good of many, and who pays that cost? If we begin treating people like lab animals, where does that end?
On a separate, less depressing note, I enjoyed how the writers gave us a chance to see the employees before the killing began. At the beginning of the film, they are as average an office worker as they come, asking each other how their families were and what their plans were for the weekend. But, friendly familiarity turned on a dime when their lives were threatened. I thought it was an interesting critique of human nature and how easy it is for us to shun civility in the name of survival.
Why You Should Watch It
If you do not mind a bloody horror flick, then you will enjoy this movie. Lots of heads exploded, and there was blood to spare. But. if you take the film as an obscene, gratuitously violent movie, then you will be sorely disappointed. The true beauty of it lies when the viewer looks inward and asks themselves the tough questions.
Final Rating: 💀💀💀💀💀/ 5 skulls
P.S. Tell me, splatter lovers, if you were in the same situation, what would you do? Would you run and try wait the whole thing out, or would you kill in order to survive? Let me know in the comments below!