Belko Industries is a Colombia based company, hiring American workers to deal with international business relations. During a seemingly routine day at the office, a mysterious voice over the intercom informs them that there is no way out of the building, and that all 80 present employees are forced to kill 30 of their fellow workers. If they don't? Every one of them will be killed via a bomb implanted in their head. Mike (John Gallagher Jr.) can't justify taking human life, so he teams up with a few other employees and works towards finding a way to escape from their situation. Meanwhile, Barry (Tony Goldwyn) and his crew take matters into their own hands, attempting to follow through with the murdering. I usually have one or two sentences more in me to describe a film's plot, but that is, essentially, what all 80 minutes of this film's runtime comprises of.
Just when you think the film might have something to say about violence, it starts celebrating it. I won't spoil anything, but there are some awful events that take place in this film. But it's not just the cruel violence that made me dislike this, but also the weak script. I'm a fan of James Gunn. He shot into stardom with Guardians of the Galaxy, and I love that film, but I also really like his previous works. Slither and Super are both really well written and fun films. With this film, however, it doesn't feel like its written by someone nearly as talented as James Gunn. It feels like merely another horror film on an assembly belt. While offering no surprises or excitement, it also nails just about every cliché it can find.
The whole thing lacks a distinct touch of personality, adding to that assembly line feel I mentioned. Although, I do have to respect McLean's preference of practical effects. Despite the violence being borderline sadistic, the gore and the squibs are all really there. While it doesn't save it from being barely even watchable, the film is also quite paced well, with the carnage kicking off only about 10 minutes in. The ensemble cast are shockingly game and they all seem to be having fun. But, like I said, the characters are just awful. They're about as exciting as an actual day at some pencil-pushing desk job.
If I could recommend this film to anyone, it would be the genre-loving, splatter house enthusiast, midnight movie crowd who aren't looking for a film with anything interesting to do or say. I'm sure this film will find it's crowd, the few people in my theater seemed to eat it up, but I just couldn't stand it. I contemplated walking out, although after seeing the laugh out loud way this film pathetically tries to set up a franchise, I'm glad I didn't. But, like the equally stomach churning Purge franchise, we'll probably be getting a lot of these.
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