In a twisted social experiment, a group of 80 Americans are locked in their high-rise corporate office in Bogotá, Colombia and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company's intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed.
|Title||:||The Belko Experiment|
|Release Date||:||March 17, 2017|
|Genres||:||Action, Horror, Science Fiction, Thriller|
|Production Co.||:||Orion Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), The Safran Company, Itaca Films, BH Tilt|
|Production Countries||:||United States of America|
|Director||:||Greg McLean, Iván Palomino|
|Casts||:||John Gallagher Jr., Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona, John C. McGinley, Melonie Diaz, Josh Brener, Michael Rooker, Sean Gunn, Mikaela Hoover, David Del Rio, David Dastmalchian, Abraham Benrubi, Owain Yeoman, Brent Sexton, Rusty Schwimmer, James Earl, Gail Bean, Maruia Shelton, Stephen Blackehart, Joe Fria, Benjamin Byron Davis, Valentine Miele, Jack Lindberg|
|Plot Keywords||:||office, experiment, colombia, voice, group, american, locked in, deadly, deadly game, social experiment|
The Belko Experiment Reviews
- A near-ideal mix of gory kills and organic laughsby 11 September 2016on
24 out of 32 people found the following review useful:
The concept of director Greg McLean and producer/writer James Gunn's THE BELKO EXPERIMENT won't seem overly original to those who've seen BATTLE ROYALE or really any movie in which people are forced to hunt or kill folks they know and like, but in Gunn's hands it's a whole lot more fun: office workers for a Bogota-based non-profit are trapped in their shiny office tower and told by a mysterious intercom voice that they've got to murder a certain number of their own before a pre-determined deadline or double that number will be killed via the company's "alternate method". To prove the seriousness of the situation, several employees' heads are suddenly ripped open by a mysterious force. After several attempts at teamwork to devise methods of contacting the outside world result in even more bodies as punishment, some of the (literally) more mercenary members of the management team decide that the voice sort of has a point, and set about liberating several handguns from a downstairs vault, not long after other sluggos have raided the cafeteria of its sharpest utensils.
Not surprisingly, Gunn's script establishes a firm balance between action, horror and organic comedy -- bother Sean gets some of the biggest laughs as the corporation's resident stoner and conspiracy theorist, who leads his own little squadron of three for much of the film -- and he and McLean have assembled a such a strong, fan-friendly cast of familiar heavies (Michael Rooker! Tony Goldwyn! Gregg Henry! John C. McGinley!), lesser-knowns and newcomers to play this likable, believable group of office drones that they're able to smartly subvert expectations on a number of occasions.
The body count is extremely high -- most of them on screen -- and the blood and gore is plentiful and extremely well-crafted, but it wisely isn't lingered on and there's no off-putting, drawn-out torture scenes to speak of. Mind you, a few of the most audience-pleasing kills are exceptionally squishy, so I could see this eventually hitting DVD and streaming in R and unrated versions. The TIFF audience saw the unrated version for sure last night, so plenty of cheers all around when some of the most devious players met their makers.
This is a great "what would you do" kind of show, and I'd imagine a lot of genre fans will get a huge kick out of it.
- A movie that's been done 100 times, but passes the time adequately.by 12 September 2016on
25 out of 34 people found the following review useful:
Eighty American workers in Bogota get locked inside their office building and an announcement over the intercom gives them half an hour to kill any two of the employees. When they don't comply, the rules are amped up, and an American Battle Royale (down to the 'collars') ensues.
The Belko Experiment managed to accomplish the difficult feat of never being boring, not even for a minute. It takes almost no time getting going, and at any given moment it is either action packed, or taking a break from action and descending into dark humour. Both of these were well-executed, with one particularly memorable action piece (the end of round 2, so pretty), and a spattering of interesting side characters, a lot of them hilarious in either attitude or demeanor. With that, it managed to entertain throughout, making it worth seeing.
However, where it fails is originality. The Battle Royale formula has been done time and time again, and here we get the straightest form of it, with zero deviation from the norm and zero unique perspective. Where a movie like Circle tries to infuse some kind of basic examinations of social themes, here there is no higher level to the killings. And for this, the movie never once surprises with a thought or an event. The characters are just shells of people; the bad guys are caricatures of evil, the protagonists of good. There is never ambiguity of character, in a movie where so much moral ambiguity should be present due to the situation. So from minute one you know exactly who will be a villain and who will be a hero, and the end game is obvious from the start. It's a waiting game for the movie to arrive where you know it is going, which makes it very unsatisfying once the action is over.
- Fun at first, ultimately a waste of time...by 26 March 2017on
12 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
The set up for the movie had a somewhat interesting concept at its core: what do people do when they are trapped in a situation where the only way out is to kill others? Not a completely original idea, but it has some potential to be thought provoking if there is some kind of message it is trying to send, or some aspect of society it is trying to satirize. The resulting bloodbath is well executed, if you are into seeing office workers murder each other. I can't tell if the movie has a messed up sense of humor, or if a few people in the theater with me just thought some of the deaths were so ridiculous it was funny. Personally I never found any of the deaths over the top ENOUGH to truly find them funny, so the other people's laughter just kind of made me uncomfortable... After the bloodbath ends though, ultimately there was nothing there, no deep thoughts, no important message, no point at all really. The closest thing I can up with for meaning in the movie is that in the end, they basically admit there was no real reason for the experiment to be conducted, and so conducting cruel experiments without a purpose is a bad thing? But that seems obvious, right? When chaos ensues, different people react in different ways. It's sort of like the Walking Dead in that sense, but the Walking Dead has time to develop its themes and characters long enough for you to extract some meaning. In a way, the pointlessness of the experiment and the killing is reflected in the pointlessness of the movie itself. I don't know if that's kind of meta, or just a waste of time, but yeah, if you skip this movie, you won't be missing much except seeing a lot of talented actors who always play supporting roles murder each other in the center stage. If you want to see John Ghallager Jr in something better, watch Hush, or The Newsroom. If you want to see Meryl from the Walking Dead, watch The Walking Dead. If you want to see the ideas this movie brings up actually addressed in a thought provoking way, maybe try the Hunger Games, or Battle Royale. This was a fun little film that ultimately means very little.
- A bloody good time.by 9 March 2017on
9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
The Belko Experiment is a messed up film and it's wildly entertaining.
The Belko Experiment is an indie film that's essentially about a office building that gets shut down and the people inside are forced to kill each other.
Here's the good.
The story in this movie keeps you on the edge of your seat practically the whole run time of the movie. It's a physiological horror film that really asks the audience, "What would you do in this situation?". I was lucky enough to be at a screening of the film with writer/producer James Gunn and the director Greg McLean and most of the cast. They talked a lot about how there was no villain in this movie, which is something I loved. The people in this movie were all acting for themselves, doing what they need to do for their family or for survival. The story in the beginning and the middle is very interesting and will keep the audience entertained well after the movie is over.
The acting is this movie is, for the most part, believable and good. Tony Goldwyn, John Gallagher Jr., and Sean Gunn were the standouts of this movie. Tony was terrifying, and just as he talked about during the Q and A at the screening, his character wasn't a villain. His character was doing what he had to do to make sure he could come home to his family again, even if is terrible. John Gallagher Jr. does a fantastic job as the main character. He displays a wide variety of emotions perfectly and pulls off a really really good performance, surpassing his acting in 12 Cloverfield Lane. The real standout of this movie is Sean Gunn who did a fantastic job with his character. He has some of the best and most memorable lines in the whole film. It's amazing to see how far Sean Gunn has gone in his acting ability when compared to his role in James Gunn's Super. Everyone in the movie, including the extras, pulled off great performances.
The technical parts of this movie are very well done. I have tons of respect for this movie's use of practical effects which added a lot of horror to the movie's tone. The cinematography in this movie was impressive, keeping a lot of shots close to give off a claustrophobic feeling. The lighting in this movie is used perfectly. Towards the latter half of the movie, many action sequences were lit uniquely. A action scene lit by a neon light and fire or a flickering light, whatever the case, it built the suspense.
Here's the bad.
The ending of this film is different. It didn't really set up the ending all that well and left the audience wanting something a bit more. It didn't ruin the fun of the movie but with a better ending it could have been a lot better. For a movie to me great it needs to have an ending that leaves the audience satisfied and this movie has trouble doing that.
Overall, The Belko Experiment is a thrill ride. When the action and horror and suspense hits, it hits hard. The acting from everyone is entertaining and believable, many performances being especially good. The lighting and cinematography add a lot to the overall tone of the film which makes it a lot more effective. While the ending leaves you wanting more, you'll still be thinking about this movie for days to come.
- Survival of the Fittestby 5 October 2016on
14 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
It starts as a normal day for employees of an American company in Colombia. Suddenly blast walls are lowered in the small office tower, exits are closed and a malevolent voice over the public address system orders people to kill or be killed. A few have to die before it is believed that this voice means business. Soon it is hand to hand combat and survival of the fittest among maintenance, management, IT nerds and the rest of the workers. Weapons are in plentiful supply. So are theories as to how and why this is happening, what to do in response to the commands and whether people should band together or fight for themselves.
This intense, violent, funny and unpredictable film is fueled by capable actors and an intriguing plot. It says a lot about human nature. People divide into two camps; the manipulators and those with empathy for others. Yet both types tend to die when the lights go out and the blast walls go down. The unexpected twists to the story are wonderful and plentiful. Characters that I assumed would live, instead die gruesome deaths. What detracted from the film is that there was little depth to the dialogue and the film was not shot where it was set (Colombia). World premiere seen at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.
- Gory? Sure. Fun Gory? Meh..by 21 March 2017on
20 out of 34 people found the following review useful:
You know the story. Heads explode, people are stabbed, sliced, and shot. I'd rather see 'Final Destination' type creativity with this sub- genre.
It's decent enough to watch. Nothing to rush out and see right away, though.
Gore without creativity no longer amuses me. It once did. But I'm a grow ass man, now.
Please hit the "this review was not helpful" button. I love that. I try to give an honest opinion about a film and people are going to hate on it. It is what it is. But, this movie was mediocre at best.
- A fun shallow thriller that lacks originality but entertaining.by 19 March 2017on
5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
The Belko Experiment is a bloody mess fun that goes for so long until it wears down with the body count. Produced and written by James Gunn, the same guy that can write a fun horror thriller like Dawn of the Dead or Slither (a little grossed out film). The script is able to flash out the characters by giving them characteristics on who they are in the movie and how they will all turn out when everything hits the fan of chaos. The plot follows Mike (John Gallagher Jr.) a regular employee going to work at a Belko company in Colombia. It's a nonprofit government organization that requires employees to get tracking devices implanted in the back of their heads for insurance policies if they were ever to get kidnapped in Colombia. Every one checks in the office like Mike's girlfriend Leandra (Adria Arjona), a new employee Dany (Melonie Diaz), A techie Keith (Josh Brener), a Maintenance guy Bud (Michael Rooker), a perverted office employee Wendell (John C. McGinley), and their boss Barry (Tony Goldwyn). Every thing changes, when the shutter doors close down the building and an announcement from a strange voice demands they kill a certain amount of employees or else the devices in their heads will kill many more in the building.
What worked with the film is it was quite entertaining especially for the horror thriller genre enthusiast. The concept idea was kind of mysterious as some unknown watcher is playing some sick experiment seeing how people would react in stressful situations. Even playing the idea of human nature will do whatever it takes to survive, even if it requires them to kill a coworker, their friend, etc. Who is this mysterious watcher? And what is the purpose of this sick social experiment?
When things hit the fan and every one starts to break into group with the boss taking charge and becoming the decision maker on who lives and who dies does create that fear. The movie does have a lot of brutal violence, even a sequence when they put a group of people in a side that have no children, and are expendable on that wall for them to be shot at. A bit of an overkill and a very dark direction. Once you can point out the bad group of people and a good-sided people that are fighting back and hoping to survive the terror of this experiment can be thrilling.
What I felt like it did not work with the film, as it can be thrilling to see how people would react or become violent to others and the final half hour of the movie with a lot of body counts. It can wear down to being just another shallow horror thriller, which does not make the film worth rewatching. Also, the plot does build up this mysterious voice that is demanding people to do the unthinkable. I was hoping to expect a bigger answer to this experiment. Sure, the ending can go to a bigger picture, as in something more is behind this. (without giving away spoilers). A story pitting people against each other and fighting to the death, sure does sound like we seen that before in The Hunger Games or Saw.
Overall, The Belko Experiment is a fair thriller film that builds up the suspense and its violent sequences of seeing people kill each other. The plot does not build anything new, and the action can be repetitive. I would rate the film 3.5 out of 5.
- It will leave you thinking about it for years to come!by 14 April 2017on
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
'THE BELKO EXPERIMENT': Four and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
The new indie horror flick from director Greg McLean and writer James Gunn (who also co-produced the film). McLean is previously known for helming both 'WOLF CREEK' movies, and the killer crocodile flick 'ROGUE', and Gunn is obviously famous for co-scripting and directing the 'GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY' blockbusters, as well as writing and directing the indie horror and superhero flicks 'SLITHER' and 'SUPER' (also for co-writing the cult classic 'TROMEO AND JULIET'). This movie tells the story of a bunch of office employees, that are forced to play a sadistic game where they have to kill each other, or be killed. It stars John Gallagher Jr., Adria Arjona, Tony Goldwyn, John C. McGinley, Melonie Diaz and Michael Rooker (a regular cast member of Gunn's) . The film was made on a budget of just $5 million, and it's already grossed nearly twice that, but it's also only gotten mixed reviews from critics. I loved it!
The story begins with the staff of Belko Industries arriving to work, at their remote office building in Bogota, Columbia. New security guards are turning away all of the local Colombian employees at the gate. Mike Milch (Gallagher Jr.) is suspicious of what's going on right away, as his coworkers are more calm about it. Things go on as normal there, until a loud voice comes over the intercom ordering the employees to kill two of their coworkers, or more would be executed as a result. The COO of Belko (Goldwyn) tells everyone to remain calm, because it's probably just a prank, even as the entire building becomes sealed off (trapping all of the staff inside). When people start turning up dead, and they're ordered to kill even more, the Belko employees begin to snap and slowly turn on each other.
Like all great horror/sci-fi films, the movie is full of great social commentary. It's about as disturbing a subject as you can find in cinema today, and that's what makes it so intense and involving. It was made on a budget of just $5 million, but McLean (like all of the most talented horror filmmakers today) knows how to make that money work. The movie is totally creative that way, and fresh. The story, and events in it, seem exaggerated, but I can totally see things turning out almost exactly the same way if it happened in reality. Films examining the dark side of humanity, with little to no hope in them, are usually the hardest to watch, but sometimes they're also the most rewarding. Gunn is also about as good of a writer as you could possibly find for a movie like this too, and the cast is all more than adequate as well (especially Gallagher Jr. in the lead). It's a near masterpiece, that will leave you thinking about it for years to come (like all great horror/sci-fi films do)!
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- Laughably Entertainingby 24 March 2017on
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
I should preface this with the fact that I joke that I'm a terrible person, and as such, I laugh at things that are rather terrible.
Here's what I loved about this movie: the soundtrack. It starts with a Latin version of "I Will Survive," which is dramatic irony at its finest. If you know anything about this movie going into it, you know that the person listening to the song probably won't make it to the credits. Then there's use of "California Dreamin'" midway through the movie during the worst of the carnage. How were they radio signal when they couldn't get cell signal? Doesn't metal exterior block out radio waves? I'm still confused, but it's totally okay because it was hilarious.
Things I also liked about the movie: They don't spend too much time on each individual death which is great because the body count is so high and the movie is relatively short. Plus some of the deaths were either really entertaining, really creative, or a mixture of the two. The cast was pretty great, too. You root for some of the pawns in the Belko Experiment, but you're not too heartbroken when they don't make it.
Here's what I disliked: I think I found the movie funnier than any of the other 30 people in the theater.
Things that I still hate about this movie: the ending. It could have ended about five minutes before it did, and I would be okay with a straight-to-DVD sequel. The survivor's actions were not believable. There was no reason for him to interact with the voice. It was a discredit the movie.
- Popcorn movieby 23 March 2017on
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The Belko Experiment - Some movies you see for the intriguing story, while others maybe for the actor or director involved. And then there are times when you just want to shut your brain off for a while and eat some popcorn. This is most definitely a case of the latter.
The 'kill or be killed' concept has been done numerous times, so there isn't anything groundbreaking here. Rather than a bunch of teenagers a la Hunger Games, it's 80 coworkers in an office building. Sometimes these stories can really bring out that 'what would you do' feeling. This one doesn't take itself too seriously, so you won't be doing a whole lot of introspection.
It's an hour and a half of a concept I've already seen, and it has gratuitous gore, B- C- and D-list actors, and dated special effects. That's not your typical recipe for success, yet somehow the movie makes it work. So maybe that was the experiment all along. 6.5/10
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