The Belko Experiment
the belko experiment | greg mclean | james gunn | john gallagher jr. | tony goldwyn | adria arjona | action | thriller | united states | colombia | john c. mcginley | murder | death | melonie diaz | owain yeoman | sean gunn | brent sexton | josh brener | michael rooker
Film: The Belko Experiment
Director: Greg McLean
Writer: James Gunn
Starring: John Gallagher Jr., Tony Goldwyn and Adria Arjona
This film takes place in Bogotá, Colombia. There are a large number of Americans that are working at a company called Belko that is based here. They have workers who move down here to help place other Americans get placed with businesses. Everyone that works for this company has a tracer placed in their head, the reason that these countries have a threat of kidnapping, so they find the person where ever they are taken.
We get to briefly meet workers as they are making their morning commute. There is John Gallagher Jr, who is asked by a street vendor while in his car to buy a corn-cob man. Tony Goldwyn is the COO and he gets into it with one of the new guards who are taking more security processes today than normal. There is Adria Arjona, John C. McGinley, Sean Gunn, Brent Sexton, Josh Brener and Michael Rooker all starting their normal days. This is also Melonie Diaz as she meets with Sexton who goes over her first day information with her.
This day isn’t normal though. Gallagher looks out the window and notices one of the soldiers that have taken over security entering an old bunker across the courtyard from the building. He calls down to security, the security guard played by James Earl. That’s when the cellular phone service goes out and metal doors close over the doors and windows on every single floor. The workers are sealed inside. That is when a mysterious voice comes over the PA system, telling them that they have to kill two of their co-workers in 2 hours or four will die.
Everyone comes down to the lobby, slightly panicked. Goldwyn comes down and takes charge, telling everyone that it is a prank. They start to take measures to get out of the building. Rooker and his other maintenance man try to use a blowtorch to get out. They can’t even make a mark on the door. Some of the workers go up to the roof, to see if they can signal for help. Brener and three others go up there to find Sean Gunn, Abraham Benrubi and a woman smoking marijuana.
They don’t do as they are told and at that two hour mark, heads start to explode of four workers. Gallagher realizes that the tracers in their heads are not what they thought they were. He grabs a box cutter and goes into the bathroom to remove his. Arjona tries to stop him when the voice comes back on, telling him if he doesn’t stop in 10 seconds, they will detonate it. He does before it goes off.
The voice then tells them that the next stage is to kill 30 of their co-workers or they will kill 60 as punishment. This splits everyone into three groups. Gallagher wants to put up signs telling the people that are passing that they need help. Goldwyn wants to get armed and then do what they are told as he believes it will happen. The others try to hide to protect themselves. Trying to put out signs gets them shot at or threatened to be blown up as well.
What will happen? Will they kill the thirty as they are asked or will they defy them again? Is this the last stage or does the voices have something even worse in store? Can everyone stay calm and look at this rationally? Or will their fear finally force them to take action?
I have to say that I heard about this film through some podcasts that I listen to and the more I looked into it, the more I got excited. Now this film borrows heavily from Battle Royale, the film from Japan, which I really liked as well. I love the concept of taking that idea and then sealing people in an office building and having them kill each other to survive. This one is a little different, because to start they only have to kill a couple and if they don’t, those in charge double it. This idea continues to the next stage as well. This idea makes me scared to go to work now. To really make these films great though, you have to incorporate the office dynamic and how people get along with each other. There is an issue between McGinley and Arjona. McGinley thinks there is something between them, but Arjona is seeing Gallagher, this becomes an issue later in the film. We also have a father and husband, who is friends with Gallagher. He is faced with trying to survive or doing the right thing. This film makes you question your morals and what you would do in this situation to survive and I love it. The ending is great as well.
The acting in this film was very good. You have to have it as this film has two aspects, the violence and character development. I’ve seen Gallagher in a couple of other films and he has impressed me. He is solid again in this role and I’m really looking forward to seeing him in more. I think he could branch out into more mainstream, but as a horror fan I hope he keeps working in the genre. Goldwyn is great as the boss who takes charge and when faced with his own morality does what he has to. There are so many other solid actors and actresses in this film that I can’t point out a negative one. They were all solid. I did want to give a shout-out to the writer of the film, James Gunn, his brother is Sean Gunn in the film and his character was great. He made me a chuckle at what he thinks is going on from the beginning.
This film did the right thing and went practical effects. There isn’t a lot of gore, but there is enough. The blood splatters didn’t look to be CGI and if they were, it was some of the best I’ve ever seen because it looked real. I love just seeing that as the stakes continue to rise, we continue to see more and more depravity from these individuals to survive. Even those that you teamed up with in the beginning become a threat. I thought the editing of the film was great, it is paced well and builds tension to the end. The soundtrack was amazing as well. I love that they took a couple American songs, I Will Survive and California Dreaming, and have them covered in Spanish. Both songs are fitting for the film and are funny to hear.
Now with that said, I would highly recommend this film. The story isn’t original, but it is a good twist on it. I thought it was well written and has the character development we need for the ending. The acting was very good as well. The film went with practical effects and it is much better that they did. The editing of the film was well done, building tension to the end. The soundtrack adds another dimension to the film as well. Now there is more gore toward the end, but it isn’t over the top. A couple parts made me cringe, but this film is great. It is even better if you have a desk or an office job, because it makes you wonder what you would do. I would say to see this film if you can.
My Rating: 9 out of 10