Our most recent cinema outing was to see The Belko Experiment, the trailers had us interested as it pitched it as almost the Hunger Games meets The Office.
It is based on a script by James Gunn, who decided to discard it when upon completion he was going through a divorce, and the thought of being involved in a film involving the killing of loved ones didn’t sit right with him.
Gunn, of course, has gone on to bring us Guardians of the Galaxy, and given its huge success, this script was chosen to be filmed, after all, it’s not a genre Gunn is an amateur in, having been involved before with the likes of Slither and his Dawn of the Dead remake script for Zack Snyder.
The film is directed by Greg McLean, best known as writer/director of Wolf Creek, which has so far spawned a sequel and a TV series.
We follow the office workers of a large government building, which we learn to be Belko, we never find out what they do, but seems to be run as a non-profit company.
The office is in Colombia and we soon learn via a new employee, Dany (Melonie Diaz) that all the non-local employees are fitted with a tracking device for their protection, due to the high risk of kidnapping in the area.
We first learn something suspicious is going on though Mike (John Gallagher jr) who notices they have new security staff and they are checking all entering the premises and the local staff are told to go home.
Also amongst the existing staff are an array of characters, Mike’s girlfriend, Leandra (Adria Arjona); Boss Barry (Tony Goldwyn); Wendell (John C. McGinley) a top exec and Gunn film regular, Michael Rooker as Bud, head of maintenance.
As their day goes about as normal, an announcement is heard on the public speaker of the building, it tells them that unless they KILL 2 of their staff in the next hour, they will kill 4.
The building then goes into a total lockdown, with huge metal shutters coming down, this prompts the staff to think this could be a reality, but still not really believing it.
As the hour arrives, 4 staff heads explode and the fact that is a reality becomes apparent. Mike quickly figures out this was done through the tracker and attempts to remove it, he is told by the voice to stop or it will be set off immediately. This now shows that they are being watched with CCTV everywhere.
Panic beings to set in, especially when the voice now announces they need to kill 30 in the next 2 hours or they will kill 60!
When Mike says they can not do that, its unethical and he also points out that even if they kill 30, how do they know that won’t be the end of it!
A plan is to put out banners on the roof to try and get help, where they are immediately shot at from the security guards. With that failing, Barry heads to security with a small group to get the guns that are kept on the premises, as they decide to take lives to ensure safety.
What follows is what ensured this film got an 18 rating as staff are chosen to be killed to get to the 30 needed. Do they succeed and what will happen next, well we will let you find out!
The deaths are extremely gory, mainly involving guns but knives; A lift and a Sellotape holder also become weapons.
The film does raise an interesting dilemma as to could you kill someone to save your life but the film was not as good as I had hoped it would be. Whilst some imaginative deaths occur, too many are via guns and knives so not very original.
The film does succeed thanks to a very good cast, Tony Goldwyn is the boss who you believe would do anything to save his skin and not care about his staff. McGinley is excellent when he goes crazy to kill to save his life. Also with the premise of killing anyone, other than Mike who is shown to be the films lead, you do get a sense of no one is safe and indeed many that you do get invested in, get killed off.
The concept of killing to survive has been done better in the likes of Battle Royale and The Hunger Games, but the setting makes this film more closer to home as many of us work in that office environment. The one location also made me think of the great film Cube.
The film is extremely gory and many deaths you may wish to turn away from, this is 18 for a reason. The ending feels slightly rushed as you don’t really get too many reasons why this experiment is taking place, maybe hoping for a sequel?
But for a horror film, this does what it is supposed to and it was something different and if you like this genre it could be worth investing a watch.
You can see the trailer at the film website here: http://www.thebelkoexperiment.co.uk/
You can buy the film at Amazon here
Have you seen Belko? Would you like a sequel, we would, of course, love to hear from you
Never miss a BMAF blog. Receive email notifications when new posts are published by entering your email address in the subscription box on the top right-hand side of this page.
You can also like us on Facebook for more film news and content www.facebook.com/barkingmadaboutfilms/