Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Throughout the years, several films have been made about a group of people forced to kill one another to survive.  It's not the story that's unique, but the way in which it is told.  Films like Battle Royale, Circle, The Hunger Games, and now The Belko Experiment, all take this simple story and spin it in a very unique sort of way, which is why I can still enjoy films like these.

The Belko Experiment takes place within an office building of Belko Industries down in Bogotá, Columbia.  What seems like a fairly normal day at the office, quickly turns into something much more sinister as an ominous voice over the PA system tells the employees that they must kill two of their own, or else people will start being killed at random.  When they refuse, they learn that whoever is behind this isn't messing around.  They are then told to kill 30 people or 60 will be killed at random.  This is when things go crazy and the insane melee begins.

This film was directed by Greg McLean, who definitely knows his way around horror.  He started off his career directing the 2005 Australian horror flick, Wolf Creek, and has worked on several other horror films since. He is joined on this project by the very talented James Gunn, who takes on the role of writer.  Most of you may know him from his very successful Marvel film, Guardians of the Galaxy, but he is also no stranger to horror and action.  From his work on Slither, the Dawn of the Dead remake, and Super, Gunn was the perfect choice to take on a project like this.

With a story so familiar, it needs to be able to separate itself from the rest, and one way to do this is with a great cast, which this has.  For me, it had many familiar faces, including Tony Goldwyn (Scandal), John C. McGinley (Scrubs), John Gallagher Jr. (Hush), Sean Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy), and Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead), amongst others.  Tony Goldwyn takes on the role of the boss, which I'm sure he's used to after playing the President for several years on Scandal, but he takes on a darker portrayal here, one that is very different from what I've seen him do before.  We also see a nice turn from John C. McGinley, from brash-yet-caring on Scrubs, to a bit of a psycho here.  It was a cool character to see him play.

As I said earlier, this is not a unique story by any means, but it's the uniqueness of the overall situation that really kept me intrigued, especially the use of implanted explosives in the head.  You never knew who was going to die, and this keeps you on your toes.  Yes, this is similar to the collars used in Battle Royale, but for some reason, I really dug it.  And I have to say, McLean and Gunn went the distance with the blood and gore, truly earning that R-rating.

There were a lot of good things about this film, but it's far from being without flaws.  Even though I love a good, gory horror movie, there are times in which it seemed to go a bit far.  The film also seemed to be slightly rushed with its 88-minute run time, and could have benefited from another 10-15 minutes, allowing for a little more story development, especially in the middle.  

The ending, to some, may seem like a flaw as it doesn't wrap things up nicely, but that's not uncommon in horror films.  Even in the film Circle (which you can read my review of HERE), the ending is left ambiguous in the same fashion.  It could lead to a sequel, if they choose to go that route, but most likely will stay as a stand alone film.  

So, if you're a horror fan, and are looking for something fun and bloody to watch, give The Belko Experiment a try.

The Merc's Score: 7.5/10

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