Directed by Greg McLean (Wolf Creek and it’s sequel) and written by James Gunn, The Belko Experiment is a 2016 horror-thriller. Dany (Melonie Diaz) is a new recruit at the Bogotá, Colombia branch of Belko Industries, with other employees including Mike (John Gallagher Jr., aka the dude in the mask from HUSH), and his girlfriend Leandra (Adria Arjona), head of security Wendell (John C. McGinley) and maintenance workers Meltz (Gunn-movie mainstay Michael Rooker) and Alonso (David Dastmalchian). When a mysterious announcement calls for the death of two employees, Barry Norris (Tony Goldwyn), the COO of the Bogotá branch, calls for everyone to remain calm – but, some people choose not to.
+ the ensemble cast is fantastic. With multiple characters each built up as standing a chance of winning, viewers will choose their own favourites, and most definitely be shocked. McGinley in particular plays such a dark character, as far from his Dr Cox character as you could get. Rooker is not the only Gunn-movie familiar face, as Sean Gunn plays Marty, a cafeteria worker and stoner
+ the standard plot has lots of little twists on it to keep it intereting for those of us who have seen lots of horror movies. There are some fakeouts to things you’ll expect, and sudden shocks for things you won’t expect. Don’t get too attached to the idea of any character in particular winning
+ similarly to the above, despite the horrible situation the workers find themselves in, some of the character decisions are hard to fault. The whole “needs of the many versus needs of the few” dealio does start to make some terrifying sense
+ the film is very violent. Sometimes in short, sudden bursts, and then eventually in a prolonged horror-movie style. Not necessarily ‘over the top’, but certainly not for the faint of heart
– the overall plot in general is somewhat cliched. The idea of ‘kill or be killed’ in a monitored setting is similar to other, older films like House of 9, Kill Theory or The Killing Room. As mentioned above, there are some clever aversions, but this was still a standard horror movie frame, and the ending will be either hit or miss for you
Should you see this film: With the potential to be a standard variation of several other movies, The Belko Experiment did do enough to make it feel unique. A diverse and well fleshed out cast along with the ‘guessing game’ plot all added up to be a solid watch at only 90 minutes long.