The Belko Experiment(2017) Review

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Seeing that this film was written by James Gunn I was excited about it for ages and now finally had the chance to watch it. Some very good films have been made in the fight/kill to survive genre but it is a bit of a worn out concept now. Surely the man who brought us Guardians of the Galaxy and Slither could come up with some unique idea though right?

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Director – Greg McLean

Writer – James Gunn

Stars – John Gallagher Jr. Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona, John C. McGinley, Melonie Diaz, Owain Yeoman, Sean Gunn, Brent Sexton, Josh Brener and David Dastmalchian.

Budget – $5 million

Run Time – 89 minutes

Trivia – The opening song over the credits is the Spanish version of “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor.

Trivia – James Gunn was originally set to direct this film from his screenplay. However, when it was time to begin, Gunn withdrew, deciding he didn’t want to spend several months working on such a violent film. He was also going through a divorce at the time. and withdrew from the project. He later said that he was surprised the movie was moving forward with Greg McLean as the new director, he was happy that he hadn’t been asked again to direct, and he looked forward to seeing how McLean brought his script to the big screen.

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A bunch of American workers who for some reason work in a tower block in Columbia arrive at work and find that all the local workers have been sent home and it’s just the Americans left in the building. We get an introduction to the characters from Mike the supposed down to earth normal guy, his girlfriend Leandra who is pestered by her pervy fella worker Wendell played by the older doctor off Scrubs.

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There’s a whole bunch of other people, the arrogant CEO/guy in charge. The stereotypical black security guy, the handful of stoners and a few silent but obviously deranged killers and a seriously underused Michael Rooker as a handyman. During the day the whole building is suddenly shut down, shutters block the doors and windows. A voice comes over the PA and demands that the workers kill two people or more will die.

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Most people don’t believe this and think it’s an elaborate prank. However it’s soon proven not to be, the voice then demands that 30 people are killed or they will kill 60. It’s important to remember that Dany is starting her new job and has been informed that all employees including her have a tracker in their heads in case of kidnapping.

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This is where things get heated and we get to see who the bad guys are and who the supposed good guys are as everyone splits into groups. However one group becomes armed and this leads to them deciding who lives and who dies. Soon the entire work force is whittled down until there’s only one person left standing.

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The Good

  • Even though the general idea of people being forced to fight and kill to save their own lives has been done countless times, this take on things is pretty good and is explained really well during the last ten minutes or so.
  • As I mentioned in the first point the ending is great, it leads to the possibility of more films if they wished to expand this “universe”
  • Michael Rooker’s in it.
  • John C. McGinley plays a creepy, rapey, psychopath really well.
  • The stoners on the roof.
  • There’s a couple of things you think they should try to get out and to the credit of the writers and director the characters do indeed try to escape in a sensible way.
  • Some cool exploding heads.
  • Some unexpected deaths, I mean it’s obvious as you watch it that very few people have any chance of surviving but there’s a few moments when the deaths are unexpected.

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The Bad

  • For most of the film the main character is pathetic, sure it can be tricky in any horror-ish film to get the viewers to sympathise with the main characters but I found it impossible in this. I enjoyed them for the last 20 minutes or so but up until then I was firmly on the side of the psycho’s especially when they wanted the immensely annoying main person to die.
  • It needed more creative deaths, there’s a couple in there but not enough. No one thrown from the building, no one stabbed to death with fork or battered with a frying pan. I’d mark this film higher if more creativity was shown in the death scenes.
  • Michael Rooker isn’t used well, I love this guy and think he’s underappreciated.

Other than that there’s not too much wrong with this movie but it didn’t really live up to my expectations, I was hoping for a lot more. These two points plus Rooker are enough to have left me slightly disappointed, I feel it could have been so much better. Still if you’ve got 90 minutes to spare it’s a decent watch for some brainless fun.

Overall Rating – 6/10

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3 thoughts on “The Belko Experiment(2017) Review

  1. This is a movie I definitely want to catch since I worked for 15 years in corporate settings.
    The cast has some veteran, well respected actors in it. Too bad about Rooker. I have liked his work since Henry & JFK. McGinley is very effective & I have been watching him since his collabs with Oliver Stone.
    Nice review.

    Liked by 1 person

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