Director: Greg McLean (Wolf Creek (2005), Wolf Creek series (3 episodes), Jungle, The Darkness)
Producer: James Gunn, Peter Safran (Buried, The Conjuring 1—3, Annabelle: Creation, Flatliners)
Writer: James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 – 3, Slither, Dawn of the Dead (alongside the late George A. Romero))
Production Designer: Carlos Osorio
Film Editor: Julia Wong
Cast (character – actors name):
- Barry Norris – Tony Goldwyn (The Last House on the Left(2009), Scandal)
- Michael Milch – John Gallagher Jr. (10 Cloverfield Lane, Hush, Jonah Hex)
- Bud Melks – Michael Rooker (Slither, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 & 2)
- Marty Espenscheid – Sean Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 & 2, Gilmore Girls)
- Wendell Dukes – John C. McGinley (Scrubs, Point Break, Se7en)
- Terry Winter – Owain Yeoman (The Mentalist, American Sniper)
- Vince Agostino – Brent Sexton (Radio, Flight Plan, Vanilla Sky)
- Peggy Displasia – Rusty Schwimmer (Louie, The Perfect Storm, Twister)
- Leandra Florez – Adria Arjona (True Detective, Emerald City, Pacific Rim: Uprising
- Daniele ‘Dany’ Wilkins – Melonie Diaz (Fruitvale Station, Be Kind Rewind)
Music: Tyler Bates (John Wick, Guardians of the Galaxy, 300)
- Todd Masters (Fido, Slither, Blair Witch)
- Carolyn Williams (Star Trek: Beyond)
- Sarah Pickersgill (Blair Witch, Snakes on a Plane)
Setting: Bogotá, Columbia.
Storyline: 80 employees are locked in the corporate office and forced to play a game of survival when they are ordered to kill each other through the intercom system. Little do they know, they are a part of a social experiment.
Heidi Ho Horror Fam. This week on Alm Street I watched The Belko Experiment. I watched it several times because I thought it was great. I am not kidding, there was a point I watched it several times in a row. Don’t judge me, I am one of THOSE people that finds pleasure in burning out a song or movie.
I’m officially warning you right now, there will be spoilers in this review. I couldn’t help but to go into detail about certain scenes that moved me and I personally fell in love with. I noticed that the reviews were kind of bad. But about 80% of the time I don’t feel the same. This is my own personal opinion of the film. Therefore, I’m aware I have a certain taste in horror, just like most of you like different flavors of ice cream. And I found this one to be artistically satisfying and beautiful to the eye. Before I move on, I have to say I’m always on the lookout for gore, music, character development, anticipation and entertainment level. Watch the trailer here: The Belko Experiment Trailer. It is also available for purchase through Amazon for $6.99.
Taking place in Bogotá, Belko Industries is a company who has hired a diverse group of non-locals of Columbia. We see the variety of character when we briefly get to see them, either speaking in their accent or language, to mentioning they have made a big move for this job. While Dany Wilkins, the rookie, is first given keys to her new car and apartment, they mention if she’s visited the doctor. She agrees and replies, “for the tracers, you mean?” and touches the back of the head. (There are actually some companies I found online that do this… creepy).
As everyone starts their typical office morning off, suspicions are in the air of the office. Us, as viewers, are being introduced to characters and bold stereotypes. You get a glimpse of the layout of social diversity in the office. You have the stoner, the alpha male, the Latina housekeeper, the Boss, the coward, the divorcee, the hero, and the rookie. We then get to see a bit of bad acting, relationships being established, and a little bit of background from some characters.
And then we hear the first announcement over the PA system: “All employees, no matter what you’re doing, please stop and lend me your full attention. There are currently 80 of you in the building. In eight hours, most of you will be dead.Your chance of survival increases, by following my orders, and excelling at the tasks I place before you. Your first task is simply this: murder any two of your fellow employees within the next half hour. How they are killed, or how they are chosen to be killed, is of no consequence. But if there are not two dead bodies in the building within 30 minutes, you will face repercussions.” (So, two deaths in total).
There is confusion and this is also where we first see our Belko-Bae number 1, Barry Norris. He leads the situation by taking the role of the leader. This causes ignorant and careless reactions from the employees, some in complete disbelief. When times up, employees die in a quick head explosion located in the back of the head. We get to see our first shots with brain matter, mortifying cries and screams, and fear. As a horror movie enthusiast, head injuries and head kills are what make me cringe and squirm so this was a challenge. I liked that it was quick, yet very gruesome and vivid.
“I hope by now we’ve demonstrated that we aren’t blindly bluffing. This game is a real one. Each of you are deep inside it. You can choose to follow our directives, or not. Either way, you’ll be giving us the results we’re looking for. There are currently 76 of you left in the building. The time is now 12:47 p.m. by 2:47 p.m., in two hours, we want 30 of you deadthrough whatever means necessary. If 30 of you are not dead, we will end 60 of your lives through our own methods. Begin.”
Barry Norris becomes frustrated with the fact that no one is giving into the fact that people have to die. While all employees want to survive and leave the break room. Left behind are Wendell, the alpha male, Terry, the coward, and Barry. Barry uses his smooth-talking persona to manipulate Terry into joining their group, by taking advantage of his vulnerability. These three males aren’t only strong, but work together to use their social and survival skills, to survive.
Michael Milch, Belko-Bae number 2, is the only voice of reason, while everyone is blinded by anxiety, fear, and terror. He takes initiation in all activities used to save everyone as a whole. He even attempts tracer removal where he is given 10 seconds to stop, and still continues to cut through with a box cutter. This shows his strength and determination as a character, to do whatever it takes to do the right thing, for everyone as a whole. It’s great to see Norris, always having full power, fighting and struggling against the underdog Mike, who believes no one has a right to play God.
The round up scene is awesome. It gives me goosebumps for many reasons. Besides the killing spree, with a variety of weapons and methods, which was art, musical choice was the perfect touch. A Spanish version of California Dreamingplays at a low volume beginning at the first gun shot. Then the volume raises higher when the lights go out and everyone is let loose. The reason for this, is to either hide or broadcast the emotions at hand, for being so intense and extremely uncomfortable.
Employees get around through the stairway during the blackout and the lights turn red. LOVE IT. Screaming and crying faces with crimson auras and burgundy shadowing, was the definition of rage. There are three really good revenge kills on bullies who got to the weapons first. If you’re wondering where exactly this scene started so you can experience the goosebumps too, it’s at 57:33.
Now for the last task: “The last stage of the game is quite simple. In one hour, whoever has killed the most people will be allowed to live. Begin.”
Leandra, Belko-Bae number 3, is the office divorcee who also happens to be the prey of pervert Wendell. Leandra’s choice of weapon along with her sexy scream of outrage was her breakthrough moment, while also making her very first kill. It was needed, and definitely coming his way. Barefoot, sweaty, and with perfect Victoria’s Secret hair, she whacks Wendell’s head right down the middle with an ax.
The end scene was the cherry on top. I love a good twist and I love a good win. I’m only going to say two words: tape dispenser.
Turns out that this is a part of a much bigger picture. It’s interesting that this film revolves around human behavior when the group that is holding the experiment, should be the ideal group of people needed for this type of experiment itself. As it is an insane concept, it teaches you that life is sacred.
Okay so this was my favorite part of the film. Music choice makes a huge difference just like the timing and volume of when it is all used in order to fulfill a scene. This not only emphasized the environment where the film is set in, which is in Columbia, but it reminded the audience of the culture in which this experiment is taking place.
Moments where music volume was raised, purposely highlighted scenes where you know there are going to be multiple kills. Its appealing to hear something recognizable go hand in hand with something so wrong, but look and feel so satisfying.
Yo Vivire (I Will Survive) by José Prieto
California Dreamin’ (Latin Version) by Gabriela Terán
California Dreamin’ (Rock Version) by Gilberto Cerezo, Dave Lombardo, Rani Sharone
How would I rate this film?
Overall rating = 10/10
Gore level = 10/10 (lots of brain matter, head wounds)
Character Development = 6.5 – 7/10 (I enjoyed the stereotypes in the office, very relatable)
Anticipation Levels = 6/10 (eh. First shot surprises you)
Scary = 8/10 (realistically, this is terrifying)
Entertaining = 10/10 (quick to take off, music choice was great, good looking actors, and overall a scary concept)
Thanks for reading. Comment your thoughts below and stay tuned!
Panda On Alm
I agree with this review, except for the guy Bae’s lol but the movie was great. Survival movie concept and goriness was perfect. The music I believe was just a perfect blend of a slow song but with great violence.