Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Belko Experiment

Director - Greg McLean (Wolf Creek, Rogue)
Starring - John Gallagher Jr. (10 Cloverfield Lane, Jonah Hex), Tony Goldwyn (The Last House on the Left, Dexter), and Adria Arjona (Narcos, True Detective)
Release Date - 2017
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "Choose your weapon"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     James Gunn may be a new face to some of you with his recent blockbusters Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 but he has been in the film business for some time now.  He started out his film career as a writer where he wrote for Troma and even starred in one of the few romantic comedies in Troma's catalogue alongside his ex-wife Jenna Fischer who also directed it.  He would direct a few small segments for Troma before moving on to his underrated masterpiece Slither.  From there he would write and direct his short lived web-series PG Porn and the criminally underrated vigilante/super hero comedy Super.  Now that Guardians has exploded all over the universe James' is a very popular man.  His recent screenplay partnered him with Wolf Creek director Greg McLean for The Belko Experiment.  This is one I was really looking forward to seeing but work won out and I was unable to see it in theaters.  When a blu was announced I had to jump on.  The film was worth the wait!
     The film follows a group of corporate employees working in Colombia.  One day things take a drastic change when all the locals are forced to go home leaving mostly American employees there.  As the day starts out normal the employees get into their normal routine when an unknown person comes across the intercom system telling them that they need to kill a certain amount of employees within a certain amount of time.  If they fail to do so then double that amount will die. Once they fail to meet their kill count the people behind the sick game start detonating explosives that are implanted into every employee's head.  They then tell the survivors that they have so long to kill as many people as possible.  The one with the highest kill count will survive.  One of them is able to get his hands on some of the explosives from the heads of those slain.  When he wins he is taken to a man behind the game and learns that it is a social experiment and it was actually conducted in several other locations.  Disgusted by what he had seen, he plants explosives on them and makes his escape as another announcer, this time not yet revealed, announces the next phase in the experiment.
     When I first saw the trailer for The Belko Experiment I knew it was a movie I had to see.  Immediately I started comparing it to Battle Royale, The Condemned, Tag, and even The Hunger Games to an extent.  All, except Hunger Games, are movies I really enjoy especially Battle Royale.   Battle Royale has been one of my favorite films for years.  The two films do have a lot in common but there was some differences.  The acting in this one is great.  John Gallagher Jr. is a strong lead.  I enjoyed his performance in 10 Cloverfield Lane but felt he was underutilized or not taken advantage of.  Tony Goldwyn and John C. McGinley was great as well.  Both actors were fucking intense.  They started out calm and collected before becoming unhinged and fucking insane to watch.  The supporting cast is just as effective at bringing this story to life.  They don't overreact and make their expressions feel genuine.  The story for this one does share several similarities with Battle Royale ranging from a group of people forced to fight and if they did not an explosive placed on them would detonate.  I really liked the fact that it was placed in a corporate environment where it is already cut-throat.  I've worked retail for a corporate chain of cell phone providers for almost a decade now and this film is pure satire.  It has some subtle humor tossed in that does come at the perfect time.  The film has a slow build but once the shit hits the fan you are glued to the screen.  Finally, the film has several on screen kills.  Some are rather unique and not expected while others, mostly the gun kills, are easily forgettable.  The effects for these are top notch.  They use mostly practical effects with just a little visual effects to make the blood pop.  Overall, The Belko Experiment was fantastic and one of my favorites of the year so far.  It gives horror fans a lot of the things they want in a big budget film that most other films are lacking.  If you are in the mood for something bloody, violent, with a sense of humor and style then look no further.  Check it out.  

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