THE BELKO EXPERIMENT
Making Sport of Murder
Release Date: March 11, 2017
Starring: Adria Arjona, Abraham Benrubi,
Tony Goldwyn, Michael Rooker,
John C. McGinley, John
Gallagher Jr., Josh Brener,
Sean Gunn, Mikaela Hoover,
Brent Sexton, David
Dastmalchian. Owain Yeoman,
Melonie Diaz, Rusty Schwimmer,
James Earl, David Del Rio,
Gail Bean, Joe Fria, Maruia
Shelton, Stephen Blackehart,
Benjamin Byron Davis
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 88 minutes
Distributor: High Top Releasing/Focus
Director: Greg McLean
Executive Producer: Jason Blum
Producer: Dan Clifton, James Gunn, Jimmy
Holcomb, Peter Safran
Writer: James Gunn
Address Comments To:Brian L. Roberts, Chairman/CEO/President, Comcast Corp.
Peter Schlessel, CEO, Focus Features (Focus World/High Top Releasing/Gramercy Pictures)
(A Division of NBC Universal and Comcast)
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608
Phone: (424) 214-6360
Website: www.focusfeatures.com; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The movie opens by following Mike, a Belko Corporation middle manager, as he winds through the crowded streets of Bogota, Columbia on his way to work. Along the way, he’s treated to a series of jump scares and the gaze of a menacing masked man sitting on the side of the road. When he gets to the Belko high-rise, set in a poorly traveled area, he’s surprised to find military guards checking IDs of each employee at the gate. Turns out they’re only letting in the Americans and sending the local employees home. No explanation is given for this, and as Mike observes them from his office window, he observes them setting up shop in a storage shed next door.
Any concerns he has are quickly shoved aside when Leandra pops in for a quick kiss. The two have been caught up in an office romance, even though Leandra’s divorce is yet to be final. Their morning tryst is interrupted when a voice over the building’s intercom announces that in eight hours most employees will be dead, and a game of life and death has begun. They are given 30 minutes to kill two workers, or else.
Thinking it’s a prank, Barry, the company’s COO, urges everyone to remain calm. However, people start to panic when all the windows and doors are sealed by an impenetrable metal. When the 30 minutes expire, the voice returns, letting them know they failed to obey. Suddenly, what appears to be sniper fire takes out four employees. Upon closer inspection, tiny bombs implanted in their heads had exploded. The bombs are in every employee, initially sold as transponder devices in case of kidnapping.
The voice then warns that 30 more people are to be killed within two hours, or 60 people will have their bombs detonated. Two factions then develop in the group: 1) Those who believe morality prohibits that they kill anyone, and 2) Those who believe the most expendable employees should be killed to save the others. Barry, an ex-special forces officer, gathers the alphas. They break into the company vault where the weapons are held. Everyone is on their own as they try to escape their executioners. Friends turn on friends, and Mike pairs up with a security guard, Evans, and Leandra to undermine Barry. What proceeds is a long, gory battle where only one person remains alive and is able to walk out of the building as the victor.
One thing THE BELKO EXPERIMENT tries to do is insert some humor to offset the horror. It seems effective enough in keeping viewers from taking all the killing too seriously. However, the humor elicited some laughs from the viewers at the screening MOVIEGUIDE® attended as people’s heads were blown to bits, or they were axed to death on screen. Though most of the plot is very predictable, the ending does throw in a nice twist. Even so, it doesn’t make much logical sense when previously detonated bombs are gathered perfectly intact by the soon-to-be victor and used again for the final kills. How bombs can explode initially and then be used a second time is scientifically baffling.
After sitting through 90 minutes of gross immorality, it’s somewhat of a surprise and a relief that morality wins the day. The movie consists of nearly a constant back and forth between good and evil. After learning that they’re all at risk for being killed by their captors, some characters twist morality into something that benefits them, claiming they all now have “a new god.” The biggest question of it all is, Why? The movie’s ending gives no explanation about the motivation of the experimenters, or why they condone murder as an acceptable part of research. The research itself is never explained, and the last shot shows that these deadly experiments are taking place simultaneously all over the globe by an ambiguous international organization. It leaves a feeling of distaste when it appears the point of it all was mere sport by villains in the story and ultimately by the filmmakers. The movie should have been re-named “Fifty Ways a Person Can Die,” and should have left out any implication that there was a purpose to any of it.
So, although good eventually defeats overcomes evil, THE BELKO EXPERIMENT has strong, violent and abhorrent pagan elements where murder becomes funny, mingled with lots of foul language. Consequently, MOVIEGUIDE® must rate this movie as unacceptable.
THE BELKO EXPERIMENT tries to insert some humor to offset the horror. Though this sometimes works, it also creates an environment where evil becomes funny. The most glaring problem is the ending where the victor takes used bombs and uses them again. The movie never explains how exploded bombs can be reusable. The movie also never explains the deadly experiment’s purpose, leaving the impression that it was purely for sport. Though good eventually defeats evil, THE BELKO EXPERIMENT has strong, violent and abhorrent pagan elements where murder often becomes funny, mingled with foul language.