THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) Reviews and overview



The Belko Experiment is a 2016 horror thriller feature film directed by Greg McLean (Wolf Creek and sequel; Rogue), from a screenplay by co-producer James Gunn (Slither; Dawn of the Dead; writer of Scooby Doo and sequel), and produced by Peter Safran (The Conjuring and sequel; Annabelle; Vampire’s Suck). It stars John Gallagher Jr., Tony Goldwyn and Adria Arjona.


McLean told Bloody Disgusting that Belko is “insanely violent and totally crazy… and total genius because of it … James wrote this amazing script full of heart, hilarious dark humour and amazing characters all wrapped around this wild concept.”


Bogotá, Colombia: On what appears to be a normal day at Belko Industries, the employees are horrified to discover that they’ve become guinea pigs in a company-wide experiment which will lead them to either kill their fellow employees or be murdered themselves.


The experiment is masterminded by a mysterious voice which is controlling the loudspeaker and instructing the employees to slaughter each other by any means necessary…


“Ferocious, brutal and audacious, The Belko Experiment is also empathetic and funny. It starts the blood pumping from the first frame, then jacks it up with brains, brawn and recognizable humanity.” Screen Anarchy

“The mayhem is expertly choreographed and marks something of a return to form for McLean whose post-Creek films have all proved disappointing. Because despite the low budget, there’s an ambitious level of universe-setting going on here and in a genre where ambition is often left buried underneath a decaying pile of severed limbs, that’s not to be scoffed at.” The Guardian

“Directed with a nice balance of humor and horror by Greg McLean, The Belko Experiment is a fun ride through a bizarro version of the corporate workplace. Any movie that includes death by tape dispenser is worth seeing.” Newsday

“Gunn’s unimaginative conception of a Battle Royale meets Office Space style horror film—I just bet that that was the elevator pitch—holds a decent cast back from dying meaningful deaths. Even the most diehard gorehounds and Gunn supporters should give this stinker a pass.”

” …starting with a kernel of provocation, then devolving into blunt, witless violence. It’s not exactly satirical news that the culture of big business is dog-eat-dog, but you’re more likely to wince at the cruelty in Billy Wilder’s “The Apartment” than at the body-count ethos here.” The Wrap

” …there’s true-pulp transgression in the film’s shamelessly sick kicks. A mass execution starts off troubling and then, somehow, becomes hilarious […] If “hilarious mass execution” sounds upsetting, I shouldn’t mention the exploding heads. We live in disturbing times. Belko is an appropriately disreputable, gleefully disturbing movie.” Entertainment Weekly

” …the movie might have been better served by a director not hellbent on rubbing pretty much every head wound in the viewer’s face. Mr. McLean, perhaps determined to leave no cliché unturned, also wallows in the cheap and hackneyed irony of choreographed slaughter accompanied by Dvorak and Tchaikovsky.” The New York Times

…The Belko Experiment teeters between “fun,” gory brutality and a more seriously disturbing variety—the latter epitomized by the film’s centerpiece, a chillingly organized process of elimination that echoes mass shootings and historic Final Solutions in equal measure. After that crucible, who’s really in the mood to see someone get their face bashed in with a tape dispenser?” A.V. Club

“The barbarism ballet is horrifically nihilistic and bratty—but what really stinks is that the movie is designed to make those who say it’s gone too far sound like schoolmarms.” Vanity Fair

” …the movie is most certainly a genre film fan’s delight: equal parts smart and mean. It’s a cinematic experience of flinches, gasps, and clenched teeth that is designed to exhaust and entertain, and it succeeds in both.” Cinema Blend

“Unfortunately, what The Belko Experiment delivers in face-twisting gore and deliciously taut suspense, it lacks in insight. Gunn’s high-concept script desperately wants to sprinkle a few nuggets of social criticism in between the exploding heads and Molotov cocktails, but the script can’t find time to really delve into the office politics it thinks it’s sending up.” Consequence of Sound

” …this is still a poorly made movie, with frustratingly forgettable characters and gallingly flubbed fight scenes. McLean made the mystifying decision to have most of the office’s floors look identical, offering no visual cues to where characters are as the story leaps from place to place. Which is all to say, this experiment is a failure…”


Whilst it undoubtedly provides disturbing imagery, gory thrills and a minor degree of social comment, The Belko Experiment fails to provide anything much deeper. It is a shame that the characterisations were not embellished more before the carnage begins.

Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA

Cast and characters:

  • John Gallagher Jr. as Mike Pelk, an employee at the Belko Corporation – 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • Tony Goldwyn as Barry Norris, the COO of Belko
  • Adria Arjona as Leandra Jerez, Norris’ assistant
  • John C. McGinley as Wendell Dukes, a socially awkward top executive – Stan Against Evil
  • Melonie Diaz as Dany Wilkins, a new hire at Belko
  • Josh Brener as Keith McLure, a tech worker
  • Michael Rooker as Bud Melks, Belko’s head of maintenance – The Walking Dead; Slither; Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
  • David Del Rio as Roberto Jerez
  • Stephen Blackehart as Brian Vargas, an interpreter
  • Rusty Schwimmer as Peggy Displasia, Pelk’s secretary
  • Sean Gunn as Marty Espenscheid, a cafeteria worker
  • Abraham Benrubi as Chet Valincourt, Espencheid’s best friend
  • David Dastmalchian as Alonso “Lonny” Crane, a maintenance worker under Melks
  • Gail Bean as Leota Hynek, a worker who befriends Wilkins
  • Valentine Miele as Ross Reynolds, a sales representative for Belko
  • Joe Fria as Robert Hickland
  • Owain Yeoman as Terry Winters
  • Benjamin Byron Davis as Antonio Fowler
  • James Earl as Evan, Belko’s only security guard
  • Brent Sexton as Vince Agostino, Belko’s head of human resources
  • Mikaela Hoover as Raziya Memarian, Agostino’s assistant
  • Gamal Dillard as Executive Held Hostage

Filming locations:

Bogotá, Colombia


The Belko Experiment premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival on September 10, 2016. It was released on March 17, 2017, in the United States, by Blumhouse Tilt, Orion Pictures and High Top Releasing.

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