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Old 09-11-16, 01:18 PM   #1
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THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

Coulda swore there was a thread on this one, but seeing as the world premiere was at TIFF last night, I suppose I could be misremembering that.

Anyway, I suspect this will be on the radar of a LOT of folks very soon. Fuller than usual house for it last night at Midnight Madness, no doubt in part due to James Gunn producing and writing the screenplay (ten years ago, actually) and his appearance here with Wolf Creek director Greg McLean, but the response was extremely good (remembering, of course, that Midnight Madness reactions must always be taken with a grain of salt).

http://www.tiff.net/films/the-belko-experiment/

The concept isn't entirely original to those who've seen Battle Royale or really any movie in which people are forced to hunt or kill folks they know, but in Gunn's hands it's a whole lot more fun: office workers for a Bogota-based non-profit are trapped in their shiny office tower and told by a mysterious intercom voice that they've got to murder a certain number of their own before a pre-determined deadline or double that number will be killed via the company's "alternate method". To prove the seriousness of the situation, several employees' heads are suddenly ripped open by a mysterious force. After several attempts at teamwork to devise methods of contacting the outside world result in even more bodies as punishment, some of the (literally) more mercenary members of the management team decide that the voice sort of has a point, and set about liberating several handguns from a downstairs vault, not long after other sluggos have raided the cafeteria of its sharpest utensils.

Not surprisingly, Gunn's script establishes a firm balance between action, horror and organic comedy -- bother Sean gets some of the biggest laughs as the corporation's resident stoner and conspiracy theorist, who leads his own little unit of two for much of the film -- and he and McLean have assembled a such a strong, fan-friendly cast of familiar heavies (Michael Rooker! Tony Goldwyn! Gregg Henry! John C. McGinley!), lesser-knowns and newcomers to play this likeable, believable group of office drones that they're able to smartly subvert expectations on a number of occasions.

The body count is extremely high -- most of them on screen -- and the blood and gore is plentiful and extremely well-crafted, but they wisely don't linger on it, and there's no off-putting, drawn-out torture scenes to speak of. Mind you, a few of the most audience-pleasing kills are exceptionally squishy, so I could see this eventually hitting DVD and streaming in R and unrated versions. We saw the unrated for sure last night, so plenty of cheers all around when many players met their makers.

This is a great "what would you do" kind of show, and I'd imagine a lot of folks here will get a huge kick out of it.

Here's the Q&A. I didn't shoot this because I was too far back and I think my camera's mic is shot (time to start using my iPhone, I guess). BE WARNED, though, that this discussion has at least one MASSIVE SPOILER from about the 18:45 mark onward (assuming you can make out what they're saying).

Last edited by Brian T; 09-11-16 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 09-11-16, 11:17 PM   #2
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Re: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

I saw this today and really liked it. It is basically a cross between Battle Royale and The Office. I didn't find it as funny as some others have said. This is coming out in regular theatres in March 2017. I don't know how this is going to play to mass audiences though. It is a very hard R and is very "non-Hollywood".
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Old 11-29-16, 12:12 AM   #3
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Re: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

A trailer, at last.

Well, a trailer for a trailer, but still. Not the biggest fan of this practice, but I can see the value in it these days, and it certainly suggests the distributors might know they have a good thing here. The March 17 opening is promising, too; at least they're not dumping it in January or some other dead zone.

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Old 12-01-16, 12:24 AM   #4
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Re: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

Red Band's out. Hey, I'd go see that, and I've already seen it!

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Old 12-03-16, 10:41 AM   #5
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Re: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

Looks great. Love movies like this (Battle Royale, The Purge, etc.). John C. MvGinley spinning a meat cleaver is icing on the cake!
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Old 12-03-16, 11:56 AM   #6
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Re: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

I'm interested.
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Old 03-15-17, 12:21 PM   #7
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Re: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

Opens this week.

56% on RT: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_belko_experiment
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Old 03-16-17, 05:30 AM   #8
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Re: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

I've seen the trailer for this a couple of times and haven't been that interested in it. However, James Gunn writing it sort of makes me want to see it. Maybe if I'm tired of watching march madness this weekend I'll check it out.
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Old 03-16-17, 11:36 AM   #9
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Re: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

If nothing comes up, gonna see this tomorrow morning.
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Old 03-19-17, 01:09 PM   #10
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Re: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

Saw this yesterday. Very disappointed.

Considering the films that Greg McLean & James Gunn have previously written or directed, this should have been a million times better than it was. It felt through and through like a flat Direct-To-Video film made by a pair of filmmakers with a whole lot less experience within the Genre.
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Old 03-21-17, 05:42 PM   #11
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Re: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

This movie has some pretty brutal kills. At times it felt like too much. I thought the practical effects were pretty good. Acting was good. Music was a nice touch. The ending was a little cringe-worthy. Not talking about the final shot but just before that.

There were some surprises, especially when you think one of the characters was going to survive...only to be wrong
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Old 03-22-17, 09:10 AM   #12
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Re: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomOpus View Post
There were some surprises, especially when you think one of the characters was going to survive...only to be wrong

So few moments in horror films actually surprise me any more, but that admittedly caught me off guard.

After a second viewing, I still stand by my thoughts from last September. While it's not perfect, as noted, it's certainly the best picture to date from McLean, whose career of late seemed to have devolved into cannibalizing/sequelizing the already-derivative and humorless Wolf Creek over and over again or really going DTV with the dismal misfire The Darkness. As for Gunn's involvement, obviously it's not in league with a mega-show like Guardians, but I do think it's as good and nearly as humorous as some of his better genre output pre-2010 (when he actually wrote it).

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Old 03-22-17, 03:02 PM   #13
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Re: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

I liked it. I thought some pretty strong performances from Goldwyn and McGinley helped carry the movie. Was basically Battle Royale in an office building with a dash of Mean Guns. Had some good gore and some good scenes but I'm surprised this got a theatrical release. Seems like a perfect movie to have a limited release and appear on VOD. Overall would probably give it a 3/5. I enjoyed it.
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Old 03-24-17, 09:04 AM   #14
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Re: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

Caught this last night. It was pretty decent; I was entertained, at least. The willingness of certain types of characters to suddenly go full-on mass-murderer was a bit much, but other films of this type have done the same.
Based on the comment from Tom Opus above, I thought it was in reference to
Spoiler:
John Gallagher Jr's character, Mike.

Because, as soon as
Spoiler:
Danielle/Dani got into the elevator, I knew she was going to die.

What would have been a bit more compelling would have been if
Spoiler:
Two "good" people were left at the very end, but one still had to die.


3/5 seems like a fair score.
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Old 03-24-17, 12:39 PM   #15
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Re: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan View Post
What would have been a bit more compelling would have been if
Spoiler:
Two "good" people were left at the very end, but one still had to die.
Yep
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Old 03-24-17, 02:16 PM   #16
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Re: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

^There didn't have to be one person left at the end, storyline was that

Spoiler:
The person with the most kills at the end of X minutes would be the winner, and everyone else's heads would have blown up. The fact that Milch was the last person left made him the defacto winner, but you didn't have to kill everyone else. If there were 2 "good" people left they would either just sat there until one person's head blew up, or the person with more kills would sacrifice himself for the other person.

Unless you just want to go against a movie's worth of character buildup and have one of them cold bloodedly murder the other "innocent" person, which I don't think would be a good ending either.
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Old 03-24-17, 02:19 PM   #17
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Re: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

What I meant was
Spoiler:
What if two characters were left, but they both had, say 2 or 3 kills equally, since they killed off all the mass-murdering scumbags. Would the people controlling the experiment have just blown up both their heads, or... somehow force one of them to kill the other or sacrifice themselves? It just seemed like the mention of "whoever has the most kills" was a setup for that kind of an ending, in my mind, anyway.


That's what I was getting at.
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Old 06-26-17, 10:01 PM   #18
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Re: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

This was enjoyable but yeah, a bit much at times, and I say that as a huge fan of Battle Royale.
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Old 06-27-17, 07:18 AM   #19
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Re: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

I saw it a couple of weeks ago. It was out there, for sure. Kind of like someone threw Battle Royale, Cabin in the Woods and Office Space in a blender....
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Old 06-27-17, 07:55 AM   #20
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Re: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

I saw the credit "Written by James Gunn" on a 1956 episode of "Cheyenne" recently. Clearly not the same guy. This James Gunn, who wrote a few movies and has tons of TV writing credits, died in 1966, a month after THE BELKO EXPERIMENT's James Gunn was born!

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0344631/reference
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Old 06-27-17, 10:07 AM   #21
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Re: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

Wish this movie had done a little bit better. Gunn sure promoted the hell out of it on social media.
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Old 06-27-17, 10:13 AM   #22
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Re: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

I like the consistency in Tony Goldwyn's roles. 27 years after Ghost, and Carl is still an asshole.
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Old 06-27-17, 10:52 AM   #23
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Re: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

Everytime Tony Goldwyn was on screen, I kept thinking early Rick Grimes. He and Andrew Lincoln sorta look similar.
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Old 07-15-17, 02:57 PM   #24
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Re: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

Saw this today and was very disappointed, especially with the involvement of James Gunn. Didn't really like any of the characters, so it's hard to root for someone when you don't really care if they live or die. I think they could have at least ended it better, something like having the boyfriend and girlfriend having one kill each and having to figure out who was going to walk out alive.
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Old 07-15-17, 08:33 PM   #25
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Re: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2016) D: Greg McLean; W: James Gunn

Enjoyed the shit out of this. Battle Royale meets The Office.
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