The Belko Experiment (R)

Many times when I go to the movies I can tell when the movie is going to be crappy very early on. Call it want you will – instinct, intuition, a gift, a curse or whatever. Two minutes into The Belko Experiment I got that feeling again; that feeling that I should have just gotten up, gotten my refund, and seen something else.  Anything else.  But I didn’t.  I hate when I get that feeling, because I feel as though I need to give the film a chance before shutting it down, but I know myself well enough to know that once I get to the point where I want to walk out, it takes a lot to reel me back in.  Despite all of this, I sat through the entire movie.  When I get that feeling I am always, not just some of the time, but always, correct.  I’m a woman who knows what I like, and oh how I regret remaining seated.  People in the audience (including myself) laughed through the entire movie; not because anything particularly funny was happening, but because we had to find a way to turn tragedy into triumph.  It is billed as a horror movie for crying out loud!  I’m still ticked with myself for not leading the charge to the refund line within my 20 minute window.  The next time I get that feeling, not only am I going, I’m going to try and take everybody in the damn theater with me!  I am going to stand up and exclaim, “This is garbage. I’m going to get a refund.  Whose with me!”  Seriously.  Enough is enough already.

How disappointing when this year’s horror movies have been coming out in such force with such amazing quality (Raw, The Girl with all the Gifts, Get Out, The Autopsy of Jane Doe).  Just when I was about to petition the Academy to include a horror category for next year’s awards (which they should have at this point for Get Out alone), how is it that a film as bad as The Belko Experiment slips through the cracks and ruins the streak?  This is one of those ideas that one might imagine may have sounded good on paper but failed to transition to film.

Here’s how it slipped through… The Belko Experiement is written by James Gunn, who wrote and directed Guardians of the Galaxy and the upcoming sequel thereto. I’ve never seen Guardians and this movie doesn’t inspire me to ever want to do so.  I don’t usually “do” spoilers.  I avoid them to the extent that I am able, but this movie was already spoiled long before I got here, so here we go…

In this movie, there’s some U.S. government company/agency named Belko housed in a single building in Bogota, Columbia, where this multicultural group of people work.  One gets the feeling that the majority of the employees, if not all, are American.  80 employees are in the building on this particular day.  All of a sudden, the building is put under an ISIS (for those of you who watch Archer, you know to what I am referring.  Those of you who do not watch Archer, go watch Archer.  It’s good.  I recommend it much more highly than this movie, for certain. ) -type lockdown, where the entire building is pretty much “off line” and all points of egress are inaccessible.  Anyway, a voice over a loud speaker begins to give the employees instructions and informs them that 2 of them must be dead within like 90 minutes or some such nonsense – in order for the “stakes” not to escalate.  Nobody wants to kill anyone at first, of course, but somehow, people being to die.  The next order is to kill 30 people in 2 hours.  And if the count does not reach 30, then 60 employees will be exterminated.  So, these people being to lose their minds and hack and shoot and stab at one another with verve.  They miss the 30 mark by 1 body and the stakes escalate to the last man standing and an all-out blood bath ensues.

I get it. This movie is like The Purge meets the Stanford prison experiment.  The demands and psychological effects of the experiment, such as mob mentality and homicidal psychosis, are escalated by making murder a requirement for survival.  The special effects and the gore were well done, but even with all the blood and brains and guts and violence (and there was plenty), The Belko Experiment did not come across as a horror film.  It would have made an excellent spoof on a horror film had it been pushed in that direction (Simon Pegg could probably have done an outstanding job with it).  Otherwise, it just doesn’t fly. I won’t even bother to say who is in the movie, because it doesn’t even matter.  It’s just that bad.

The Belko Experiment earned 4 out of 10 bloops. This movie is not good even if you do not have to pay.  If it comes on cable on a Sunday afternoon and you think you have nothing better to do, trust me, you do.  Find something else to do.  Anything else.  Watch a couple of episodes of Archer instead.  And if you venture forth, don’t say I didn’t warn you.


1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

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What I’m Watching This Week

  • The Shack – Really, this is the week.
  • Bluebeard – A Korean thriller that sounds amazing
  • The Great Wall I’m still trying to gear up to go see this movie. Obviously, I don’t quite care about it enough to get there.  I believe this is the last week it will be in theaters, so it’s now or never.
  • Personal Shopper
  • Life

Recent Reviews:

Beauty and the Beast

Kong: Skull Island
Bitter Harvest
The Girl with All the Gifts
A Cure for Wellness
Get Out

Oscar reviews:

Hidden Figures
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
Hacksaw Ridge
Nocturnal Animals
Captain Fantastic
Florence Foster Jenkins
I Am Not Your Negro

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