THE BELKO EXPERIMENT Red Band Trailer – Teamwork Makes the Dream Work?

[All images courtesy BH Tilt]

2017 started with a financial and critical bang for horror movie fans and the studios that release them.  January saw two big horror releases. The critic-proof Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (released January 20) has an accumulated gross of $238 million worldwide.  M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological-horror-with-a-twist Split (released January 27) also earned big box office — and some love from the critics. Along with a 76% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, Split has brought in a worldwide gross of $225 million since its January 27th release (off a production budget of nine million dollars US).

February’s entry, Jordan Peele’s directorial debut Get Out, scored even better with the critics; an astounding 99% Fresh rating at RTIn two weeks of domestic distribution, Get Out has earned $75 million box office (with a $4.5 million dollar budget).

Which brings us to the March entry in 2017’s Horror Movie Juggernaut Contest — The Belko Experiment from BH Tilt (aka genre powerhouse studio Blumhouse). If the poster tagline “Office Space meets Battle Royale” doesn’t intrigue you, the talent involved — and the recently released “Red Band” trailer  below — might.

 

The Belko Experiment writer James Gunn on set with director Gary McLean.

Let’s start with the writer. Before a little movie called Guardians of the Galaxy hit theaters in 2014, James Gunn was already known to horror fans as the writer of 2004’s Dawn of the Dead remake and director/writer of the criminally underappreciated 2006 release Slither. With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 taking up a fair chunk of his time, Gunn and Producer Peter Safran made an inspired choice to direct Belko – Greg McLean.

Who’s Greg McLean? Finish this article, watch the trailer link, then get a copy of Wolf Creek (2005). An Australian R-rated entry in the  survival horror subgenre, Wolf Creek is not for everyone. But those who like their horror visceral, fast-paced, and emotionally wrenching will love it.

Let’s set the scene for The Belko Experiment

 

“In a twisted social experiment, a group of 80 Americans are locked in their high-rise office in Bogota, Columbia, and ordered by an unknown voice … to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed in order to survive.”

 

This Belko employee is not destroying the hated office copier a la Office Space.

Besides cinematic inspirations Battle Royale, Office Space and other horror movies set in the workplace such as Severance (2006) and Compliance (2012), a notorious psychological study informs Belko’s DNA. In 1961 Stanley Milgram of Yale University conducted a series of social experiments. Test subjects administered varying levels of (fake) electric shocks to others who failed answer questions correctly. Unlike the unlucky student in Battle Royale or the office drones of Belko, the participants in the Milgram study weren’t threatened with death for non-compliance; most obeyed their instructions to administer “Danger: Sever Shock” charges anyway.

Michael Rooker as Belko Corporation’s lead maintenance guy – what could go wrong?

So called “Red Band” trailers are, as noted in this 2010 New York Times article, noted for their NSFW (and not appropriate for all ages) levels of possible “… material deemed inappropriate for children.” Be forewarned before viewing – The Belko Experiment trailer linked below does contain intense violence.

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