The Belko Experiment

The Belko Experiment Information

The Belko Experiment is a 2016 American horror thriller film directed by Greg McLean and written by James Gunn. The film stars John Gallagher Jr., Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona and Melonie Diaz. Filming began on June 1, 2015, in Bogot, Colombia. The film premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival on September 10, 2016 and was released in the United States on March 17, 2017, by Blumhouse Tilt and Orion Pictures.


Mike Milch (John Gallagher Jr.), an employee of Belko Industries, arrives at his remote office building in rural Bogot, Colombia, to find newly-hired security guards turning away the local Colombian staff at the gate. Mike "? like girlfriend Leandra (Adria Arjona), boss Barry (Tony Goldwyn), and everyone else at the vaguely defined nonprofit "? has been there for a little over a year. New employee Dany (Melonie Diaz) reports for her first day on the job, and is told that a tracking device is implanted in the base of every Belko employee's skull in case they are kidnapped.

With the local staff gone, the 80 employees left at the office go about their day as usual, but armored shutters seal off the outside walls and doors to lock them in. A voice on the intercom instructs them to kill two of their number, or else people will be killed at random. They ignore the announcement at first, believing it to be a prank, but several of them die when explosives hidden in their trackers detonate and blow their heads apart. The employees believe the deaths are due to sniper fire at first, but Mike realizes the actual cause and attempts to remove his tracker. Warned by the voice that he too will die unless he stops within 10 seconds, Mike gives up the idea.

The group is next told that unless 30 of them are dead within two hours, 60 will be killed. They split into two factions, led by Mike and Barry; Mike believes that there should be no killing, while Barry intends to follow the directions in order to prevent more deaths. Mike and his group, including Leandra, try to hang banners from the roof of the building as a call for help, but soldiers outside shoot at them, forcing them to abandon the plan. Barry and his group find a cache of firearms and order everyone down to the lobby to decide who will die. He and his crazed henchman Wendell (John C. McGinley) select 30 people and begin executing them, but Dany knocks out power to the lights before he can kill Mike.

Barry and Wendell continue to hunt down fleeing employees, but the two-hour time limit runs out and the voice informs them that only 29 have been killed. More employees die when their trackers explode, leaving only a few survivors. The voice informs them that the one who kills the most people by the end of the day will be allowed to walk out alive. Barry begins killing indiscriminately, while Leandra kills Wendell. Another employee, Marty (Sean Gunn), collects the unexploded trackers from the heads of people who have died by other methods; when he is killed, Mike takes them for himself. He, Leandra, and Barry are the only three people still alive at this point.

Mike and Leandra hide in a filing cabinet, but Leandra bleeds to death from a gunshot wound. In a rage, Mike kills Barry with a blow to the head; the building is then unsealed, since he is the last survivor, and the soldiers escort him to a warehouse next door. There, he meets the owner of the voice (Gregg Henry), who introduces himself as a social scientist who believes that discoveries about human nature can only come from placing people in extreme environments. As he and his colleagues begin to ask Mike about his emotional and mental state, Mike notices a panel of switches that correspond to the 80 employees. Having planted Marty's trackers on the Voice and the soldiers, he charges across the room and flips every switch except his own. The trackers explode, killing the Voice and the soldiers, and he leaves the warehouse in a state of shock. The view zooms out to reveal that Mike is one of hundreds of sole survivors from similar experiments, being watched by another group through security cameras.


  • John Gallagher Jr. as Mike Milch, an employee at Belko Industries
  • 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
  • Melonie Diaz as Dany Wilkins, a new hire at Belko
  • Josh Brener as Keith McLure, a tech worker
  • David Del Rio as Roberto Jerez
  • Stephen Blackehart as Brian Vargas, an interpreter
  • Rusty Schwimmer as Peggy Displasia, Melch's secretary
  • Owain Yeoman as Terry Winters
  • Michael Rooker as Bud Melks, Belko's head of Maintenance
  • 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
  • Benjamin Byron Davis as Antonio Fowler
  • James Earl as Evan Smith, 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
  • Gregg Henry as The Voice


Initially Gunn wrote the film (as The Belco Experiment) prior to directing the 2010 film Super, although he backed away from the project once it got greenlit, owing to getting a divorce around the same time. Says Gunn "I just wanted to be around my friends and family. I didn't want to go shoot this thing that was about people who loved and cared about each other being forced into killing each other. It just didn't seem to be the way I wanted to spend the next few months of my life. So I backed out of it." As Gunn's name became bigger and bigger he had "kind of forgotten about it" until he received a call from Jon Glickman at MGM asking if he would still be interested in making it.

On March 31, 2015, James Gunn posted on Facebook about his upcoming horror film, The Belko Experiment, for which he wrote the script and was intended to produce along with Peter Safran. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was set to finance the film, while Greg McLean was set to direct.

Much of the cast was announced in May 2015 including John Gallagher Jr., Tony Goldwyn, and Melonie Diaz. More joined the cast in June, including David Del Rio, Stephen Blackehart, Josh Brener, and Rusty Schwimmer.


Principal photography on the film began on June 1, 2015, in Bogot, Colombia. and concluded on July 12, 2015.


The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 10, 2016. Shortly after, Blumhouse Tilt and Orion Pictures acquired U.S distribution rights to the film, and set it for a March 17, 2017, release. It will be released to UK theaters on April 15, 2017.

The film was promoted through a series of three claymation shorts directed by Lee Hardcastle which according to website, io9, which they debeuted on, "features exaggerated versions of The Belko Experiment"?s characters, and offers a taste of the level of violence and humor you"?ll see when the actual movie" The movie was also promoted with a video game, "Belko Experiment"? Escape Room in VR" released for virtual reality platforms.

Box office

In the United States and Canada, The Belko Experiment will be released alongside Beauty and the Beast and is projected to gross around $4 million in its opening weekend. It made $305,000 from Thursday night previews and $1.5 million on its first day.

Critical response

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 47% based on 45 reviews, with an average rating of 5.3/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Belko Experiment offers a few moments of lurid fun for genre enthusiasts, but lacks enough subversive smarts to consistently engage once the carnage kicks in." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a score 43 out of 100, based on 17 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".

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