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Film Analysis

The Belko Experiment (2016) - Shreya Sachdev

The Belko Experiment is about a group of employees who work for the government and are placed in a situation in which they are forced to kill each other in order to survive for their own good. The movie explores how different personalities react to this order, as some people will not sacrifice their morals to save their own, and others will. This whole movie is based on an experiment that unknown authorities are conducting, as they are looking for only one person to be left alive. The main conflict is between Mike (a regular employee) and Barry (the CEO and founder) as they do not agree on how to handle the situation. There are only 3-4 main characters in the movie, but hundreds of background characters that serve as foils for Mike and Barry. It is clear from the facial expressions and the dialogues that certain characters share with each other that many of the employees have issues with other employees. When the second phase of the experiment begins, in which the employees are told that they have 30 people to kill in two hours, this is when people’s true nature comes out. The question that this movie is trying to answer is whether or not people would kill somebody else in order to survive. Barry believes that because he has a wife and children, the right thing for him to do would be to kill his other colleagues. Mike also believes that employees who are much older should be killed, since the majority of their life is gone and the young workers still have a lot more to look forward to. He also wants to protect people who have younger children. Thus, he is still showing some signs of humanity as he believes that what he is doing is right. Barry, on the other hand, disagrees, and says that everyone’s life is of equal worth. Mile, likewise, is doing what he believes is right. Mike is the only character in the movie who does not dehumanize himself in order to save himself. He continues to protect everyone regardless of what he knows could happen to him. When the third phase of the experiment is introduced, in which whoever kills the most people wins, this is when everybody’s violent side comes out. In this order, there can be no teams, but only one survivor. Thus, the entire building goes into chaos as everyone tries to fight for their survival. However, Mike only continues to protect his employees and help them rather than kill other people to survive. When Mike’s girlfriend dies, this is what pushes the violent side out of him and forces him to defeat Barry. Mike wins the experiment, and is brought into another building with many social scientists around him. These people let him know that these scientists are trying to make discoveries on the human brain and can only do so if they have real test subjects, which is why they were forced to place these employees in extreme social environments. The scientists then try to ask Mike some standard questions, but Mike is not too interested in answering these questions. He notices the bombs next to every single person’s name, and realizes that this is what was used to kill the employees. He then shows the scientist that he took the bombs once the people had died and placed some of them on the soldier’s heads, and quickly switches on all of the buttons so all of the soldiers die as well. Mike then grabs a gun and points it towards the founder of the experiment, and shoots him. This scene is controversial, because Mike is the one who showed the most humanity throughout the movie and refused to kill anyone. However, after his girlfriend died, Mike too became a killing machine. Thus, perhaps the experiment was really to figure out how people react when their loved ones die. Nevertheless, at the end of the movie, we see a security camera zooming out of Mike, and many other people around the world who had gone through the same experiment, which could imply that this was not the actual experiment and that the real experiment was to figure out how the remaining survivor would act in a situation in which he or she encountered the social scientists that made him or her go through hell. It is not so far fetched to believe that there will be another movie with every single survivor in the Belko Experiment from around the world all placed into one building to see if this experiment causes them to bond together to fight the scientists, or continue to kill each other.

Shreya Sachdev