James Gunn has been a busy man in the past couple of years. The writer/director of Guardians of the Galaxy has had his hands full both writing and directing the highly anticipated sequel (aptly titled Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), but that has not been his only project. He also wrote the upcoming horror/thriller The Belko Experiment.
Directed by Greg McLean (Wolf Creek) and produced by Peter Safran (The Conjuring, Annabelle), Belko concerns a group of 80 Americans - who, in the film, are locked in a Colombian corporate high-rise office and forced into a "twisted social experiment" from an unknown voice who leads them on "a deadly game of kill or be killed," according to a press release from Orion and marketing company BH Tilt. That press release also revealed the film's U.S. theatrical release date.
The two companies revealed in a joint press release that The Belko Experiment will debut in over 1,000 American theaters on March 17, 2017. The film has already premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival's Midnight Madness. Here is a statement on the matter from BH Tilt head John Hegemony:
BH Tilt head John Hegeman. BH Tilt, a division of Blumhouse Productions (Paranormal Activity, The Purge, Insidious), "takes advantage of new distribution and marketing strategies to release targeted films backed by digitally heavy campaigns."
"Greg, James and Peter made a truly original and unique movie that we are excited to work with them and Orion on bringing to genre audiences all across the country."
BH Tilt, a division of Blumhouse Productions (Paranormal Activity, The Purge, Insidious), "takes advantage of new distribution and marketing strategies to release targeted films backed by digitally heavy campaigns." In addition, BH Tilt has done marketing work for The Green Inferno and The Darkness, as well as the upcoming Incarnate starring Aaron Eckhart and Carice Van Houten.
The Belko Experiment is far from Gunn's first foray into horror and its sub-genres. He got his start in filmmaking with surrealist B-movie legends Troma Entertainment, where he co-wrote 1996's Tromeo & Juliet. He also wrote Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead reboot and was the writer/director of acclaimed 2006 horror/comedy Slither. Belko has a familiar name working with Gunn's script, as Michael Rooker, a.k.a. Yondu in Guardians of the Galaxy, co-stars along with Josh Brener, John Gallagher Jr., and Adria Arjona.
Needless to say, The Belko Experiment has plenty of experience backing it with BH Tilt and its ability to promote the horror genre. The experience of the makers themselves has the film in good hands too, as Belko reportedly debuted in Toronto to a "raucous" and "rousing" response.
If Gunn's background and history of having a sharp sense of humor in his work is any indication, Belko could deal a healthy dose of comedy in addition to horror. Then again, McLean's prior work as a horror director is considerably darker than what you would expect from Gunn. The plot summary reads like a cross between Die Hard and Battle Royale, which could mean the film acts as a tongue-in-cheek send-up of such movies. Until Belko reaches a wider audience, however, it remains to be seen exactly which tone the film strikes.
The Belko Experiment opens in U.S. theaters on March 17, 2017.
Source: Orion/BH Tilt