US office horror movie filmed in Colombia
American office-based horror movie The Belko Experiment filmed on location in Colombian capital Bogota.
The movie follows the staff of a Colombia-based US company who are imprisoned in their isolated office block and instructed to kill each other.
Australian filmmaker Greg McLean directed the movie with a script from James Gunn, who is best known as the writer and director of superhero franchise Guardians of the Galaxy.
Colombia was chosen as the filming location partly because producer Peter Safran had industry colleagues who had worked in the country on Netflix projects, which have included the Pablo Escobar drama Narcos.
A seven-hour flight time from Los Angeles made Bogota a practical location for The Belko Experiment. Colombia’s formal filming incentive, enabling producers to claim a cash rebate of up to 40% of production costs, made a local shoot financially viable. Bogota-based Itaca Films serviced the shoot.
“We spent four months searching for locations,” says Carolina Caicedo, the film’s location manager, in comments to KFTV. “The biggest challenge was to find a building with two storeys available where we could get all of the special effects done without violating security and building rules.”
The production team ended up choosing a business park in northern Bogota for scenes set on the office floor, but the building’s lobby was built as a special set in a different suburb of the city.
“Finding a building that was a good match and had the required space and allowed us to film the scenes [was a challenge],” says Caicedo. “Because we didn’t find it we had to build our own.”
Colombia’s filming incentive has become key to boosting the country’s international appeal.
High-profile recent international productions in the country have included period exploration movie The Lost City of Z, which filmed in Tayrona National Park in the north of the country. Backpacking survival movie Jungle stars Daniel Radcliffe in the true story of travellers led astray in the South American wilderness, and was also directed by Greg McLean.