The Experiment opens with a bunch of stock footage of varies species fighting with each other and other acts of violence. Which sets the stage for the premise – a group of men are chosen for a psychological experiment. The basis of this experiment is to recreate a prison environment with certain men as the guards and others as the prisoners. They have to co-exist for certain amount of days (14 I believe) and will be paid 14K for their participation.
The catch is, they have to follow the rules bestowed upon them by the organizers. Any violation of the rules constitutes the red light going on and the experiment ending with no payoff.
The premise is very familiar – trying to play with people’s nature and see how they’ll react. I didn’t think I’d be surprise and I wasn’t for the most part. What I found disappointing was the sloppiness of the timetable. It doesn’t seem to take long for a bunch of people who are supposed to be pretty average in terms of who they are to melt down and descend into chaos. Less than 5 days in fact. Really? Is it that bad in the fake big house you’re getting out of in 2 weeks? The lapse into violence, insanity and even rape (wow, the sex addict guy can’t go 3 days before he starts to rape inmates?) is just not very believable.
It also seems like the characters shift and intensify too quickly. Everything feels too quick in fact. The set up feels very set up unfortunately. There are some good actors in here too with Forest Whitaker as the lead guard going off his rocker with power and Adrien Brody as the gentle hippy that discovers he’s got a violent side. They both do well in there roles but some of the script makes their roles feel contrived. The lineup also includes Maggie Grace and Cam Gigandet.
I caught this On Demand, it’s worth a view to form your own opinion as there are some interesting aspects to the film, it’s not bad at 1 in the morning but I wouldn’t go out of my way to pay for it.
reviewed by Sean McKnight