The trailer for the intense psychological thriller The Stanford Experiment has been released. It’s Summer 1971. Stanford University’s Dr. Philip Zimbardo launches a psychological experiment to further his research into the effects of imprisonment. 24 male students volunteered to take part, assigned the roles of prisoners and guards. The experiment was due to last for 2 weeks but had to be cut short after only 6 days because the guards had become sadistic and the prisoners traumatized. This is the real life event that this film explores.
The Stanford Prison Experiment is directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez and stars a batch of young talent, Ezra Miller (We Need to Talk About Kevin), Michael Angarano (Red State) and Tye Sheridan (Mud) as the students. Also featuring Billy Crudup (Almost Famous) and Olivia Thirlby (Bored to Death) as Zimbardo and his wife.
Watching the trailer, you can feel the atmosphere that begins with unease and builds to gritty tension as the drama unfolds. The humor and bravado of the boys dissipates as soon as the first cell door is closed and the characters quickly descend into the chilling qualities of human nature the experiment was set to demonstrate – too successfully. This looks to be a sinister glimpse into the abhorrent traits that emerge when we are placed into oppressive situations and our ability to abuse each other. Unnerving stuff that promises to make an excellent thriller and a trailer that doesn’t leave us guessing, I just hope they’ve left some of the critical action for the film itself.