Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Adrien Brody, Forest Whitaker, Maggie Grace, Cam Gigandet
Directed by Paul Scheuring
Distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
It feels as if we’ve been reporting on Paul Scheuring’s remake of Das Experiment (review) for ages. It’s actually kind of hard to believe that it’s actually here. So how did it fare? Did it bring anything new to the table? Did it bring back anything old to the table? We’ll get to that in a second, but first let’s flesh out a quick plot breakdown.
Travis (Brody) is a really peaceful cat. What most people would refer to as a sort of modern-day hippie. He meets the girl of his dreams (Grace) at a protest rally and decides that he wants to go with her to India for a little soul searching. There’s just one problem. He needs cash to get there. Fresh off of getting laid off, Travis signs up for a two-week long research project that pays $1,000.00 a day in which a group of men agree to play inmates and guards in a simulation of life within a state prison. Once there he meets Barris (Whitaker), and the two become fast friends until the program starts and they end up being on opposite sides of the fence. As everyone sinks into their roles, dissension and violence lead to all-out madness, and the only thing this experiment succeeds in is causing bloodshed.
Brody and Whitaker are just on fire in their roles. Each one is cast pitch perfectly, and they play well off of each other through the good times and the bad. They each carry this film on their shoulders and do an admirable job of keeping things interesting. While that’s all fine, well, and good, the big problem here is the film’s pacing and lack of suspense.
In Das Experiment the viewer felt as confined as the prisoners themselves. The intense feeling of claustrophobia was at times unbearable. Here things either unravel too fast or slow down too much. At just over ninety minutes, the movie still feels longish and that’s never a good sign. In short, while mostly missing the key components that made the original film so good, Scheuring’s retelling still manages to do enough right to warrant a look. He has his actors to thank for that.
Both the Blu-ray and the DVD share the same bit of extras – nothing. All we get are a few trailers. If you’re wondering, yes, the movie looks and sounds better on Blu-ray. Isn’t that a given by now?
If you’re in the market for a well acted psycho-drama, The Experiment will surely suffice. However, should you want to see how these events would have played out in a far more terrifying and gripping manner, seek out the original. Deal with the subtitles if they bother you. It’s so worth it.
3 out of 5
1/2 out of 5
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