Sony have sent me a new movie called Exam which I’d not heard of until they asked if I wanted to review it. I watched the trailer (below) and thought it looked different and clever. I’m pleased to let you know that in a nutshell, that’s exactly what it is!

Exam is directed Stuart Hazeldine and stars Colin Salmon, Jimi Mistry, Luke Mably, Gemma Chan, Chris Carey, Adar Beck and Luke Mablyin a rather intriguing story about a group of 8 people who have 80 minutes to pass an exam. The only thing they have to do is answer one question, the issue for them however is, what’s the question?

Synopsis: Eight talented candidates have reached the final stage of selection to join the ranks of a mysterious and powerful corporation. Entering a windowless room, an Invigilator gives them eighty minutes to answer one simple question. He outlines three rules they must obey or be disqualified: don’t talk to him or the armed guard by the door, don’t spoil their papers and don’t leave the room. He starts the clock and leaves. The candidates turn over their question papers, only to find they’re completely blank. After the initial confusion has subsided, one frustrated candidate writes ‘I believe you should hire me because…,’ and is promptly ejected for spoiling. The remaining candidates soon figure out they’re permitted to talk to each other, and they agree to cooperate in order to figure out the question: then they can compete to answer it. At first they suspect the question may be hidden in their papers like a security marker in a credit card, and they figure out ways to change their environment to expose the hidden words. But light, liquids and other plans all come to naught. Soon enough, the candidates begin to uncover each other’s background, prejudices and hidden agendas. Tensions rise as the clock steadily descends towards zero, and each candidate must decide how far they are willing to go to secure the ultimate job .

I really enjoyed Exam. It was unlike anything that I’d seen before. The entire movie is set in one room which is claustrophobic and intense, especially with the threat of any one of the 8 candidates being ousted by a heavy handed security guard at any given moment. The movie has a problem-solving nature to it which is something I always enjoy, whether it’s an Indiana Jones, National Treasure style big location affair or simply performed in one room as Exam is.

All the cast are well chosen for their roles and although none of them are huge superstars, they all played their parts well with director, Stuart Hazeldine making the audience feel for the candidates as they attempt to solve this one problem that they are presented with.

The middle of the movie gets a little talky but we’re soon brought back on track and then intensity starts all over again. I love watching these movies that are original, clever, twisting at every turn.

Exam is a movie that, is described as ‘The Usual Suspects meets Saw’ which put my wife off watching it as anything remotely like Saw is to be steered clear of in her opinion. There are no gruesome moments anywhere in the movie and if you’re squeamish in any way, don’t be scared about watching this. Exam is clever, thought provoking and I highly recommend you watch it.

Bonus Features:

  • Commentary with Director Stuart Hazeldine & Editor Mark Talbot-Butler
  • Behind the Scenes footage
  • Interview with Director Stuart Hazeldine
  • Interview with Producer Gareth Unwin
  • Interview with Director of Photography Tim Wooster
  • Photo Gallery

Exam is released on DVD and Blu Ray today and can be purchased here.