Exam was advertised as a Brit horror with an intriguing premise and an exciting new talent in the director's chair. The film centres on eight people sitting a mysterious exam and competing for the ultimate job in a powerful corporation. Sadly this thriller was light on thrills and made for an intensely boring experience.
Attending the premiere of this film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival was genuinely quite exciting. The premise sounds like a great set-up for a clever psychological horror, the director Stuart Hazeldine has been tipped as one to watch and the cast turned out in force as the film was talked up beforehand. Unfortunately as the curtain opened and the film began everything went rapidly downhill.
We open on eight strangers walking into an exam room with a security guard at the door. An invigilator enters to explain the rules. They are competing for some kind of big job and as the clock starts to count down the 80 minutes they have to prove they deserve to get hired ahead of their competitors they turn over their exam papers to find them completely blank. One of them decides to write anyway and is immediately ejected by the guard. They soon decide to work together to try and identify the question and gradually the group is whittled down as they make mistakes and begin to turn on each other.
This is like some kind of satire on The Apprentice as the grasping candidates prove their willingness to stab each other in the back to get the job. The leaps of logic the group makes to try and uncover the truth are idiotic and unlikely. A great premise soon descends into a dull convoluted plot and the spectre of a virus is raised as a backdrop. The occasional touch of humour failed to provide the spark that this film so desperately needed. Towards the end the twists and revelations piled up but they were definitely in the groan inducing category. Exam was ponderous and silly which is far from a successful combination.
The fact that Exam was such a bore to sit through was largely down to the script and the direction. The mostly unknown cast were perfectly good and Luke Mably stood out as the best performer of the bunch. Jimi Mistry was the only face I recognised and he did fairly well with a distinctly unlikely part. The writing on the other hand was weak, the idea of subtly dropping in a mention of a virus was good but then of course it had to be developed to play a big part in the proceedings. The dialogue lacked believability and the character actions were often just bizarre with silly leaps of logic being quickly applied.
The direction from Stuart Hazeldine was interminably dull. Right from the slow motion opening sequence as the eight candidates strutted into the exam room as though they were walking down the catwalk to the underwhelming end revelation Hazeldine completely failed to inject any tension. If the entire cast had not been sitting directly behind me I would have considered walking out early because it really was that slow and boring. The lack of a sympathetic character didn't help matters either because there was no one to root for.
Exam is a crushingly dull film which completely fails to live up to the interesting premise. Going in expecting some kind of horror tinged paranoid competition to the death it could not have been more disappointing.Short Review
[Home ] [About] [Contact] [Site Map]
© 2008-2012 Eat Horror