EXAM (2009) Reviews and overview



’80 minutes. 8 candidates. 1 answer. No question.’

Exam is a 2009 British psychological horror-thriller feature film directed by Stuart Hazeldine from a screenplay co-written with Simon Garrity. The movie stars Colin Salmon, Chris Carey and Jimi Mistry.


Eight candidates dress for what appears to be an employment assessment exam; they enter a room and sit down at individual desks. Each desk contains a question paper with the word “candidate”, followed by a number, from one to eight.


The Invigilator, a representative of the company named DATAPREV, explains that the exam is 80 minutes and consists of only one question, but there are three rules: they must not talk to the Invigilator or the armed guard at the door, spoil their paper, or leave the room. If they do, they will be disqualified…


“The tale is ingeniously developed, the suspense well maintained, and you’ll think more highly of it if you have to leave five minutes before the disappointing pay-off.” The Guardian


“Stuart Hazeldine’s debut is grabby enough to begin with but loses its way when the characters start tumbling over themselves to be as stereotypically dog-eat-dog as possible. It’s The Apprentice with obligatory torture and a damp squib of an ending.” Daily Telegraph

“Although the only truly compelling character among this rum bunch is City bully boy Luke Mably, the fact that most of the candidates remain ciphers is somehow fitting – they’re all grist to the corporate mill.  Starting strong, but dipping in the middle, the film runs its tight little concept right up to the final countdown, ensuring the audience is wrong-footed as often as the rapidly dwindling candidates, without ever cheating us outright.” Total Film


Cast and characters:

Adar Beck … Dark
Gemma Chan … Chinese Girl
Nathalie Cox … Blonde
John Lloyd Fillingham … Deaf
Chukwudi Iwuji … Black (as Chuk Iwuji)
Pollyanna McIntosh … Brunette
Luke Mably … White
Jimi Mistry … Brown
Colin Salmon … The Invigilator
Chris Carey … The Guard