|Directed by||Stuart Hazeldine|
|Produced by||Stuart Hazeldine
|Written by||Stuart Hazeldine
|Music by||Stephen Barton
|Editing by||Mark Talbot-Butler|
|Running time||101 minutes|
Exam is a 2009 British psychological thriller film written by Simon Garrity and Stuart Hazeldine, directed by Stuart Hazeldine and starring Colin Salmon, Jimi Mistry, Luke Mably, Chuk Iwuji, and Nathalie Cox.
The film is set in present-time United Kingdom in an alternate history. 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 paper with the word "candidate", followed by a number, from one to eight. The Invigilator, a representative of the company, explains that the exam takes 80 minutes and consists of one question only, and that there are three rules: do not talk to the Invigilator or the armed guard at the door, do not spoil the paper or allow it to be spoilt, and do not leave the room. Not obeying the rules will result in disqualification. He asks them if there are any questions – no-one replies.
After the clock starts, it turns out that the question papers are blank. One candidate is immediately removed from the room for spoiling her paper by writing on it. The seven remaining candidates realize they can talk to each other and work together. "White", who is arrogant and rude, suggests nicknames based on physical appearance: Black, White, Brown, Blonde, Brunette, and Dark, refer to their skin and hair colors, and Deaf is for one candidate who does not pay attention to the others. The candidates use the lights, bodily fluids and fire sprinklers to try to reveal a hidden question on the paper, with no luck. White takes control of the group but really works against them, engineering the disqualifications of Brunette and Deaf. White then taunts the others, saying he knows the question but will not tell the others.
It is revealed that the company in question is responsible for a miracle drug which a large part of the population are dependent upon, after a viral pandemic. Black subdues White and ties him to a chair, calling him a distraction to the group. White says he is infected with the virus and needs his medication, but the others do not believe him. Dark suggests White is actually a plant from the company, while demonstrating much knowledge about the internal workings of the company. This leads Brown to accuse her of being a plant, and he tortures her into revealing that she works for the company but is still applying for the job like everyone else. Just then, White goes into convulsions, proving he has the disease. Dark asks the unseen Invigilator for help and is disqualified.
Brown tries to destroy the medication that White brought for himself, but Blonde retrieves it and gives it to White. The others release White and demand to know the question, but he says the explanation is that there is no question – the company is going to hire the last remaining candidate. This triggers a fight between White and Black for the guard's gun, which White wins. White forces Brown to leave the room, at gunpoint. However, before Blonde leaves, she turns off the voice-activated lights, allowing Black to attack White.
When the lights are turned on, Black is dead from a gunshot, and Blonde is hiding in the hallway, with just one foot still inside the room. Before White can kill her, the clock runs to zero. White addresses the Invigilator, proclaiming himself the best candidate, but is disqualified; it is revealed that Deaf had earlier set the countdown forward by a few minutes. With only Blonde left, she remembers that Deaf had been using his glasses and a piece of broken glass with an exam paper earlier, but had been ignored. Taking the abandoned glasses, she finds the phrase "Question 1." on the exam paper, in invisible writing.
Blonde realizes that Question 1 refers to the only question asked of them – the "Any questions?" by the Invigilator before the exam began – and answers, "No." The Invigilator and Deaf enter; the Invigilator reveals Deaf is actually the CEO of the company and inventor of the cure for the virus, which can also heal any wound. The bullet that hit Black contained this cure, and he awakens, healed. With the drug about to be released to the public, the company needed to hire someone who was not only able to make tough choices but who is also compassionate, which Blonde had demonstrated throughout the exam. Blonde passes the exam and accepts her new job.
- 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
On 11 February 2010, IFC Films acquired the rights for the US release where it was released as part of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The DVD and Blu-ray were released in the UK on 7 June 2010. There was no theatrical release in the US, but IFC Films released the film via video on demand on 23 July 2010 and on DVD on November 16, 2010.
On Sept 4th 2012 a stage adaptation of the film opened in Manchester, UK. Adapted to the stage by Craig Hepworth, Richard Allen and Stuart Reeve and Directed by Hepworth and Allen. The play produced by Vertigo Theatre Productions opened to positive reviews and a sold out run. A tour is now planned.
According to Rotten Tomatoes, the movie received 62% positive reviews out of 29 reviews, with an average rating of 5.9 out of 10.
- Exam – Brit Films
- 2010 Movie Preview: Part 1
- IFC Takes Stuart Hazeldine's Exam
- First “Exam” Trailer
- EXAM – 2009 Movie Review. Thriller
- Official Quad One-Sheet: Exam
- IFC Films Acquires US Rights For Exam
- EXAM, LETTERS TO FATHER JAAKOB: Santa Barbara Film Festival Awards
- UK DVD and Blu-Ray Specs for Stuart Hazeldine's Exam
- U.S. Trailer for IFC Films' 'Exam'
- Official One-Sheet and Trailer – IFC's Exam
- Hepworth, Craig. "EXAM - New Stage Adaptation of Cult Psychological Brit Thriller". Broadway World. Retrieved 7 April 2013.