3 Of A Kind? – ‘Stuck In A..’ Films

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June 9, 2012 by Liza Lou

You all know the films I mean. A bunch of strangers end up stuck in the same room, space, experiment or something else entirely. These strangers then learn about each other and are either connected or some other big twist embroils them.


I have been watching a few of these recently. In fact, the last few nights I haven’t been able to get away from them, even the ones I don’t think follow this plot happen to and as a result I now actively seek them. I like the intrigue, the build up and the shock that I (sometimes) get at the end.


Now, I don’t claim to be an expert. I don’t know what make a universally brilliant film. I don’t know anyone that does either but I have picked a trio of these films to share. These are probably not the best of the genre but then I haven’t watched all that are available. These 3 did make an impression on me though, whether that be good or bad. I would like to hear your opinions on my choices and also take any recommendations for more to add to my ‘to watch’ list so please feel free to get in touch. I do seem to have a soft spot for this type of film after all.

The Experiment (2010)
written and directed by Paul scheuring



Cast Includes: Adrien Brody (The Pianist, King Kong, Splice) and Forest Whitaker (Platoon, Panic Room).


Plot Outline : Based on the true events that happened at Stanford University in 1971, 23 men are picked to take part in a social experiment within a mock prison. Split up into two groups (prisoners and wardens) the whole thing is watched on camera as the drama unfolds and the lines between experiment and reality merge together.


What About Twists?: There aren’t any as such because the story is pretty much laid out but this doesn’t make for a lack of suspense or tension, this comes from the power struggles and basic human instinct.


Did It Deliver?: I liked it but then the whole social experiment thing is something I am interested in from a personal point of view and I am a sucker for things based on truth. I have however found out that this film is an American remake of German film Das Experiment (2001) so I may have to give this a watch too!

 Exam (2009) 
written by Stuart Hazeldine and Simon Garrity.directed by Stuart Hazeldine 




Cast IncludesColin Salmon (The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Bank Job) and Jimi Mistry (East Is East, Guru).

Plot Outline: 8 strangers are led into a room in order to take an 80 minute exam for a job with a somewhat mystery but very lucrative company. They are given a set of rules and left to find the one and only answer to the one and only question in front of them.. but what is it?

What about Twists?: There’s a few of them. There’s 8 job candidates to consider firstly, who are they? why are they there? And of course there’s the question and that all elusive answer!

Did It Deliver?: This is a British Film so I feel like I should champion it but there was too many holes in the plot and the twists involved for me to really buy into the concept.The acting is fairly good though and Mistry in particular drew in me as I’m used to seeing him in comedy.


Identity (2003)
written by Michael Cooney. directed by James Mangold


Cast IncludesJohn Cusack (1408, Hot Tub Time Machine, Must Love Dogs) and Ray Liotta (Hannibal)

Plot Outline: A series of events during a storm finds 10 strangers cooped up in a Nevada motel. As the strangers and picked off and murdered, can the rest figure out who is doing the killing? Meanwhile, a psychologist is trying to prove the innocence of a man just before he given the death penalty, is there a connection?

What About Twists?: Plenty, in fact they come thick and fast and crazy. Again, there is the characters of the stranded strangers to figure out plus there’s 2 massive ones (1 that is pretty obvious once given all the facts and 1 that had me thinking for hours after the credits rolled).

Did It Deliver?: Oh yes!! Out of the 3 it probably had straightforward of plot lines but I really was guessing right to the very end. Cusack is stand out and some of the scenes were the creepiest I’ve seen.

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