First of all, Topher gets FULL credit for gettin’ me into this gem! He and I have shared a passion for lesser-known indie flicks for years and after a year abroad he came home with this suggestion for me: a 2009, British production entitled “Exam”. Right away, if you’ve ever heard of and enjoyed any of the following: “Cube”, “The Hole” or “Tape” you’ll definitely be down for this one. In what is becoming more and more prevalent in an age where non-Hollywood productions budgets have recessionally decreased almost in direct negative correlation to the intelligence of writers and the audience, “Exam” is a sign of the times.
Using the ever-more-popular one-room set, this story follows an alternate, near-future reality where the half the world has been ravaged by a fatal pandemic and only a handful of those infected can afford the extremely expensive cure. The world’s largest and most mysterious bio-engineering company is testing 8 final candidates for an exalted position- or at least that’s what we’re told and in this film of intrigue and lies, nothing can be taken at its word. My pseudo Rotten Tomatoes-esque summary aside, “Exam” is the story of 8 very different men and women who each offer their own specialization as they attempt to solve an impossible riddle before the timer (literally) runs out. Tempers flare and personalities clash as cabin fever takes over in the exam room: it’s full of racism, misogyny, torture and most importantly performative intelligence. Very much like the Canadian cult classic “Cube”, you’ll be on the edge of your seat trying to figure out if anyone is actually who they say they are and just what the hell the answer to the Exam riddle is 😉 I know I sound a little corny, but it’s high quality, well-written and suspenseful as all gettup, I promise!