The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015)
In 1971, psychological professor Philip Zimbardo conducted an experiment where eighteen male students participated in a 14-day prison simulation where they either became a prisoner or guard. In the mock prison, the roles are assigned somewhat arbitrarily, but the results are almost immediate. As reality and fiction blur and the simulation seems like reality, the guards act morally superior and become abusive towards their fellow students — simply because they got one title over the other.
The controversial real-life experiment became revealing in many of the worst ways, providing a harrowing, haunting framework through which director Kyle Patrick Alvarez makes a chilling, relentless drama based on this true story. Through its stark storytelling, immersive performances, and taunt filmmaking, The Stanford Prison Experiment is challenging, but it’s an entirely stirring film about the dangers of ill-moral power dynamics — perceived or otherwise.
Stream It On Netflix here.