• Still from 'The Stanford Prison Experiment' trailer. (Trailer)Source: Trailer
In 1971 Stanford University asked their psychology students if they'd rather be a prisoner or a guard in a mock jail. The disturbing results are the subject of new movie.
Reuters, SBS Movies

15 Jun 2015 - 1:20 PM  UPDATED 15 Jun 2015 - 1:20 PM

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) "I had no idea it would turn out this way," an ominous voice says over the trailer for upcoming drama The Stanford Prison Experiment.

Set in 1971, the film dramatises Stanford University's controversial psychological experiment that cast college students as prison guards and inmates pitted against each other in a mock jail. Billy Crudup stars as psychologist Philip Zimbardo, whose book 'The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil' inspired the film.

The clip promises a highly tense film full of violence and emotional trauma. Olivia Thirlby, Ezra Miller, Michael Angarano, Jesse Carere, Keir Gilchrist and Thomas Mann also star.

It begins with students being asked whether they'd prefer to be a prisoner or a guard. One student when asked why he'd choose to be a prisoner says: "Nobody likes guards."

The students who have been selected as guards are told: "Under no circumstances are you to physically assualt the prisoners in any way."

Then the violence begins, and the researchers continue with the experiment.

Kyle Patrick Alvarez directed from a script by Tim Talbott based on Zimbardo's book. IFC Films acquired the film after it premiered at Sundance.

The Stanford Prison Experiment  opens in the United Sates on July 24, and hasn't yet been given an Australian release date.

Read more of the latest SBS movie news