Exam or The Apprentice: The Movie

This 2009 thriller sees eight candidates take an unconventional exam for a mysterious corporate job, but each begins to unravel as the stakes continue to rise.


The back of the DVD box for Exam boasts this quote from Sky Movies: “The Usual Suspects meets Saw.” This is misleading, as Exam is not like either of those films, either in content or quality. It’s actually like an episode of The Apprentice. Distractingly so. To the point that you expect Lord Sugar to walk in at the end and fire one of them. This would actually be a more satisfying conclusion; in a puzzle movie such as this, the answer needs to be much smarter than the one we’re given.

Despite the disappointing pay-off however, Exam is quite a neat low-budget thriller, its single room setting making it feel focused and contained. It’s written, directed and produced by Stuart Hazeldine, who paces the piece well and throws in enough plot twists to keep it interesting. It works as a sub-American Psycho satire of corporatism and actually has some thought behind it, making it superior to other recent low-budget horror offerings like Paranormal Activity and its numerous imitations.

It’s just a shame about the eery similarities to The Apprentice; a deliberately diverse group of unpleasant young business people compete for their dream corporate job by fucking each other over. Exam is basically just an episode of The Apprentice, albeit a particularly good one. Just look at this picture and you’ll see exactly what I mean.


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