Is the Stanford Prison Experiment Movie Scary?

The Stanford Prison Experiment is a psychological study that was conducted in 1971 at Stanford University by Dr. Philip Zimbardo. The study aimed to investigate the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or a prison guard.

The experiment was so controversial that it has been adapted into a movie. But the question is, is the Stanford Prison Experiment movie scary? Let’s find out.

What is the Stanford Prison Experiment?

The Stanford Prison Experiment was designed to investigate how individuals behave when placed in positions of power and powerlessness. The experiment involved 24 healthy, college-aged male participants who were randomly assigned roles as prisoners or guards in a mock prison setting.

The experiment was meant to last for two weeks but had to be terminated after just six days due to the extreme behavior exhibited by both guards and prisoners. Guards became abusive towards prisoners, while prisoners began exhibiting signs of extreme stress and anxiety.

The Movie Adaptation

In 2015, a movie adaptation of the Stanford Prison Experiment was released, directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez. The movie closely follows the events of the experiment and has been praised for its accuracy.

The Horror Element

The movie adaptation of the Stanford Prison Experiment has been described as disturbing and unsettling due to its graphic depiction of abusive behavior towards prisoners by their guards. While the movie does not rely on jump scares or horror elements commonly found in scary movies, it can be considered scary due to its realistic portrayal of human behavior in extreme situations.

The Psychological Impact

The Stanford Prison Experiment movie can be emotionally impactful for some viewers due to its exploration of power dynamics and psychological manipulation. It raises questions about how easily people can become abusive when given authority over others.


While the Stanford Prison Experiment movie may not be traditionally classified as a scary movie, it can still be considered unsettling and disturbing due to its realistic portrayal of the events that occurred during the experiment. It raises important questions about human behavior and the effects of power dynamics.