Click here to return to the main site.

The experiment was not a success for all - Letter

Dear Sci-fi-online,

You were WAY off. Either the dialogue/script was ridiculous, or it was the acting. The lines given to the actors were stilted, unrealistic and ham-handed ("I grow bored of this waiting!"), but if they were given to actors with talent, they might have been delivered in a believable fashion. The cinematography might have worked if it was intentional and employed with imagination.  If you were referring to the themes/ideas exposed in the movie, you'll find they were treated with more subtlety as well as with more exposition and depth in several other movies, British and otherwise, in classics as well as contemporaries. Your blurb on the back of the DVD box for Experiment, " of the best British sci-fi movies to be released...ever!" hooked me into renting it. After watching it, it made me consider the quality of other British sci-fi movies. I mean, if this is what you consider to be "one of the best ever", what must its competition be like?

The truth: there is very little competition. Some classics have come from Britain, that's for sure. Village of the Damned, Day of the Triffids. These have been revamped, and the ideas have spawned a thousand other films. But I'd rather watch one of those again, rather than subject myself to another viewing of Experiment. Experiment offered nothing new, and it could have redeemed itself by being interesting, but it didn't.

I know it's all opinion, but you're part of Sci Fi Online, and with a site like that one expects knowledgeable reviews.  But where on that site can I find a single reference to Ender's Game or the rest of that series, or anything by Frank Herbert and not just his Dune novels, but Destination: Void and Whipping Star and the Pandora series, and Douglas Adams, Heinlein, or even L. Ron Hubbard. What about Bujold's Miles Saga? Or Ursula K. LeGuins' The Dispossessed and The Left Hand of Darkness? Ayn Rand's Anthem? Let's not forget Asimov and Clarke. What about the current masters: Alistair Reynolds and Stephen Baxter? Ray Bradbury. Come on. Jack McDevitt? Joe Haldeman? C. J. Cherryh?

I love sci-fi, and I gladly ignore the fantasy reviews on the site because there is much of that genre that I enjoy as well, but now I suspect that your positive review was engendered in return for a mention on the back of the DVD box for a movie that wasn't worth the time it took to read about it.

Brain-washed assassins?  You may have heard of The Manchurian Candidate. Brain-washed lovers? Did you see Dark City?

[Back to the movie]

And for the love of Jebus, the guy manning the comps at the subway HQ gets suspicious when his hard drive light is flashing and thus leads him to the antenna-adorned USB key drive?


He's supposedly watching real-time graphical displays of incoming data, but the HD activity light flashing is suspicious? Either the director and those involved are ignorant about such things, or the budget didn't allow for an alternate indicator, yet they had time for someone to mock-up a file-system for the "experiment". When you force unrealistic actions onto your characters, the connection with the audience disappears.

We did a laugh a few times during the movie. That alone would recommend a flick, if the director intended it. It would recommend the movie even if he didn't intend the laughs, but since there were only a couple of humorous moments, the recommendation becomes a warning.

Well, thanks for your time,

Jason Paschal


Editor replies:

Experiment has won some impressive awards including: Winner Best Sci-Fi Feature / Shriekfest Film Festival 2005, Winner Best Sci-Fi Feature / Shockerfest Film Festival 2005, Winner Best Sci-Fi Feature / Winnipeg International Film Festival 2005.

A few other reviews that also thought Experiment was worth watching:

Sci-Fi UK - "A Hitchcockian type suspense film (with a sprinkling of sci-fi) for the 21st century. Brilliant." - "...ultimately it’s the twists and turns that make it a good ride. Experiment approaches cheesy but veers away and turns into a taught science fiction thriller." - "If you're looking for an alternative to the same-old, same-old Hollywood product, make Experiment your next experiment. This experiment is a success." - "Several notches about the average indie thriller, Experiment may not be your typical Slasherama-style bloodbath, but has a dark intensity which you'll want to check out."