The 'Stanford Prison Experiment' Looks Terrifying

If you've ever taken even one class on human behavior, chances are you're familiar with the Stanford Prison Experiment, Philip Zimbardo's infamous glimpse into into the psychological effects of being prisoners and guards back in 1971. The experiment, meant to analyze conflict between the two groups, asked 24 men to live in a mock prison for two weeks, and unsurprisingly, things didn't go as planned; the guards became violent, the prisoners felt helpless, and the entire plan was cut short after only six days. For decades, the experiment has influenced the study of psychology, and now, its events are being made into a movie; the first trailer for The Stanford Prison Experiment was released on Saturday, and man, is it intense.

In the clip for the film, directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez, all the most memorable aspects of the experiment are shown in vivid, creepy detail: the men being chosen for the roles that would define their stay; the warning to the guards not to "physically assault" the prisoners that would go unheeded; the fateful decision of the supervisors not to step in, despite the horrifying behavior they were witnessing. Says one terrified prisoner, "This is all real. They won't let you go. They won't let us leave."

It's a truly scary clip, especially when one remembers that it's all non-fiction; the events may seem so horrible as to be fiction, but unfortunately, the Stanford Prison Experiment was very, very real. Check out the trailer below:

The only bright side to a movie this dark? The incredible cast it features. Stanford's ensemble is full of actors who are some of the best of their generation: Ezra Miller, Tye Sheridan, Miles Heizer, and Olivia Thirlby, among others, and they're all taking on some truly great roles. Here's the rundown on who's playing who:

Ezra Miller


The Perks of Being a Wallflower star plays Daniel Culp, the prisoner who gave the spooky "this is all real" line.

Miles Heizer

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Best known as Drew from Parenthood, Heizer has a role as a prison guard, and rocks some great '70s hair.

Tye Sheridan


The Mud star is Peter Mitchell, a prisoner who, like the others, undergoes some major humiliation during his time in the experiment.

Billy Crudup


Crudup stars as the famous Philip Zimbardo, the doctor who led the experiment.

Olivia Thirlby


Thirlby, most memorable for her role in Juno, plays Christina, Philip's wife.

Thomas Mann


The breakout star of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl has a role as a prisoner, and it's bound to make him an even bigger star.

Gaius Charles

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Everyone's favorite FNL football player is Banks, one of the supervisors of the project.

With a cast that good and a plot that creepy, there's no doubt about it: The Stanford Prison Experiment is a must-see movie. Check it out when it's released on July 17.

Images: IFC Films; Getty Images (7)