In 1971, psychology professor Philip Zimbardo led an experiment at Stanford University meant to study potential psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or prison guard and the perceived relationship between the two. As you know, that experiment proved groundbreakingly controversial — eventually halted after just six days of emotional chaos and presumably Zimbardo-encouraged physical and mental abuses.

Though excerpts from the footage obtained during the experiment's six-day run are readily available with a quick googling, filmmaker Kyle Patrick Alvarez set out to give the terrifying tale of humans' behavioral shortcomings the proper cinematic treatment. The Stanford Prison Experiment, picked up by IFC Films after a well-received Sundance showing, is based on Zimbardo's 2007 book The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. In a stroke of casting genius, Zimbardo is portrayed by Billy Crudup (Almost Famous, Watchmen).

The Stanford Prison Experiment invades your senses on July 24 via traditional theaters and various VOD platforms.

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