The Chaos Experiment

The Chaos Experiment (previously known as The Steam Experiment) is a 2009 independent suspense thriller directed by Philippe Martinez and starring Val Kilmer, Armand Assante, and Eric Roberts.

The Chaos Experiment
Poster of the movie The Steam Experiment .jpg
Directed byPhilippe Martinez
Produced byLuc Campeau
Philippe Martinez
Written byRobert Malkani
StarringVal Kilmer
Armand Assante
Eric Roberts
Patrick Muldoon
Release date
  • May 2009 (2009-05)


A deranged man calling himself James Pettis (Val Kilmer) approaches The Grand Rapids Press demanding that it publish his predictions about the upcoming demise of civilization due to the conditions of global warming, warning that he has trapped a group of six people in a Turkish-style steamroom to demonstrate the effects of this environment on humans.[1] A local police detective Mancini (Armand Assante) tries to get Pettis to reveal information that will help him confirm the truth of his threat and to rescue the hostages, but over the course of the interrogation begins to suspect that either Pettis' story is a delusional hoax, or that the steamroom killing has already taken place.

As Pettis describes developments in the streamroom to Mancini, the scene is shown of three men and three women meeting in the steamroom of a luxury hotel as part of an online dating promotion, then being locked in together. When they discover that they have been locked in, they react badly: Frank (Quinn Duffy) becomes abusive to Jessie (Eve Mauro), and is killed in her defense by openly neurotic Margaret (Cordelia Reynolds). Jessie is killed with a nail gun by an unseen assailant when she pokes her head through the small window in the steamroom door; Christopher (Patrick Muldoon) is injured in the hand with a nail as the window is boarded over from outside. Margaret becomes agitated and commits suicide. Grant (Eric Roberts) is bludgeoned by Catherine (Megan Brown) after he accuses her and Christopher of being allies of the perpetrators and repeatedly holds her head underwater.

Mancini's call to Pettis' psychiatrist finally brings staff from the local state psychiatric hospital, from which Pettis recently escaped. It is revealed that Christopher and Catherine are staff at this facility, and are unhappy with Pettis for going to the news media and police with this story.



Taking advantage of economic incentives for filming in Michigan, the script was revised to set the story in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Filming took place over four weeks in September 2008, including scenes at the offices of The Grand Rapids Press, the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, the Grand Rapids Public Museum, and other downtown locations.[2] The budget for the film was $7 million.[3] The shots of skyscrapers are of the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland.


The film had a limited theatrical release, playing to small audiences on two screens for one week in Grand Rapids, and for one week in nearby Lansing.[4]


  1. ^ Gregg Goldstein (2008-09-10). "Val Kilmer among cast in 'Experiment'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on September 13, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-29.
  2. ^ The Grand Rapids Press article about filming
  3. ^
  4. ^ Turnout meager for 'The Chaos Experiment,' a Hollywood film shot in Grand Rapids, The Grand Rapids Press

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