‘Spiderhead‘ is a Netflix sci-fi thriller directed by Joseph Kosinski and co-produced by Chris Hemsworth. The film was based on a George Saunders short story with the screenplay being written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. They had the world premiere in Sydney, Australia.
Jeff (Miles Teller) is incarcerated at an island prison called Spiderhead where the inmates all do experiments with various pharmaceuticals. Steve Abnesti (Chris Hemsworth) is the warden and head researcher who conducts these experiments from a soundstage where he can look into a room. Mark (Mark Paguio) is his research assistant who handles the upkeep of the equipment. The drugs are inserted through an attachment on their back. Jeff grows closer to his fellow inmate Lizzy (Jurnee Smollett) with both acknowledging they have baggage. However, Steven continually ups the experiments blaming the “board” for the problem, but Jeff begins to wonder if something else is going on.
I have not read the short story, “Escape From Spiderhead,” so I will only be reviewing it as a movie.
The cast is fantastic. Hemsworth, Teller, Paguio, and Smollett all do their absolute best. I appreciated it even more learning that Hemsworth co-produced. I know he has been trying to do other projects outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and this definitely gave him a chance to play a different role.
As for the plot, it was nothing that original. I mean, we have all seen the “there is something very wrong with this prison” film. That being said, I did not think it was bad and it was executed fine. They made sure to let you know that the main character is not some killer we are supposed to sympathize with, but someone who made a mistake and wants to punish himself for it.
When it comes to the genre, being a thriller, it was decent. It had plenty of tension, shocking moments, twists, and turns. It was not the greatest ever, but it kept my attention enough. I did think it had some bloated themes, touching on prison reform and pharmaceutical abuse. The filmmakers tried too hard to make a web out of it and you could tell it was stuffed. It did not derail the movie by any measure, but it was something you noticed.
Bottom line, Spiderhead is a decent thriller with some excellent performances from the cast. It did have some conflicting themes and an unoriginal plot, but still an enjoyable film.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Sexual content, Strong foul language, Violence, Gore
FAVORITE QUOTE: The time to worry about crossing lines was… a lot of lines ago.
Check out the trailer below:
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