Spiderhead: Movie Review
Spiderhead is an American science fiction thriller movie that was released on 17 June 2022. Directed by Joseph Kosinski, the film is based on George Saunders’ short story of dystopia named “Escape from Spiderhead”. The film stars Chris Hemsworth in the lead role along with Miles Teller and Jurnee Smollett. The movie is a Netflix original and was released globally on Netflix.
The movie first premiered at The Entertainment Quarter in Sydney on the 11th of June, 2022 before its worldwide Netflix release on 17 June 2022. The movie was mostly filmed on location in Queensland, Australia.
Spiderhead is Joseph Kosinski’s second release this month, the first one being the superhit Top Gun: Maverick with Tom Cruise in the lead role. However, both movies could not be farther apart. With Chris Hemsworth playing the protagonist Steve Abnesti, the movie is more like a science fiction thriller than an action thriller.
Steve Abnesti is the manager of the Spiderhead Penitentiary and Research Centre, a facility that tests drugs and chemicals on the prisoners. The lure for the prisoners is that they get to roam around freely, have better hospitality and living condition, and may have their sentence reduced.
The drugs that Steve and the facility tests on the inmates are usually emotion-altering. Some drugs induce the feeling of love, some give the individual fluent articulation and some give the person a dose of laughter.
The committee promises that these drugs and chemicals are being made for the betterment of humankind but things take a turn when Jeff, one of the prisoners witnessed the death of a fellow inmate on whom a drug was being tested. Jeff starts to doubt the intentions of Steve and if he really wants to save the people.
The Opening Scene
The film begins with Steve Abnesti giving one of the inmates a drug called Laffodil. Ray, the prisoner, begins to laugh at silly jokes after the drug starts working. Humorless and horrific things also make him laugh out loud. Through Laffodil, the audience is introduced to the world of crazy drugs and experimentation. Later on in the movie, drugs like Luvactin or the love drug and Verbaluce are also introduced. Choosing to start the movie with that particular drug was a good choice as it is used later in the movie with a bigger purpose.
Steve Abnesti is introduced as a hospitable and sympathetic manager of a prison and research facility but eventually, his true colors start to show. He is one of the typical supervillains with crazy endeavors and ideas that only make sense to them and are willing to risk all of humanity to reach their goal. Though we do not know his intentions from the beginning of the movie, there remains a sense of suspicion about him.
Jeff, the inmate has a dark past because of which he carries guilt and shame. He is in love with another inmate, Lizzy who also has a back story that is not told in detail. Lizzy could have had a great story of her own but the filmmakers only used her as a pawn. She acted as the motivation for Jeff to act for a better life outside prison.
Steve’s assistant Mark was another interesting character.
Mark had a good motive of helping humanity. Unbeknownst to him, the person he was working with had other plans. But Mark does not just go along with all the evil plans of Steve and chooses to do the right thing when the time comes.
Spiderhead had George Saunders’ original story as a solid base to build upon a movie but it did an average job of portraying the essence of the story in the film. The plot was interesting, the concept was praiseworthy though the ending was a bit disappointing considering the capability of the movie’s plot. The actors did a great job in making their characters come to life.
Spiderhead is currently streaming on Netflix.