Spiderhead Feels Like it Only Scratched the Surface.
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Writer: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick (Screenplay) George Saunders (Book)
Cast: Miles Teller, Chris Hemsworth, Charles Parnell, Jurnee Smollett, Tess Haubrich, Nathan Jones, Joey Vieira
Plot: In the near future, convicts are offered the chance to volunteer as medical subjects to shorten their sentence. One such subject for a new drug capable of generating feelings of love begins questioning the reality of his emotions.
Tagline – How Far Would You Go to Fix Human Nature?
Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Spiderhead starts by taking us to the remote island, where Steve Abnesti (Hemsworth) is running experiments. The experiments are on criminals who have agreed to this to shorten their sentence. Jeff (Teller) is one of these subjects, given the drugs that will change him emotional level.
As Jeff starts getting pushed by Steve to help out with the experiments. He starts to learn about the truth behind what Steve is hoping to uncover with the tests.
Thoughts on Spiderhead
Characters & Performances
Jeff is serving time for manslaughter; he is taking part in a project to shorten his sentence. Having the daily drugs, he will experience different reactions to each one. The ones he is taking, will send him to a place to see new things, create love in the world. He does know there is a darker side to what can be given. Leading him to want to get out of the world, risking his own freedom.
Steve Abnesti is conducting the experiments, the drugs he is using will have different effects on people. Offering the prisoners, a shorter sentence, mild freedom and even friendship. He will continue this experiment no matter how risky things start to get.
The supporting cast are mostly the other subjects. Lizzy is the one closest to Jeff, while the rest are placed through different experiments. None of the characters seem to get that much screen time towards the bigger picture.
The performances are strong. Miles Teller brings the man broken by what he has done. Showing the guilt his character always lives with. Chris Hemsworth as the confident side of his character is great to watch. It is when things get more serious, where he doesn’t get to look the best in the film.
The story follows a group of prisoners given a chance to shorten their sentence by being involved in a drug program. Showing how certain parts will create something more positive about life in. only for things to spiral out of control.
This story does feel like we could have dived a lot deeper into what was being done. It doesn’t seem to give us enough of an understand of how far along things have got. With only the final sequence looking to reveal most of the motives. There could have been a lot more in the means of darkness to what we saw. It ends up feeling like the start of a TV show, rather than a complete film.
Spiderhead is a thriller that will dive into experimentation on prisoners. It will create tense scenes as we see the difference reactions to the drugs administered. The location used is a remote island facility. One that would let more illegal stuff operate on, showing the rich getting away with anything.
Final Thoughts – Spiderhead is a solid thriller, only it needed that big impact with the subject material.