Title – Spiderhead (2022)
Director – Joseph Kosinski (Top Gun: Maverick)
Cast – Chris Hemsworth, Miles Teller, Jurnee Smollett
Plot – Set in the near future where prisoners like Jeff (Teller) are given the opportunity for a different type of incarceration in a medical research facility operated by the mysterious Steve Abnesti (Hemsworth) who is looking to understand and control the very essence of human nature.
“That Nobel prize ain’t gonna win itself!”
Review by Eddie on 21/06/2022
Directed by the man responsible for gifting the world everyone’s new favourite sequel Top Gun: Maverick and starring an evil Thor and Goose’s own son Rooster, you’d have been right in thinking Netflix’s latest high profile release (despite it receiving very little in the way of pre-release hype/fanfare from the streaming behemoth) was a surefire hit but while in some alternate universe Spiderhead is perhaps an indisputable winner, as it stands here and now, this thinking person’s sci-fi/thriller is yet another Netflix original that fails to takeoff.
Based on The New Yorker short story written by George Saunders, director Joseph Kosinski enlisted the help of Deadpool and Zombieland writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese to bring the tale of Chris Hemsworth’s charismatic but shady researcher Steve Abnesti doing medical trials on incarcerated subjects that includes Miles Teller’s Jeff to life but while everything has a professional sheen and style to it, with the bonus of an against type Hemsworth delivering one of his more unique turns, Spiderhead is a cold affair that feels permanently stuck in first gear as it limps rather than runs towards its endgame.
Initial intrigue in what exactly is happening with Abnesti’s trials and what his motivations are in testing the very ability to control human nature quickly give way to a rather bland and repetitive scenario that sees the films characters and us the audience held hostage to what feels like a room of glassed emotions and despite the best attempts of Hemsworth and Teller to bring something to the table, their best laid plans are only able to take Spiderhead so far as Kosinski delivers his most forgettable and bland feature yet.
Renowned for his visual accomplishments from the likes of Tron: Legacy and Oblivion, showing dramatic skill with the underappreciated Only the Brave and knocking expectations out of the park with the previously mentioned Top Gun: Maverick, Kosinski has proven to be a director that can handle himself in a raft of situations but his unable too do much good with Spiderhead as his film goes through the motions that never strike the right emotional chord or depth that would’ve made this potentially ripe story one that grips viewers while working their brain matter at the same time.
Far from the worst Netflix has dished up when it comes to original feature length properties Spiderhead is still unquestionably one of the most disappointing when you look at all the components involved and while always watchable, there’s an inescapable feeling that this big budget genre mash-up is one of 2022’s bigger missed opportunities.
Final Say –
All things considered Spiderhead fails to live up to its potential. Despite some interesting ideas and two committed leads, this latest Netflix outing is unable to become the break out hit the streamer would be desperately seeking.
2 1/2 arcade games out of 5