Spiderhead, not that good, acknowledged

Jurnee Smollett in Spiderhead

Spiderhead is futuristic sci fi about drugs that let someone control your behavior. It’s set on an island in the middle of the ocean in a prison where prisoners can roam freely – because where could they go?

The prisoners in Spiderhead have agreed to be drug guinea pigs in exchange for lesser sentences. Steve Abnesti (Chris Hemsworth) is the mad scientist experimenting on these people. To receive the drug, prisoners must verbally say, “Acknowledge,” before each dose is administered to them.

The Spiderhead poster

I thought I’d watch the film because the title is interesting and it has Jurnee Smollett as Lizzy. If I’d bothered to look at the poster and take note of her relative size next to the men, I would have realized she wasn’t the main character. Alas, I did not do that.

Chris Hemsworth in Spiderhead

The main character (Hemsworth) has created drugs to make you happy, sad, horny, loving, and tortured. But his secret goal is to see if his drugs let him control you. Each prisoner has a drug pack attached to their spine. The dosage is controlled by Steve’s assistant (Mark Paguio) from a smart phone.

Miles Teller in Spiderhead

The other main character is a prisoner, Jeff (Miles Teller). Jeff really likes Lizzy. Lizzy likes Jeff. Steve manipulates them mercilessly for his evil purposes. Will they ever be able to think for themselves long enough to do something about it?

Chris Hemsworth does his best to be something besides cute and charming in this – he wears glasses and everything. Sometimes he manages to convince you he’s a heartless cad, but not often. Miles Teller as Jeff is stoic and reserved, cautious. Jurnee Smollett was underused.

Mostly I thought the film was a lost opportunity to say something important. It almost did, but then it didn’t. The film is streaming on Netflix. If you watched it, let me know what you thought of it.

Author: Virginia DeBolt

After many years as an educator and writer, Virginia retired from working life. She's always loved a good movie or TV show and wants to use her free time to talk about them with you now. #EldersRock! Look for Old Ain't Dead on Twitter.

2 thoughts on “Spiderhead, not that good, acknowledged”

  1. Thanks for the review! I was not sure whether to add this to my watchlist. I can’t wait till Happy Valley season 3 is released. I will make sure to read your posts when the time comes. You are one of the few bloggers whose opinion on TV shows I love!

    1. Thanks for the kind words. As for Spiderhead, it depends on how you feel about the actors. Some people you’ll just watch in anything. Like Sarah Lancashire, for instance.

Comments are appreciated!