Spiderhead is a 2022 American science fiction thriller film directed by Joseph Kosinski, with a screenplay by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, based on the dystopian short story “Escape from Spiderhead” by George Saunders. The film stars Chris Hemsworth (who also produced), Miles Teller, and Jurnee Smollett. Principal photography took place in Australia in 2020.
Spiderhead premiered in Sydney on June 11, 2022, and was released on Netflix on June 17. The film received mixed reviews from critics.
Spiderhead | Chris Hemsworth | Official Trailer | Netflix
Cast Of Spiderhead
- Chris Hemsworth as Steve Abnesti
- Miles Teller as Jeff
- Jurnee Smollett as Lizzy
- Tess Haubrich as Heather
- BeBe Bettencourt as Emma
- Mark Paguio as Mark Verlaine
- Sam Delich as Adam
- Joey Vieira as Miguel
- Daniel Reader as Ryan
- Ron Smyck as Dave
- Stephen Tongun as Ray
- Nathan Jones as Rogan
Plot Of Spiderhead
Spiderhead is a state-of-the-art penitentiary experimenting with the effects of research chemicals. The test subjects, technically prisoners of the state, are volunteers for the project aiming to reduce their sentence time. The program is overseen by the sympathetic and hospitable Steve Abnesti (Hemsworth), along with his assistant, Mark (Paguio). The prisoners have their own rooms, do chores, and are free to roam without guard supervision. The subjects go through daily test runs of various drugs, all of which alter their emotions and their perceptions of their surroundings.
Inmate Jeff (Teller), still reeling from having killed his friend whilst drunk driving, is given N-40, a “love drug”, which distorts his senses and drives him to have sex with two of his fellow inmates. Steve asks him to choose which one of them to give Darkenfloxx, a drug that induces intense physical and psychological pain. He declines to choose, claiming he feels nothing in particular for either one of them after the effects of the love drug had worn off.
The next day, Steve tells him that the “higher-ups” have chosen for him and that the younger of the two women, Heather, must be injected with a dose, though it will only last 5 minutes. Jeff reluctantly agrees, and to his horror, Heather commits suicide while on the Darkenfloxx after she damages her MobiPak, the device that administers the drugs. As Steve rushes out of the projection room, he drops his keys. Jeff unlocks Steve’s desk compartment, discovering that there are no “higher-ups”: the prison is run by Abnesti Pharmaceuticals. The drugs were named from a bingo card.
Steve and Jeff get high together on a laughing drug, as Steve also has a MobiPak installed. Steve tells Jeff that his father abandoned him as a child. Jeff confesses to Lizzy, an inmate he is close with, that he not only killed his friend in the car accident but his girlfriend as well. Lizzy hugs him and they kiss. Steve notices Jeff’s feelings for Lizzy. Mark becomes doubtful of Steve’s motives, and he breaks down when Jeff confronts him.
When Steve asks Jeff to administer Darkenfloxx to Lizzy, Jeff takes control of Steve’s MobiPak, forcing him to admit the true goal of the program is to test a compliance drug, B-6. The other drugs are merely a side project, used to put B-6 to the ultimate test: whether they would harm their love when commanded to. All the while the inmates have been consenting to the various tests, they have really been under the influence of the obedience drug. With Mark and the police now approaching the island, Steve escapes on his floatplane, as Jeff and Lizzy attempt to outrun their fellow inmates who have been ordered to catch them. High off of his damaged MobiPak, Steve joyously crashes his floatplane into a mountain, as Jeff and Lizzy motorboat away from Spiderhead. In a voice-over, Jeff comments that self-forgiveness has to be worked on and chosen.
|Directed by||Joseph Kosinski|
|Based on||“Escape From Spiderhead”
by George Saunders
|Edited by||Stephen Mirrione|
|Music by||Joseph Trapanese|