Based on The New Yorker short story, “Escape From Spiderhead,” by George Saunders, Spiderhead stars Chris Hemsworth and Miles Teller.
Hemsworth plays Steve Abnesti a brilliant visionary and pharmaceutical genius who runs a state-of-the-art penitentiary, known as Spiderhead.
There are no bars, no cells, or orange jumpsuits for the criminals who have volunteered to be there.
Instead, inmates wear a surgically attached device that administers dosages of mind-altering drugs in exchange for commuted sentences.
Need to lighten up? There’s a drug for that. At a loss for words? There’s a drug for that, too. And it's all controlled by Abnesti.
The prisoners essentially become medical subjects. And in one such subject they can control the amount of love you feel so that one moment you think you're in love, the next you feel nothing.
Ultimately at Spiderhead, they are trying on the frontier of pioneering emotion controlling drugs that can be used in the wider world. But some have dire consequences…
Then comes the twist. When two subjects, inmate Jeff (Miles Teller, War Dogs) and Lizzy (Jurnee Smollett), form a connection, their path to redemption takes a twistier turn, as Abnesti’s experiments start to push the limits of free will.
Is Spiderhead Worth Watching?
Spiderhead is an incredible genre-bending and darkly funny psychological thriller.
A Netflix Original, it is directed by Joseph Kosinski and written by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick, it is an incredible movie that has it all.
Chris Hemsworth is outstanding as Steve Abnesti who is charming and witty until he isn't.
Pushing boundaries and crossing lines, the dark streak that runs through both him and his experiments ramps up raising the tension of the movie with it.
And while Hemsworth really shines in Spiderhead, Milles Teller and Jurnee Smollett are also brilliant as two inmates who try to outmanoeuvre the experiments of the prison to save each other.
Spiderhead is a heady mix of sci-fi, psychological thriller, and dark off-beat comedy.
It does have some similarities with Maniac, which also dealt with the use of mind-altering drugs, but this film has just upped the ante.
Spiderhead Netflix Release Date
The original George Saunders New Yorker story that Spiderhead is based on was published in 2010.
The film adaptation was announced in February 2019 and in September 2020, Chris Hemsworth, Miles Teller and Jurnee Smollett joined the cast.
In April 2022, Netflix confirmed that Spiderhead would be released on June 17, 2022.
Where Was Spiderhead Filmed?
Like so many recent movies and tv shows, Netflix's Spiderhead was also made in Australia.
It seems that the Aussie government has been throwing money at the filming industry, luring productions away from Canada to boost the economy.
Locations for filming Spiderhead include the Gold Coast, Darlington, as well as the popular tourist destination the Whitsundays.
Screen Queensland named Hinze Dam and Tallebudgera Valley as places the production also shot on location.
What Did Rachel Do To End Up in Spiderhead?
In the short story, Escape from Spiderhead, the prisoners don't why each of them are at the facility.
However, Abnesti does share Rachel's file with Jeff in order to determine if it will change how he feels about her.
The story states that Rachel started off as a petty thief, before becoming a drug addict. That landed her in rehab many, many times.
But ultimately she is at Spiderhead because she committed a triple murder.
Change in the film: In the movie, ‘Rachel' is called Lizzy and her story is different, with the above crime ascribed to another character who doesn't really feature.
Cast Of Spiderhead
If you want to watch Spiderhead you won't be disappointed with the quality of the production, script, direction and most of all the cast.
Chris Hemsworth as Steve Abnesti
Miles Teller (Top Gun Maverick) as Jeff
Jurnee Smollett as Lizzy
Tess Haubrich as Heather
BeBe Bettencourt as Emma, Jeff's real world girlfriend
Mark Paguio as Mark, Abnesti's assistant
Sam Delich as Adam
Joey Vieira as Miguel
Daniel Reader as Ryan
Ron Smyck as Dave
Stephen Tongun as Ray
Charles Parnell as Knowles
Nathan Jones as Rogan