By Paul Anthony
Short stories can be so hard to turn into movies, how can you take something that takes just a few minutes to read into a movie that is nearly one hour 47 minutes long? Sure, stuff has to be added to fill the gaps, but does that make for a good movie? Todau we are reviewing the film Spiderhead that was released on Netflix on June 17th which stars Chris Hemsworth, Miles Teller and Jurnee Smollett. The film was based on the short story written by George Saunders, which was released in 2010 in The New Yorker. Now going into this film, I never heard of these short stories, so it took me a moment to follow along to the point of the story. Now I know Netflix’s movies can be a hit or miss at times and both Chris and Miles are having a good year with Top Gun 2 and Thor: Love and Thunder. Let’s look in the plot like always first.
At first, I missed what Spiderhead actually was but quickly learned that it is a prison but a prison like no other. Here the prisoner’s roam the building freely and are here to help reducing their sentence. Now being here which was voluntary, they must take drugs that alter their emotions and their perception of their surroundings. The prison is controlled and ran by Steve Abnesti (Hemsworth) who seems like a very nice funny guy who is very understanding. Then we meet an inmate Jeff (Teller) who pretty much says yes to every drug hoping to make a difference from him drinking and driving and killing his best friend. Though we learn later that his best friend’s girlfriend was also in the car and sadly died as well. The first drug we see Jeff use is a love drug that makes him fall for another inmate though he doesn’t like her until the drug takes affect and they both have sex with each other, However Jeff has his eyes set on Lizzy another inmate at the prison which is played by Smollett. Lizzy claims that she is in there for armed robbery. Things start to turn for Jeff when Steve informs him the higher ups want him to pick between Lizzy and Heather to see who Gets the next drug which is called Darkenfloxx which Jeff doesn’t pick but it ends up being Heather and once the drug kicks in she sadly commits suicide and to jeff horror Steve blows it off as a failed experiment. Jeff starts digging around finds out the truth and that Steve has no higher-ups, it’s his company all long and a fight breaks out between them Steve reveals Lizzy’s true crime and that is she accidentally killed her nine-month-old child who she tells Jeff the whole truth, Steve also reveals that both Jeff and Lizzy have been free. Steve reveals also that his parents abandon him and hence why he’s inventing drugs for humans to do what they are told so crimes can go down. Soon the cops arrive to shut the place down, but Steve tries to escape but dies when he flies into a mountain and Jeff and Lizzy leave on the boat.
Okay let’s talk about the character development, I get it Jeff didn’t mean to commit his crime, but we don’t see enough of his back story to see what kind of person he truly was. Lizzy was the same thing; this was big thing to show us to feel sorry for her, but they didn’t do that. Sure, they made her feel sorrow and regret but not enough to feel sorry for her and want her to be a free person. Steve’s story could have been shown as well though, I did enjoy the idea of him being friendly despite his back story. Steve’s charm and Jeff’s reaction provides the laughs though I would have like it more if this was darker film because of the subjects that were in the film. The length was just fine, so was the pace. In the end I am giving this film a B or 80 percent. Though it was above average they could have done more.