Spiderhead Movie Review: Mind Games Gone Wrong

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"Spiderhead" had all the makings to be a great film experience. Chris Hemsworth and Miles Teller sure sounded like a great pairing. Joseph Kosinski taking the helm in the director seat had us pumped up especially after the huge success of "Top Gun: Maverick" (of which he also directed). And an alluring sci-fi premise that was actually looked like it was different and refreshing. But the end product was closer to your run-of-the-mill Netflix release than the huge blockbuster that it could have been. This was as barebones as they could have made it. 

Spiderhead is a state-of-the-art penitentiary wherein prisoners are left to be free within its premises in exchange that they cooperate with experiments done to them. These experiments use drugs to alter the state of mind and emotion of those injected with it. Some of these drugs stimulate good senses while some cause bad and traumatic experiences. The program is overseen by Steve Abnesti (Chris Hemsworth) with his trusted assistant Mark (Mark Paguio) as they try to find a drug that can give its users a positive feeling of love. 

In many ways, we wished we could have gotten some of that N-40 drug to appreciate "Spiderhead" with only its positives and none of its negatives. But unfortunately, the film failed to stimulate the right emotions for us even with the charisma and suave acting performances from both Chris Hemsworth and Miles Teller, awesome set piece and cinematography, and its rather excellent and nostalgic soundtrack. Nothing could save this film simply because of its lackluster writing. The premise itself was interesting but the execution was simply appalling as the writers failed to give any background stories to its characters and the world they live in. For example, why is there a need for mind-altering drugs? Is it true that the world needs it or is this just Abnesti's invention? Where did Abnesti get all the money to build and maintain the Spiderhead facility and does he really have ties with penitentiaries? Sadly, the film failed to really build the groundwork that could have made us appreciate what it was trying to say in a more approachable and relatable manner. As-is, the film leaves audiences to fill up the huge holes in its character and narrative development which isn't really ideal for a sci-fi thriller. World-building should never take a back seat but here it heavily did. 

Rating: 2 reels

Why you should watch it:
- a barebones thriller with big-name stars to provide cheap thrills 

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the writing was simply lackluster
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