Netflix’s Spiderhead makes its dystopic sci-fi vision seem playful
The brutalist Spiderhead Penitentiary and Research Center.Image: NetflixHolding everything together is Hemsworth, who you’ll absolutely want to punch in the face while watching this. He exudes tech bro privilege and optimism, masking his nightmare experim

The brutalist Spiderhead Penitentiary and Research Center. Image: Netflix

Holding everything together is Hemsworth, who you’ll absolutely want to punch in the face while watching this. He exudes tech bro privilege and optimism, masking his nightmare experiments under the guise of saving the world (from what, though, we’re never told). All the while, he berates his poor assistant and constantly makes the inmates feel like they should express gratitude for all he’s done for them. At one point, he jokes about how much he’s benefitted from looking so beautiful.

Spiderhead is a steady ramp-up of dread, moving from the laughing drug to some truly terrible “accidents.” It also does a great job at hiding its true intentions — when Jeff finally puts the pieces together and understands what the experiments are for, it’s an incredibly satisfying twist. Unfortunately, from that point, the film doesn’t quite know what to do with itself. There are some action sequences and chases at the end, but they all go largely nowhere. Spiderhead raises lots of fascinating (and depressingly relevant) questions but doesn’t really have much interest in answering them.

But up until that final act, Spiderhead works surprisingly well, like an episode of Black Mirror that has an actual sense of humor. It’s a story that shows how far you can get based on charm and the illusion of good intentions — and when you’re Chris Hemsworth, it’s pretty far indeed.

Spiderhead is streaming on Netflix on June 17th.

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