Spiderhead is a 2022 Netflix film about a rogue doctor who experiments on misled subjects. It stars Chris Hemsworth, who plays Steve Abnesti. Doctor Steve Abnesti runs the Spiderhead Correctional Center and Research facility. One of the inmates, Jeff, played by Miles Teller, is horrified by one of the drugs Abnesti uses and will do anything to stop him from experimenting with it on his newfound love Lizzy, played by Jurnee Smollett. Spiderhead is directed by Joseph Kosinski and is based on George Saunders’ “Escape from Spiderhead”.
The Spiderhead facility is a state-of-the-art prison and research center. The subjects are prisoners who have consented to be part of the research program and even have to “Acknowledge” each time they’re to be induced with the mind-altering drugs being researched. The inmates live quite well in Spiderhead and are afforded certain privileges that are not the nature of prisons. Even so, the privileges afforded to the inmates could never measure up to the liberties that Dr. Abnesti is taking.
Jeff on Luvactin
Dr. Abnesti experiments on Jeff and his fellow subject, Heather, played by Tess Haubrich, with a new love-inducing drug he calls ‘luvactin’. It is supposed to make one fall for another and is a literal love drug. Jeff and Heather are dosed with luvactin and they get uncomfortable with their seats, opting for each other’s arms. Luvactin is working but Abnesti wants to know if it has a long-lasting effect. To find out, he experiments on an older inmate, Sara.
When Jeff and Heather get raunchy after their first encounter with luvactin, and Jeff and Sara do the same, Mr. Abnesti asks Jeff to choose one of the two women to be induced with ‘darkenfloxx’. Darkenfloxx is Jeff’s worst nightmare. He refuses to bite and will not darkenfloxx any of the two ladies.
Jeff and Lizzy, a new prisoner at the facility, get to talking and vibe. They enjoy each other’s company and after the raunch with Heather, Jeff feels bad. He opts to spend some time away from Lizzy while, on the other hand, Lizzy’s reason for her imprisonment weighs heavily on her. She knows that Jeff will not trust her or like her anymore when he finds out. Or will he? She is terrified and wants to keep it a secret. Jeff also hasn’t been fully forthcoming on what happened and led him to prison.
Mr. Abnesti’s assistant, Mark Verlaine, played by Mark Paguio, isn’t fully on board with what Dr. Abnesti is doing to his subjects. They force Jeff to darkenfloxx Heather and it ends catastrophically. Heather kills herself from the torture of darkenfloxx. Mark is appalled and is slowly tearing away from Dr. Abnesti.
Jeff has been suspecting something is up. He takes his chance to open Abnesti’s drawer and finds a bombshell. Abnesti isn’t part of this government-led push to research and experiment on prisoners. He’s been working for his company, Abnesti Pharmaceuticals this whole time. Jeff is shocked but acts a fool. When Abnesti tells him to darkenfloxx Lizzy, he and Mark turn him into the puppet and not the puppeteer for once. Jeff then finds out what is really going on. In the end, Lizzy and Jeff escape while Abnesti hugs a mountain on his way to escape from the approaching police.
An overall satisfactory movie, Spiderhead is most impressive in the portrayals by Chris Hemsworth, Miles Teller, and Jurnee Smollett. The movie is a little tense, sometimes mad, but overall a good enough watch. We give it a 6.5/10 and hope Abnesti goes to hell. Enjoy or don’t… We are not sure you will. :8