Entertainment Spiderhead Review | TechRadar

Spiderhead Review | TechRadar

The 1970s was the era of movie paranoia, as numerous studio thrillers – from The Conversation to Capricorn One, The Parallax View to Marathon Man – specialised in making audiences feel uneasy as they munched their popcorn. New Netflix movie Spiderhead has similar aspirations, but it’s a little too quirky and self-aware to truly keep you on the edge of your seat.

In many ways it’s a throwback, a reminder of what sci-fi movies looked like before Star Wars turned effects-laden blockbusters into the gold standard. The cast is small, the action is minimal and the story is entirely driven by its dialogue – in fact, you wouldn’t need too many tweaks to make Spiderhead (based on George Saunders’ New Yorker short story ‘Escape from Spiderhead’) function as a serviceable stage play.

But beyond the retro themes, this is clearly a movie made in 2022, shot through a glossy Hollywood filter where the leads are all beautiful, and the bad guy is self-consciously, unconvincingly odd. Even when Spiderhead’s characters are baring their darkest secrets, you rarely buy that they’ve been anywhere near the real world.

Jurnee Smollett as Lizzy and Miles Teller as Jeff in Spiderhead.

(Image credit: Netflix © 2022)

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