IFC Midnight and Magnet have been releasing quality films in recent years, a sign that you don’t always need wait for the next big Hollywood horror film to find a decent watch (horror use to be big in Hollywood, don’t be hatin’). IFC Midnight has brought us some great flicks like Super, Dead Snow, and to some degree, The Human Centipede (though many of you probably could debate that). When I heard that Spiderhole was going to be released by IFC, I became anxious with nerd glee hoping to see the next best thing in the horror world. Unfortunately, even with reserved expectations, I was disappointed by what Spiderhole had to offer. Though it has some clever ideas, Spiderhole is rather aimless providing you with entertainment only at its most basic level.
Spiderhole tells the tale of four students who, for an undisclosed amount of time, will be squatting in an abandoned house to claim their independence and assert their rebellious nature. After failing to get into the house they originally picked out, the foursome continue searching for an adequate, broken down home. As the night begins to claim their eyes, they spot a proper place in which to say, “Fuck you” to the establishment. They set up camp, turn on the water, and proceed to drink alcohol. When they come to their senses in the morning, much to their chagrin, the doors have been lock and bolted from the inside. The group runs around the rest of the accessible parts of the house in search of a kidnapper or an exit, it soon sets in that they cannot escape. Their phones are gone and it seems that they may have been drugged in the middle of the night. After much quivering, a sleeping gas fills the house and one of the students is taken, but to where?
This was a rather frustrating watch for me, I mean I wanted to like it and I wanted Spiderhole to be a rather different movie to be put on the market. It is a bit different but it didn’t please me enough to get excited about it or to force my friends to pre-order it. There is a genuine sense of tension and suspense that is built up as the movie progresses and it kept me hooked even when things were going alright for our protagonists but that tension is broken at times. The main problem would lie with the direction of Daniel Simpson (the director…in case…you…whatever), he likes to leave the viewer with clues now and then as to what is going to happen or what has happened to other characters but sometimes in-between that, he loses you with purposeless wanderings and aimless dialogue. It would be like nodding off, where you lose interest and then sometime snaps you back. At a run time of a little over 80 minutes, it was a shame that the director could not make it concise. Instead of fleshing out the characters, he chose to focus of them banging on the walls and crying. Either add more depth to the existing film or cut out the pointless nonsense and replace it with meaningful material.
I may sound a little harsh, I don’t mean to be. I actually enjoyed a good amount of it and I never felt like turning it off. I mostly felt a sense of sadness that Simpson was unable to concentrate on what was important to the story. The ending is pretty good and effectively creepy as well, though I wish they didn’t try to explain the killer (not a spoiler) in the contrived manner that they present you with. I wanted to know the characters better and I wanted to get to like them but the 80 minute runtime allowed for a fast pace and not enough details.
So maybe my biggest issue is that it didn’t have enough meat on its bones, it performs but it doesn’t exceed. I recommend a viewing of it at some point in your adult-horror-life but don’t expect much. The killer is great (until they try to explain him) and that claustrophobic notion of being stuck in a house works pretty well in Spiderhole. The building tension and suspense is genuine when applied correctly but it fumbles more than it catches.
5 out of 10