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Spider (2002)


Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 130
Fresh: 111
Rotten: 19

Critics Consensus: Ralph Fiennes is brilliant in this accomplished and haunting David Cronenberg film.

Average Rating: 7.7/10
Reviews Counted: 36
Fresh: 32
Rotten: 4

Critics Consensus: Ralph Fiennes is brilliant in this accomplished and haunting David Cronenberg film.


Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 20,576


Movie Info

Spider is set in the East End London in the 1960s and '80's. A deeply disturbed boy, Spider, 'sees' his father brutally murder his mother and replace her with a prostitute, Yvonne. Convinced they plan to murder him next, Spider hatches an insane plan, which he carries through to tragic effect. Years later, Spider is released into a halfway house, where he receives little care or attention from the landlady Mrs. Wilkinson. Unsupervised, Spider stops taking his medication and starts revisiting his … More

R (for sexuality, brief violence and language)
Drama , Art House & International , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
Patrick McGrath
In Theaters:
Jul 29, 2003
Box Office:
Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Spider

All Critics (146) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (111) | Rotten (19) | DVD (22)

This is one of the director's most accomplished films.

Full Review… | April 26, 2003
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

It's a pleasure to watch such an understated treatment of potentially sensational subject matter.

Full Review… | April 24, 2003
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

Although languid to a fault, Spider offers some payoff for those with enough patience to stick it out.

April 11, 2003
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

Definitely a trip into unexplored territory.

April 10, 2003
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Spider isn't nearly as disturbing as it is intriguing, despite its subject matter.

April 4, 2003
Detroit News
Top Critic

Claustrophobic and profoundly creepy, Spider isn't a pleasant viewing experience, and that's the point.

Full Review… | March 28, 2003
Miami Herald
Top Critic

Spider deserves much more than it'll probably get, it's a fine and enjoyable film from a cinematic master.

Full Review… | June 21, 2007
Film Scouts

... the film's slow, toilsome journey does not lead to any particularly shocking or interesting revelations.

January 15, 2005
Looking Closer

What Cronenberg achieves ultimately in his latest mind bender is the full-scale distraction of his audience.

Full Review… | December 6, 2004

Cronenberg pieces together a compelling portrait of madness, but one which lacks the poignancy to be a rich, moving character study.

Full Review… | September 30, 2004

Fails to connect with its audience and concludes in a contradictory and jumbled fashion.

Full Review… | August 13, 2004

Cronenberg remains remarkably faithful to McGrath's vision. His success lies in his willingness to give himself over to the effect and atmosphere of the novel.

Full Review… | April 21, 2004

This sorta over-ripe Freudianism is, like, so-o-o-o yesterday.

Full Review… | January 28, 2004

Ainda que o filme (refletindo o estado mental de seu protagonista) impeça um maior envolvimento do espectador, é impossível deixar de admirar a bela estrutura da narrativa e a ótima atuação de Miranda Richardson.

September 26, 2003
Cinema em Cena

It isn't a film; it's a nightmare.

Full Review… | August 6, 2003
Mark Reviews Movies

It may be Cronenberg's most depressingly bleak film, yet it is essential viewing for all admirers of the director.

Full Review… | June 1, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

An unforgettable masterpiece.

Full Review… | May 15, 2003
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Beginning with the Rorschach-like images of the opening credits, Cronenberg invites us to intuit our own meanings from his weblike design...

May 9, 2003
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

A bleak, beautifully crafted, intelligent tale of paranoia - a typical subject for Cronenberg. It's a pity most audiences will, ironically, go mad trying to decipher it.

Full Review… | May 9, 2003
Sunday Times (Australia)

A product of inestimable patience, the elegant and controlled Spider requires and rewards the same. It is a story of re-entry, following the downward fluttering trajectory of an ordinary, pitiable monster ...

Full Review… | May 5, 2003
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

a deeply moving portrait of the fragility of human sanity, leaving us with open-ended questions about the nature of truth and the unreliability of our own memories

Full Review… | May 4, 2003
Q Network Film Desk

Even with a marvelous cast that includes Miranda Richardson, Gabriel Byrne and Lynn Redgrave, it's tough to identify with the characters.

May 2, 2003

It's not a film for every taste, but if you're intrigued by the weblike puzzles that emerge from the darker corners of the mind, Spider fascinates.

May 1, 2003
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

There are two groups of people who are bound to be pleased by Spider -- those who have read the source material and those who have been waiting for David Cronenberg to make a substantive film again.

Full Review… | April 25, 2003
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

As Fiennes -- in a performance of well-modulated madness -- rattles around his memories, the movie reveals the layers of Cleg's comforting self-delusion and shattering self-discovery.

Full Review… | April 25, 2003
Salt Lake Tribune

Audience Reviews for Spider

I can Sum This one up in 3 Letters WTF, A complete wasted of my time, I would have rather stick needles in my eyes. 1/2 star 9-10-13

Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Im in the middle of watcing it right now, and while it is interesting it is slow and RALPH FIENNES! :( I love your vioce and you murmer throughout the whole movie, I mean I understand its his charcter but it is unfortunate. Still his performance as always is great. I curious as to how this movie will end.

Morgan Salem

Super Reviewer


I love Spider's bleakness, I love it's simplicity. It's never in your face which highlights certain important scenes brilliantly and more importantly, disturbs more convincingly. The performances were very good, Byrne in particular does a great job. Its not a typical Cronenberg film, it's not his usual style and you'd be forgiven for not realising it was his work. It is however, as beautiful as his other work, as suspenseful and as well edited. It's quite a strange one though because, as you can see, on paper I really like it but in reality, I just couldn't get into it - a rarity then, where a masterful film just doesn't seem to entertain and It looks like I'm not the only one!

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer

Spider is an incredibly subdued and well-paced drama of psychological horror and detached self-examination. The interesting thing about Spider is the uncertainty of the entire picture. From the opening, it's clear that director David Cronenberg knows exactly the kind of movie he wants to make, and does so effectively. For all Cronenberg's steadiness, the audience has much less an idea what's going on than Spider Cleg does. Is Cleg insane at all?

Either way, Spider is an expressionist film and doesn't try to explain by labeling this or that as "paranoid schizophrenia" which detaches the viewer from the main character, but instead may have you relate to him and question how accurately you remember your childhood.

El Hombre Invisible

Super Reviewer

Spider Quotes

It is a loud world and this is an island, but an island ruled by a tyrant queen.
– Submitted by Frances H (8 months ago)

Discussion Forum

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