Dark Netflix Sci-Fi Thriller Turns Marvel’s Best Hero Into A Villain

By Britta DeVore | Updated

  • Chris Hemsworth’s role in this dark thriller is a far cry from his time as everyone’s favorite Marvel hero.
  • Spiderhead sees Hemsworth’s Steve Abnesti perform disturbing experiments on his patients.
  • Despite the Marvel star’s compelling performance as a villain, critics weren’t impressed with Spiderhead.

2020 was a busy year in the life of Chris Hemsworth. Not only was he working alongside filmmaker and actor Taika Waititi on Thor: Love and Thunder, but he was also squeezing in days to film the Netflix thriller, Spiderhead, with director Joseph Kosinski.

Hemsworth’s roles in each film couldn’t have been more different than one another. In Love and Thunder, he reprised his role as the sarcastic and chatty God of Thunder, whereas in Spiderhead, he played a sinister scientist conducting experiments on prisoners.

The Cast

On paper, Spiderhead was a pretty big grab for the streamer. Not only did it star Chris Hemsworth, but it also featured leading performances from Miles Teller (Top Gun: Maverick) and Jurnee Smollett (Lovecraft Country). It also marked a reunion between Teller and its helmer, Joseph Kosinski, as the pair welcomed another blockbuster success in the summer of 2022 when Top Gun: Maverick soared into theaters, resurrecting the box office following its COVID slump.

Dark Experiments

chris hemsworth

Based on George Saunders’s short story, “Escape from Spiderhead,” which was first published in The New Yorker, the film centers around prisoners at a top-secret penitentiary located on an island in the middle of nowhere.

While it may seem like a gorgeous place to fill out your sentence, the horrors and crimes against humanity that carried on inside the walls are truly the stuff of nightmares. Chris Hemsworth’s doctor, Steve Abnesti, carried out experiments on the inmates, using mind-altering drugs to put them into traumatic situations – all in the name of healing. 

Chris Hemsworth Portrayed A Hero And A Villain At The Same Time

Turning to one of the most beautiful places in the world to act as the filming location for Spiderhead, the production team picked up their cameras and started filming in Queensland, Australia. You can see these recognizable spots all over the country, from the Gold Coast to Darlington and even Whitsundays – a spot known for drawing in tourists from all over the world.

This also helped Chris Hemsworth pull off a leading role in two projects at the same time as Thor: Love and Thunder was set up in Sydney, Australia, allowing him to travel from one set to the other much easier than if they were in separate countries.

Spiderhead Failed To Impress Critics

Despite what, by all appearances, should have been a critical success, Spiderhead met mixed reviews upon its arrival on Netflix in June 2022. By all means, the movie tried to nab the attention of Chris Hemsworth, Miles Teller, and Joseph Kosinski’s already-set audience, but it didn’t quite manage to hold its head above water. While it was a bummer for everyone involved, the summer wouldn’t be a complete washout as Hemsworth found success with Love and Thunder, and Teller and Kosinski broke records with Top Gun: Maverick.

Decide For Yourself, Stream Spiderhead On Netflix

For fans of either of the film’s leading men or its director, giving Spiderhead a shot on Netflix is still worth the time – especially if you’re a fan of mind-bending sci-fi films that keep you on your toes. It’s also exciting to see Chris Hemsworth in a villainous role as we’ve become so accustomed to seeing him joining the rest of the Avengers in Marvel films and playing the good guy in other flicks like the Extraction franchise and Men in Black: International. You can find Spiderhead now streaming on the platform alongside Netflix’s vast collection of sci-fi fare.