Review by Jude Felton
British horror has seen somewhat of a resurgence over the past few years. There was a time, not all that long ago, when a new horror flick from back across the pond was a rarity, with only the occasional one surfacing here and there. Now it seems that there is a steady stream of the macabre filtering out of the land I once called home, and many of them are well worth your time.
I have to admit that I was hoping that Spiderhole, from director Daniel Simpson, would continue this trend of good, solid British horror. Alas it is not to be, and I would like say say that is it is not down to a lack of trying. Sad to say I am not even sure I can say that.
The story of Spiderhole, which is still a great name for a movie, follows four well-off looking students who decide to find a house to Squat in, in order to save money. Squatting, for those that don’t know, is the fine art of taking up residency in an abandoned or unused building without the owner’s permission.
Eventually they find an old house that seems to suit their needs and go about settling in for the night. Come the morning though and it appears that their term of squatting may last longer than they had planned when they find all the exits blocked and some of their items taken.
What started out as a promising premise soon descends into a mundane and predictable exercise in horror-lite. Spiderhole seems to fall into the tired world of torture-porn, a phrase I still detest, but even then doesn’t really go in for the kill, so to speak. If you can’t make a movie scary don’t threaten us with nastiness only to fail to deliver in the claret and guts department. I had the feeling whilst watching this that there was a definite mass market appeal intended for the movie, which sadly has resulted in Spiderhole failing to deliver.
The main location, being the abandoned house, is excellent. It’s suitably creepy and has the potential for plenty of creepy moments. However, this is not really taken advantage due to the predictability of the events that unfold. This coupled with the performances of the four leads which switch between over-acting and just downright annoying suck any tension out of the movie.
At the end of the day what we get left with is a very good looking movie that comes across as a weak blend of Saw II, Hostel and the 2001 flick The Hole. So, as far as recommending Spiderhole I would have to say that it the sort of horror flick that is geared towards folk that don’t usually watch horror films might enjoy. Aside from that it is a case of seen it all before, and seen it done better. A wasted opportunity.
Spiderhole is released by IFC Midnight and is now available on VOD and at Select Theaters