Movie Review: 'Spiderhole'


There are, of course, many horror films that take the "trapped in one location" gimmick and still manage to deliver it with a half-decent amount of style, creativity, and fun -- or at least a few cheap scares and some splattery gore. And then we have examples like the Irish import Spiderhole, which, despite boasting a rather intriguing title (say it out loud!) brings absolutely nothing new to the table. A fine location is wasted in a morass of dull characters, redundant wandering, constant shrieking, uninspired suspense, little to no horror, and a rather mercenary approach to a "sure thing" premise. Writer / director Daniel Simpson may be a big horror fan, but his first feature speaks to a slavish commitment to formula that grows real old, real fast.

But here's the hook: four broke (but very beautiful) young people decide that they're going to "squat" in a big, abandoned house. The screenplay takes great pains to explain what squatting actually is, but really, it's just a really lazy way to get four idiots into a locked house.

Oh yes, they can't get out. After a little partying and a stupidly incongruous sex scene in the basement, the doors are suddenly locked, which leads to much banging of walls, a whole lot of desperate screaming, and, eventually, a plan to wander the depths of the house in an effort to find a way out. But of course there's a crazy surgeon who lives down there, and he's amazingly adept at getting the quartet of victims to A) split up, B) get captured, and C) scream bloody murder as they're tortured to death on tables.

Occasionally we'll cut back to the characters who have not been captured, yet, but really it's just a lot of wheel-spinning with three or four vicious gore scenes to alleviate the tedium. With a much better script, one expects that Simpson could do better work; for all its familiarity, the creepy house itself is shot well, lit creepily, and presents a suitably distressing horror locale. It's too bad that virtually everything within Spiderhole is drearily familiar, lazily  constructed, and simply not very interesting.

Oh, and there are practically no spiders in the film at all.