Spider (2007)

Director Nash Edgerton
Writers Nash Edgerton, David Michod
Starring Nash Edgerton, Morrah Foulkes
Genre Morality Tale
Run Time (minutes) 9:39

Talk us through it

A couple, Jack and Jill, are driving toward their respective fates while arguing over Jack's latest practical joke. Well Jack is trying to get on the good side of Jill really, after she was less than impressed with his latest effort. They pull into a gas station and while Jill fills the tank, real women pump gas folks, Jack decides to get her some chocolates and flowers in an attempt to win her over.

Naturally Jack can't resist another practical joke, that is going to back fire with some pretty radical consequences. Blokes like this never learn really.

Keep your arachnophobia in check we're riding shotgun!


"It's all fun and games - until someone loses an eye." (Mum)

A couple of things up front before we set the scrum and put the ball in. If the name Nash Edgerton sounds familiar it's because he's the dude behind the excellent feature The Square that recently knocked both critics and audiences dead Down Under. Still don't get what the dog being eaten by the shark was meant to mean, write on in if you have a theory or can spread some light there. Unfort we can't spin it to review The Square here at ScaryMinds, lack of horror elements friends and neighbours, but I might pencil a review up for MovieHeretic and see how we go. The second thing I wanted to touch base with was the fact that this review might of necessity be vague and uninformative. You really can't mention too much about Spider without disappearing under an avalanche of spoilers, it's one tight effective flick. Lets go see what Edgerton has spun for us.

At it's heart Spider is a simple morality play, nothing more, nothing less, that's all she wrote. Edgerton is delivering a message, in simple terms practical jokes can have consequences, and spends no extra time in going from his setup, through his conflict, to his final statement. We are introduced to our lead characters, neither of which is dislikeable or for that matter likable, and enough time is spent with our leads in order to set the audience up for one hell of a final scene. We are lulled into a false sense of security, but when Edgerton decides to come after us he hits the afterburners and things descend into chaos very rapidly. There's a punch line coming at you, but the chuckles are probably going to be reserved for those with a sick and disturbed sense of humour. That would be anyone reading this far into the review by the way, so don't even think about taking the moral high ground here.

For the first half of the movie Edgerton films with a static camera, providing a point of view from the backseat of the car. The audience are invited in as voyeurs as Jack and Jill continue to bicker about Jack's most recent attempt to get on Australia's Funniest Home Videos. People may not have appreciated what ever practical joke Jack pulled, but we can be certain that it didn't involve kids hurting themselves. Apparently this constitutes humour in some sectors of Australian society, that would be the sectors who are brain dead enough to watch the show mentioned. Anywise, this is the point of conflict and serves as an indication of Jack's personality rather than providing the focus of resolution. Just goes to show you can't trust your average morality tale, they don't play by the cinema rule book.

Without giving too much away Edgerton shows he's bound for higher honours with his handling of one crucial scene, the one involving Jill and stepping backwards. The construction of this scene wouldn't be out of place in a full length motion picture with a special effects crew doing the work. It's sudden, for mine unexpected, and surprisingly somewhat brutal. You will know the scene when you get to it. Just when you think that's hitting the nail on the head Edgerton has one more shock coming at you to round things out.

Nash Edgerton has a handle on his film, knows how to get it purring along, and ramps it up when required.

There's a naturally progress and flow to Edgerton's movie that becomes apparently on subsequent viewings once you get beyond the slight concern of just what the titular arachnid might entail. Don't know about you but I'm heavily arachnophobia so I have this real love hate relationship with movies that deal with the eight legged freaks. Edgerton goes with the standard three acts and pretty much gives a demonstration on how to logically construct a short, allowing it to flow to a resolution that on balance isn't coming out of left field. The chaos transcends the normal in the third act of Spider as the Director/Writers allows for a gradual build up to his major impact scenes. Remembering this is a pretty low budget outing Edgerton had to dish out his bangs in a measured fashion and gets it absolutely right.

Whether by choice or good design Edgerton doesn't wash his scenes with any colour. In fact there's a distinct lack of colour that would indicate this was what the Director was after. The frames are scrubbed down with various shades of grey that may or may not indicate a message being presented to the audience. I didn't pick up on one, maybe the lack of colour indicating the lack of vibrancy in the lead character's relationship, and there's no flashes of richer colours to offer any visual clues. The Director may have simply been trying to keep all distractions away from his audience as things progressed during the film.

The one element of Spider I didn't get was the two ethnics behind the counter in the service station chattering away in their own little language, as Tony Grieg once said during the broadcast of a cricket test match. See Mr Grieg we have long memories and insipid racism shouldn't be paved over or forgotten. Anywise it seems I'm destined to be left in Nash Edgerton's dust each time I view one of his movies by at least one element. The Director/Writer is clearly making a point here but it went right over my head. This isn't to say that Spider is at all hard to rumble with, the movie is accessable without too much in the way of the noggin being put to use.

Nash Edgerton (Jack) is pretty right for the role and hits the various states his character goes through without taking the Audience out of the movie. While a short is never going to give an Actor the chance to really shine it does offer him/her a real opportunity of blowing it in big way. Morrah Foulkes (Jill) was equal to the task, couldn't pick that accent, and delivered on a limited role without burning down the house. Spider is pretty much a two shot, with neither Actor letting down the team.

Surprisingly Ben Lee provided the music, much appreciated, with Lone Skye accompanying on vocals for the end title song that worked in a sort of haunted fashion.

ScaryMinds Rates this short as ...

Good solid effort that will entertain most punters without overly upsetting the moral crusaders in our midst.