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A mentally disturbed man takes residence in a halfway house. His mind gradually slips back into the realm created by his illness, where he replays a key part of his childhood.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Reineke ...
Cliff Saunders ...
Tara Ellis ...
Sara Stockbridge ...
Arthur Whybrow ...
Jake Nightingale ...
Large Man
Alison Egan ...


Dennis Clegg is in his thirties and lives in a halfway house for the mentally ill in London. Dennis, nicknamed "Spider" by his mother has been institutionalized with acute schizophrenia for some 20 years. He has never truly recovered, however, and as the story progresses we vicariously experience his increasingly fragile grip on reality. Written by Erwin van Moll <max404@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Watashi no haha wa korosareta [Japan] See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality, brief violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:


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Release Date:

13 November 2002 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Pajak  »

Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£64,083 (UK) (3 January 2003)


$1,641,788 (USA) (25 July 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Chosen by "Les Cahiers du cinéma" (France) as one of the 10 best pictures of 2002 (#08, with "Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi") See more »


Camera is reflected in broken window of asylum. See more »


Terrence: Nasty stuff: Gas. I knew a man once... Put his head in a gas oven... Turned on the gas... Then, he changed his mind... But his head was STUCK!
See more »


References Wild Strawberries (1957) See more »

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User Reviews

A quiet atmospheric character study of a disturbed man watching his childhood play out again before his eyes.

We watch Spider (Ralph Fiennes) at the present time, trying to live at a boarding house which takes pity on people who should legally be in mental institutions, and, in parallel action, watch him reliving his childhood, doomed to stand watching those events play out again and again, an observer as impotent as he felt when they originally happened.

This film is a mystery into the character and history of Ralph Fiennes' character. Its a little film, dealing with the mind of one troubled little man, and a patient film. Its also a very mature film from Cronenberg, where he has done away with the shock tactics of the past, and the results are delightful. But if you don't like patient films (and you might see it as a slow film - don't expect big action, expect to watch a fascinating character - and maybe discover why he's so troubled), watch any of Cronenberg's previous efforts instead.

Its not a very big or important film - not one of the most essential films of 2002, but if you've seen those more important choices, and are looking for something different, Spider may just be an interesting, atmospheric experience for you.

8/10. Maybe I was just in the perfect mood for it, but i loved Spider. I thought it was a beautiful and atmospheric character study. Spider is a real unique character, brought to life vividly by Ralph Fiennes.

30 of 41 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
i think the movie was really boring! psychotronics
Miranda Richardson was incredible. ThatSoapsALittleHard
Most depressing Mr. Bean episode ever... henryjfromage
Psychiatric symptoms joshua_hersheson
I prefer to read the novel !! almalikihussen
I suffer from Paranoid Schizophrenia and found this film... arichere
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