Trailer: Chris Hemsworth is Experimenting With Mind-Control Drugs in Netflix’ ‘Spiderhead’

During the 1950s and 60s, the CIA initiated a covert, and deeply unsettling program called MKUltra, which used human subjects in experiments meant to develop – why hasn’t this been turned into a David Cronenberg movie? – mind control drugs for the specific purpose of breaking the will. It involved the use of psychoactives, sensory deprivation, and even sexual abuse…and it was all highly illegal and immoral, if that even need be said.

A half century later, social media giants have arguably been working similar territory, only the abuse and deprivation have been replaced by cute puppy pictures and reminders about the birthdays of people you actually really couldn’t care less about. And the only drug in use now is a natural one: dopamine. What seemed harmless at first, may now prove to be even more insidious than MK, since an entire global populace has fallen under its harrowing spell.

This gives poignant context to the new Netflix film Spiderhead (based on a 2010 New Yorker short story by George Saunders), which takes place in the high tech penitentiary of the same name, sometime in the near future. Chris Hemsworth plays a techno visionary named Steve Abnesti, who administers varying dosages of mind-altering drugs to the inmates. In turn for taking part in the experiments, they are allowed to roam free within the prison, with no cells or bars to contain them.

The first trailer has just been released, and much is revealed about the essence of the story when we see Hemsworth’s Abnesti insist to inmate Jeff (played by Miles Teller), “Your presence in this facility, while technically a punishment, is a privilege.” But as with all such experiments, and the brilliant madmen who run them, it’s all taken way too far – and he eventually admits, “The time to worry about crossing the line, was a lot of lines ago.” (The film is not without a sense of humor.)

Jeff and Jurnee Smollett‘s fellow prisoner Lizzy ultimately form an emotional connection, one that was clearly not meant to happen, and the inevitable conflict is set into motion. We witness fits of madness overtaking some of the inmates, even whilst Abnesti insists that his work “will save many lives,” and that they’re “making the world a better place.”

Of course, that could very well be the tagline for a Facebook or Instagram ad designed to make us all feel better that we and our children have been completely taken over by algorithms. Back in 2010, Spiderhead may have been a cautionary tale – now it’s essentially cinema verit√©.

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