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Spiderhead Ending Explained

The ending of Spiderhead shows Jeff and Lizzy escaping the facility, while Abnesti dies in a plane crash. This marks a hopeful conclusion, contrasting with the original story’s darker ending.

Spiderhead, a Netflix film, dives into the ethical issues of drug experiments on prisoners. Directed by Joseph Kosinski, it stars Chris Hemsworth, Miles Teller, and Jurnee Smollett. The movie’s ending has sparked much debate due to its differences from the original story and its elaborate themes.

Plot Overview

Spiderhead takes place in a futuristic prison and research facility. Steve Abnesti, played by Chris Hemsworth, runs the facility. He conducts experiments on inmates using emotion-altering drugs. These drugs, delivered through a device called a MobiPak, can cause various emotions. For example, Laffodil induces laughter, Phobica causes fear, and Darkenfloxx brings deep depression.

Jeff, played by Miles Teller, is one of the inmates. He struggles with guilt over a tragic accident that led to his imprisonment. His interactions with fellow inmate Lizzy and his growing distrust of Abnesti drive the story forward.

A key twist in the film is the hidden drug B-6. Unlike other drugs, B-6 is not openly discussed. It is secretly included in the inmates’ drug regimens. B-6 enhances obedience, making subjects more compliant. Jeff discovers this and realizes the experiments are about testing human obedience, not just the drugs.

The Climactic Escape

The climax of Spiderhead sees Jeff and Lizzy trying to escape. Abnesti becomes desperate to maintain control. Jeff disables his MobiPak and frees Lizzy from hers. They head to a boat, aiming to leave the island and the horrors of Spiderhead behind.

Abnesti, addicted to his own drugs, experiences a malfunction in his MobiPak. In a state of drug-induced euphoria, he tries to escape by plane but crashes into a mountain, resulting in his death.

Themes of Control and Obedience

One central theme in Spiderhead is control and obedience. The film raises ethical questions about manipulating individuals through chemical means. Abnesti’s experiments show the potential for abuse in scientific research, especially when linked to the penal system.

The hidden drug B-6 symbolizes the insidious ways control can be exerted. The film suggests that true freedom is compromised when external forces manipulate one’s emotions and actions.

Redemption and Self-Forgiveness

Jeff’s journey is about redemption and self-forgiveness. Haunted by his past, he initially believes he deserves the punishment at Spiderhead. His relationship with Lizzy and his rebellion against Abnesti’s control signify his path toward self-forgiveness.

The film ends with Jeff and Lizzy escaping together, symbolizing a new beginning. Jeff’s final voiceover, “I wish there was a self-forgiveness drug … but there’s no drug like that. So, we’re gonna have to do it for ourselves”, underscores the message that true healing comes from within.

The Role of Love

Love is a powerful force in Spiderhead. Jeff’s love for Lizzy gives him the strength to break free from the facility’s control. This theme contrasts with the original story, where love is not central.

The film’s focus on love as a means of overcoming adversity adds optimism to the narrative. It suggests that genuine human connections can triumph over artificial control.

Differences from the Original Story

The ending of Spiderhead differs from George Saunders’ short story Escape from Spiderhead. In the original story, Jeff commits suicide using Darkenfloxx, unable to cope with the guilt and manipulation. This grim ending highlights themes of exploitation and dehumanization.

In contrast, the film opts for a more hopeful ending. Jeff and Lizzy’s escape and Abnesti’s death provide closure and justice. This change was influenced by the screenwriters’ desire for a more uplifting narrative.


Spiderhead is a thought-provoking film exploring themes of control, obedience, redemption, and love. Its ending, while different from the source material, offers a satisfying and hopeful resolution. The film’s portrayal of ethical dilemmas in scientific experimentation and the human capacity for self-forgiveness resonates with contemporary audiences.

The film balances heavy themes with engaging performances and a gripping plot. Chris Hemsworth’s portrayal of Abnesti and Miles Teller’s performance as Jeff add depth to the story, making Spiderhead a memorable and impactful film.


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