Our memories serve as our windows to the past. At times we reflect on them, wondering and evaluating what things could have been done differently or if things should have been done at all. At times, we distort them because we could hardly understand the things happening at the time or in some situations the mind itself cannot process the information that is presented to them. In cases of schizophrenics, the victim of schizophrenia deludes themselves into creating new worlds.
The film Spider revolves around the painful and confusing childhood of a schizophrenic man whose actions are precise and well thought out despite the lack of rationality and logic behind his conclusions. The film’s strongest weapon in its arsenal is the way they packaged the film into a quiet story that explodes at certain, unexpected moments.
To describe the film in terms of colour, shades of grey dominate the palette. The dreary European setting gives it a creepy atmosphere. The landscape shots emphasize the loneliness and solitude that Dennis Cleg, the schizophrenic, felt. The one scene that Dennis is standing outside a red door then a woman comes out with her baby and a stroller. Dennis just stares at them unconscious of his looming presence that obviously makes the woman uncomfortable. She takes one look at him and hurries off almost as if she is running away from him. It is hard to deny that Dennis Cleg has an unimposing yet intimidating demeanour. Although he tries to stay out of people’s way and basically fade into the background, people around him cannot help but feel uneasy because there is a sense of instability with him.
It is classified as a psychological thriller because of the uncertainties that run across the movie which is never resolved even at the very end. The film thrills its viewers with the promise of possibility. The one sequence that kept me on the edge was when the other patient broke a lot of glass. Dennis hid a piece of sharp glass within his clothes. It was quite long and very dangerous to keep holding on to. The audience just feels that an unstable man with a mental disease could hurt himself and others. The suspense was kept intact despite the lack of a swelling score and scary music. When Dennis handed over the piece of glass, the viewers must have breathed a sigh of relief as the threat of danger is over.
The film sucks us into the mind of Dennis as we watch his memories unfold in the movie. There are times when the happenings seem too farfetched and exaggerated that we will feel like this might never have happened. When Dennis’s father and “mistress” were burying the mother, their actions were much too villain-like. Probably influenced by the cartoons and images of his childhood, Dennis could have twisted his thoughts and morphed these two adults into evildoers that would murder a woman then laugh and drink by her make shift grave.
A need for a certain kind of critical thinking would allow the audience to appreciate the storyline more. Watching it would evoke our sympathy and fear for Cleg but in the end it is the provoking idea of how it relates to us and how we translate other people’s actions that we should fear the most.