September 13, 2002 0 By Fans
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Still of Gabriel Byrne in SpiderStill of Ralph Fiennes and John Neville in SpiderRalph Fiennes and David Cronenberg at event of SpiderStill of Miranda Richardson in SpiderStill of Ralph Fiennes, Lynn Redgrave and John Neville in SpiderStill of Ralph Fiennes and Gabriel Byrne in Spider


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.

Release Year: 2002

Rating: 6.8/10 (19,249 voted)

Critic's Score: 83/100

David Cronenberg

Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Miranda Richardson, Gabriel Byrne

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.

Writers: Patrick McGrath, Patrick McGrath


Ralph Fiennes


Miranda Richardson

Mrs. Cleg

Gabriel Byrne

Bill Cleg

Lynn Redgrave

Mrs. Wilkinson

John Neville


Bradley Hall

Spider Boy

Gary Reineke


Philip Craig


Cliff Saunders


Tara Ellis


Sara Stockbridge


Arthur Whybrow


Nicola Duffett


Jake Nightingale

Large Man

Alison Egan

Flashing Yvonne

Watashi no haha wa korosareta [Japan]


Official Website:
Official site |

Release Date: 13 September 2002

Filming Locations: Cinespace Film Studios, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Box Office Details

Budget: $8,000,000


Opening Weekend: €54,050
(27 October 2002)
(45 Screens)

Gross: $3,821,651
(7 November 2003)
(except USA)

Technical Specs


(DVD edition)

Did You Know?


David Cronenberg received the screenplay from Patrick McGrath out of the blue, with a note attached saying that Ralph Fiennes was interested in playing the part of Spider. After about four pages, Cronenberg had decided that he wanted to do the film.


Crew or equipment visible:
Shadow on the road just before Spider gets the rope from the construction site.


Mrs. Wilkinson:
What've you done? What have you done?

User Review

A much misunderstood film

Rating: 9/10

There are always films that people will either see what the director
was going for, or simply won't connect with the film. David
Cronenberg's Spider is one of those films.

Many comparisons can be made between this film and the Ron Howard film
A Beautiful Mind in that they both examine the complexities of mental
illness. Whereas Howard took the glamorous Hollywood style approach —
complete with government agents and associated adventures — Cronenberg
continues to prove that less is more when it comes to film. Spider is
significantly more effective in that it does not candy coat its
subject, rather approaching the scenario with brute realism.

Cronenberg is certainly one of the most under-appreciated and
misunderstood directors of our age in terms of popular appeal. His
films are not for mass marketing and popcorn sales, but rather are
psychologically and sociologically challenging to the viewer.
Cronenberg films generally demand a surrender from the audience to an
unsettling reality, and Spider is no different. The fractured
perception offered by the protagonist as displayed through Cronenberg's
eye is truly unique and refreshing.

If you are the type of person who is up for quick, easy entertainment,
Spider is not your film. But, if you want to explore a brilliantly
crafted submergence into the strange reality of a mentally ill person,
Spider will leave you wanting more. Cronenberg has once again proved
that there are few directors of his talent and skill. His ability to
create a wholly original feel in film incomparable to any of his
contemporaries is always welcomed by this viewer.