Universal acclaim - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. In this small and very smart film, Cronenberg does several things at once and makes them all look effortless, capturing various shadings of consciousness and versions of reality.
  2. Arguably the subtlest, most carefully textured film of Cronenberg's career.
  3. 100
    Spider lasts in the mind and it's built to last -- this is a movie that invites and repays repeated viewings.
  4. 91
    Exciting spectacle of a master director reining in his abilities to create a work that is etched in acid, burnished in smoke.
  5. His story is sad, compelling and morbidly, tragically watchable.
  6. The most elegantly crafted and confidently directed of all his (Cronenberg's) films, it's a calm, chilling portrait of a blighted soul and, just as calmly but quite stunningly, an evocation of the thought processes behind the blight.
  7. 90
    Deliciously wicked, strangely poetic portrait (adapted by Patrick McGrath from his own novel) of a schizophrenic man at once tyrannized and elevated by oedipal terrors.
  8. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    The superbly acted Spider is muted in comparison: it’s a quiet nightmare, painted in hospital greens and rust browns.
  9. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    This slow but brilliantly sustained journey into madness is fronted by a remarkable performance from Ralph Fiennes and superb backup from Miranda Richardson in a triple role.
  10. I was floored by Cronenberg's mastery of the material. Fiennes gives one of his finest performances; Miranda Richardson, playing at least three characters in the protagonist's twisted vision, is no less impressive.
  11. 90
    It takes an especially fine-tuned director and an inventive actor to cut as close to the bone as Spider does.
  12. Spider is not a pulse-quickening experience, but Fiennes's art makes it engrossing.
  13. In an instance of director, stars and material melding flawlessly, Spider is a brilliantly realized depiction of a mentally ill individual.
  14. 88
    What catches us in Spider's web -- besides the indelible performances of Fiennes and Richardson -- is the director's sympathy with this freak man-child who struggles to order his confused memories into a kind of truth.
  15. This is a rare adaptation where the script (by McGrath himself) heads straight for the novel's horrible essence, reproducing it non-verbally and in an even more concentrated form.
  16. A shocker for devotees of stylish angst and psychological torment. You'll have to watch it with patience and great attention, but it richly rewards that patience.
  17. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    It's Cronenberg's finest film, it's star Ralph Fiennes's riskiest role, it's a tour de force for actress Miranda Richardson.
  18. Cronenberg's most disciplined exploration yet of that shadowy realm: the world refracted through the prism of a schizophrenic mind.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 46 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 22
  2. Negative: 2 out of 22
  1. williamw
    Apr 1, 2009
    The most nerve-racking, chillingly precise film about mental illness ever made. In my humble opinion, the director's magnus opus.
  2. Methusalah
    Jan 9, 2008
    This movie was visually astounding. It had more eye catching, amazingly framed scenes than any previous Cronenberg movie. A surreal trek This movie was visually astounding. It had more eye catching, amazingly framed scenes than any previous Cronenberg movie. A surreal trek through a day in the life of a mentally ill individual. Full Review »
  3. MathewB.
    Jul 6, 2007
    A masterpiece of perception of reality vs. reality