In the film Spider (2002), a schizophrenic man, Cleg (Ralph Fiennes), called "Spider" because of his fascination with the web-spinning arachnid, suspects that his father (Gabriel Byrne) killed his mother (Miranda Richardson) so he could replace her with a prostitute (also played by Richardson). Released from a psychiatric hospital in England with a supply of medication and sent to a dreary halfway house close to his family home, Spider attempts to retrace the path of his youth, descending deeper into madness with every step. The film is based on an early novel by Patrick McGrath, England's modern master of the gothic horror story.
Spider is a first-person account, and although we see the world as Spider sees it, he is hardly a witness to be trusted. So traumatized is he by his past that when he goes off his medications he wanders in a netherworld where childhood memories haunt him. Fiennes and Richardson give tour-de-force performances in a cast that is uniformly excellent, including Lynn Redgrave as the halfway house's matron and John NEVILLE as a fellow tenant. Spider is starkly austere and asks the audience to question what is fantasy and what is reality as the film moves to its shattering conclusion.
Directed by David CRONENBERG with a screenplay by McGrath, Spider won a GENIE AWARD for best director and was nominated for 5 others. It won the Toronto International Film Festival's award for best Canadian feature film, was named best Canadian film by the Toronto Film Critics Association, and was Canada's official selection for the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.