Arthouse Releases: The Spiderwebhouse (2017) Reviewed

A slow paced black and white arthouse drama that’s centered on children during some of the earliest phases of their lives paints a colorless vision of mental illness and the pain it can cause. This ninety minute drama never beats its audience over the head with plot, but spends its ninety minute run time showing us the grace of thoughtfulness and stresses of being left on your own at a young age. 

When their mother leaves them to survive against the odds, a trio of grade school kids are left to their own devices as the world shows them just how cold it can be. With an ethereal musical score that plays perfectly with the images on screen, The Spiderwebhouse feels dynamic and slightly morose with a mild gothic underpinning.

Initially released in 2015, the feature now has distribution and may get the life it deserves as a low budget indie that’s both moody and strangely surreal in its presentation. Much like King of the Hill or The Kid With A BikeThe Spiderwebhouse takes us through a journey where the parental unit has left the kids to fend for themselves. Through the eyes of three innocents, existence is proven to be a dark place where sometimes the littlest people have to survive against all costs. Using a steady style of cinematography interlaced with artistic shots of insects and strange interiors, Mara Eibl-Eibesfeldt's vision moves at a snail’s pace but is never really boring. Each scene holds something beautiful and new, even when the situations are dire.

Like a beautiful photo or artistic piece, this is a moving master work that’s fueled by excellent performances all around. Sometimes when movies are led by children you can feel their lack of experience or untrained skills. In The Spiderwebhouse, the kids are the best part. Each of the three main stars have a natural talent that infects the screen with a realistic view on abandonment and loss. Playing off each other like a well oiled machine, the realism onscreen is a pitch perfect realization that’s centered on the fantastical imagination of youth and how small ones may not completely understand their own predicament.

Simply beautiful to look at. 

This film deserves your attention. I will definitely be seeing this one again. Delivered in a package that's just short enough and topped off with the sweetness of three awe inspiring actors, there is something special about this film. Capturing the essence of depression or the roots of mental despair is not an easy task. This film tackles the subject matter with near perfection while letting us see those struggles via the experience of adolescence.