A same-sex couple move to a small town to enjoy a better quality of life, but nothing is as it seems in their new neighborhood.
There is a multitude of things that motivate human beings. However, it tends to simply come down to a few things, money, love, sex, and fear. Not only do those four motivate the majority of us but they are oftentimes weaponized, the latter especially. Fear itself is already enough to mentally cripple an individual depending on the situation, but the fact that it can be aimed and draped over a mass of people is terrifying. That fear comes from a lack of knowledge and understanding which unfortunately leads to hate and director, Kurtis David Harder, and the writers fully grasp and expose this concept in a chilling way. In the new Shudder Original, Spiral, fear will stalk you and eat you alive. This film is not only spot-on with its social commentary but it is truly a gripping and unsettling psychological thriller. While a film like Get Out focused on the dynamic of being black people in a eurocentric society, Spiral focuses on the LGBTQIA+ community in an unaccepting world. It explores society’s disdain for otherness. This is a story that is relevant and one that like Get Out, I didn’t know I needed.
Ultimately, this film expresses the way members of the community feel and also how they are widely treated and targeted in society. Moreover, it makes mention of how the terrifying evolution of hate continues to thrive. As wild as the story is, it unfolds in a very realistic way, which makes it even more horrifying. By the end of the movie, I was just as pissed as I was mindblown because the last scene is so frighteningly true. Along for the journey, you become as involved, confused, and alarmed as the characters themselves. Don’t worry, it’s purposeful confusion. The score beautifully sets the eerie and unnerving tone and the cinematography captures some haunting and lasting shots. The cast is great but Jeffery Bowyer-Chapman puts on an amazing standout performance. Overall, with its classic horror elements, it sets itself apart from films that are in any way similar. I loved Spiral, it’s definitely worth your time. Its rewatchabilty is high.
Plot & Pace
Set in what seems to be the 1990s, the story follows Malik and Aaron as they begin moving into their new home in a small suburban town. The couple along with Aaron’s daughter relocated there for a slower-paced lifestyle and escape from the city. Shortly after getting settled, Malik notices some not so friendly stares from his neighbors that make him feel uncomfortable. Stares turn into strange occurrences but Aaron isn’t convinced anything is going on. While Aaron and his daughter cozy up to some of the locals, Malik becomes increasingly suspicious and must investigate on his own. He now is on a mission to uncover the town’s dark secrets and avoid any danger that he suspects. The film moves pretty steadily and it builds suspense and tension as it progresses. It’s an edge of the seat kind of build that we all love.
Characters & Chemistry
The awkward, almost combative chemistry between Malik (Jeffery Bowyer-Chapman) and Aaron (Ari Cohen) is intriguing. With Malik being out as gay for the majority of his life, he is comfortable with who he is and what he stands for. Having gone through traumatic situations because of the lack of acceptance, he is wary of others. On the other hand, Aaron was previously married to a woman and had a child with her. You can feel that he isn’t quite comfortable being his living out loud just yet and his daughter, Kayla (Jennifer Laporte) is still adjusting as well. Also as a previously straight white man, Aaron hasn’t accepted that he will be viewed differently by others now. Their lack of cohesiveness could spell doom. Then there are the scenes with Malik and Marshal (Lochlyn Munro). They are a chilling game of cat and mouse and set the tone for much of the film. I can’t say too much more, I don’t want to spoil anything.
Spiral is available as of today, exclusively on AMC’s Shudder. Enjoy and stay safe.
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Director: Kurtis David Harder
Writers: Colin Minihan, John Poliquin
Runtime: 1h 27m
Rating: 4.5 out of 5