Movie Review: Spiral (2020)

A horror/psychological thriller directed by Kurtis David Harder, Spiral was released onto Shudder in 2020. When same-sex couple Malik (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman) and Aaron (Ari Cohen) move to a new house in a small town, they soon find their neighbours to be overly friendly but seemingly hiding something. As Aaron’s daughter, Kayla (Jennifer Laporte) begins to get close to local boy Tyler (Ty Wood), Malik begins to notice strange things going on in this quaint, suburban town.

+ off the top of my head, I don’t think I knew of any of the actors in the film, but they were fine. This is essentially a movie about Mailk (Bowyer-Chapman), and so his husband and step daughter (Cohen and Laporte, respectively) are essentially secondary characters for the most part
+ I liked the ending, insofar as the movie finally managed to shock me a bit. But see below, because a shocking finale is not necessarily a well written finale

– I don’t recall Get Out dropping any N-bombs, and nor necessarily should it have. But that movie also didn’t tease the word and never deliver, at the risk of offending it’s audience. It’s hard to get real sympathy, when so explicitly throughout the film the script goes out of its way to not say the homophobic ‘f word’, even lampshading it with a throwaway line and having characters blocking it when written down. It felt clumsy, and the director should have aimed for either side of that fence instead of so awkwardly balancing on it
– the film ends with more questions than answers including, but certainly not limited to, what the titular spiral had to do with anything. There are one or two literal spirals in the movie, but their significance is never made clear. Does the movie refer to the “spiral of revenge”, or perhaps a life “spiralling out of control”? Who knows. Certainly not you, if you watch the film
– I criticised No Escape for the same reason, but this movie just did not feel unique. I’ve mentioned Get Out, above, but you can basically go through any ‘couple moves to new town and weird stuff happens’ movie and find the same story beats

> for some reason I was expecting Sam Jackson to show up. Jackson and Chris Rock are in the upcoming Saw spin off, “Spiral: From the Book of Saw” which unfortunately for me is not this movie

Should you see this film: I did not enjoy this movie. Essentially wanting to be something like Get Out, but for gay people rather than black people, this was not a unique or enjoyable experience.


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