My Cat Persephone Wrote this Review on her Smartphone. It was better than Mine. .
Kurtis David Harder
Colin Minihan and John Poliquin
Just in case you were wondering, this Spiral review is not the Spiral that was supposed to come out sometime in May 2020 but got delayed because of the pandemic. I know you just couldn’t wait for yet another Saw sequel. This Spiral is from 2019 and is about ---
I’m sure there are at least 5 people that are interested. Look at the onesheet. The movie’s called Spiral and there’s something a resembling an actual spiral on it. You’ve got beings in red robes that look like they were borrowed from the cult in Satanic Panic. What’s not to be curious about?
That’s where you would be wrong. Dead wrong.
Spiral 2019 has exactly one black person.
Such a clean segue into this…
Spiral opens sometime in 1985
We see a couple kissing in a car. We close in and notice they’re two young men making out. There’s a young black kid and his white friend rounding second when we see a flashlight shine in on them. We guess they’re pretty f*cked.
We flashforward to 1995…
It’s 1995 and Malik (Jeffery Bowyer-Chapman) and his husband Aaron (Ari Cohen) are driving to their new house. In the backseat is Aaron’s daughter Kayla (Jennifer Laporte). Kayla is sullen because she’s a teenager. She’s sullen because it’s the 90s and the headphones she’s wearing are as big as the rims on the car. Her neck muscles are severely strained from carrying all that weight because attached to those gigantic headphones is something called a “portable CD player”, which also looks like it weighs as much as a Nokia, but 6 times its size.
If you’re thinking that Malik looks kind of like the black gay guy from the opening flashback, you’d be right.
Aaron and Malik have decided to move away from the city for a little peace and quiet. Kayla wishes she were back in the city with her boyfriend. Maybe later when they’re settled in she can text nameless boyfriend, um, call using a phone with a cord.
Aaron is working to pay the bills.
Malik is a writer and is taking some spec work to help pay those same bills. He’s ghostwriting something he’s watching on the “VHS machine player”. He’s suspicious of new people and places because of that flashback trauma we’ve only seen glimpses of and will only be revealed sometime in the third act.
Even Kayla has a part-time job now.
Malik notices that some people are leering at him and Aaron but it’s probably nothing. It’s not like it’s the 20-teens and he’s being pulled over by a cop.
A white woman named Tiffany (Chandra West) introduces herself as their new neighbor and gives Aaron and Malik a plant. She says the loves the gays. Okay, she doesn’t use the words “the gays” but she might as well since she’s coming off so awkward. She says she loves seeing new faces in a way that’s not sinister at all.
Aaron is happy to meet Tiffany and is glad to know the new neighbors.
Malik is suspicious because of ---
Malik thinks the neighbors are spying on him and Aaron. The audience has noticed that as well.
Malik secretly talks on the giant cordless phone to his ex-boyfriend and voices his suspicions. This will go over so well later in the movie.
Aaron and Malik are invited to Tiffany’s house where they’re introduced to Tiffany’s husband Marshal (Lochlyn Munro) and their son Tyler (Ty Wood). Malik does a preliminary head count and finds out…
Black People- 1 (Malik)
White People – Everyone one else.
Also the food at this f*cking shindig has mayonnaise on everything.
This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the creepy old guy that’s been staring at him for the past 15 minutes. Surely he must have seen a black person sometime in his life.
After the party, Malik notices the old guy staring again from the driveway. Malik runs after him and catches up to Old Man because Old Man is old and slow.
Old Man starts talking some gibberish. Old Man hands Malik a blank piece of paper and it sounds like he’s trying to warn Malik of something. But before anything coherent can come out of his mouth, he walks off as fast his legs will go, which really isn’t that fast.
Malik stares at the blank piece of paper wondering what it is. Maybe he’ll try to find Old Man in the morning and ask him what’s going on. It’s a lot less ominous in the daylight.
The next morning Malik wakes up to find Aaron, Tiffany, and Marshal standing next to an ambulance. Old Man died overnight. Old Man was also Marshal’s dad and Tyler’s grandfather.
Malik is really bad at trying to hide the fact that’s he’s freaking out. If only there were some way to find out what’s printed on the paper Old Man gave him before he died. Maybe he could look on YouTube…or not.
Either way, Malik is spiraling into paranoia and madness, And he’s not really sure how much of it is his own making, because Malik…has issues of his own.
What Works With Spiral
- Some of the scariest white people since Get Out.
- Be warned in advance. Spiral is slow burn horror and there will be nary a cheap jump scare in the first two acts. The deliberate build is worth it as director Kurtis David Harder keeps the viewer on edge even though nothing overtly scary is happening within the frame…yet. You’ll have to be patient, but Harder makes it so you don’t have to work harder than necessary to enjoy the movie.
- A final act that is appropriately zany considering what came before it. As stated before, patience will pay off. Some twists you’ll get. Some won’t make any sense. It’s the ones you don’t get that make Spiral more than worth a watch.
- A shot of someone watching a TV screen is one of the scariest of 2019. You’ll know it when you see it.
What Doesn’t Work With Spiral
- Unless there’s a genuine reason for a movie to take place in the 80s or 90s, I just assume it’s set before hi-speed internet or iPhones because any use of that technology would render most of the story moot. Sure enough, if anybody in this movie had a working smartphone, this movie would be 20 minutes long.
Make your way ‘round to see Spiral. You won’t get lightheaded, but you will be suspicious of white people that smile way too much