A same-sex couple moves to a small town so they can enjoy a better quality of life and raise their 16 year-old daughter with the best social values. But nothing is as it seems in their picturesque neighborhood. And when Malik sees the folks next door throwing a very strange party, something shocking has got to give.
Starring: Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, Ari Cohen, and Jennifer Laporte
Directed by: Kurtis David Harder
Written by: Colin Minihan, and John Poliquin
It’s just a matter of time before things spiral out of control in “Spiral.” Malik (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman) and Aaron (Ari Cohen) have decided to move to a new town for a fresh start. Their teen daughter Kayla (Jennifer Laporte) has come with them, and now the three have to get acquainted with their new home, and neighbors. The area is beautiful and the neighbors seem alright, but that’s all about to change.
Of the three, the story centers around Malik, who has been traumatized by an event that occurred when he was younger. He has tried to learn from that, and believes that it’s alright for gay people to come out. However, he quickly learns that he might not be over it as much as he thought when things start to get a little strange at home. Are the neighbors not as accepting as they seem to be, or is there something wrong with Malik?
That question really is one of the strong points of the movie. It does a good job making the audience wonder which direction to lean. At first, Malik seems very nice, and has a good relationship with Aaron and Kayla. Then an incident at the house opens the door for paranoia to set in. He gets an alarm system, and is watching the behavior of the neighbors. Between flashbacks of his horrible night when he was younger, and overthinking what the neighbors are doing his mind starts to spin.
The neighbors are definitely a mystery themselves. First there’s a grandfather who is acting weird, and snooping around where he doesn’t belong. Then there are the unusual gatherings that take place. Of course the awkward behavior is shown through Malik’s eyes, and gives him concern that they don’t like gay people. Aaron seems to get along with them, and Kayla even starts to like a boy that lives nearby. This all complicates matters the longer things go on.
The movie does a good job of keeping the audience off balance. They’ll definitely side with Malik, and feel sorry for him especially after seeing the full event that happened years ago. However, there are plenty of things going on in Malik’s mind that are bringing a darkness over things. He’s haunted by ghosts of his past, and maybe some others that create a good scare or two. The true horror doesn’t occur until everything is revealed, and it’s a lot more horrific than it seemed it would be.
Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman does a good job of carrying this film. He handles all of his character’s emotions well, including the high stress moments. The film captures the struggles Malik goes through as a gay man, and plays on his fears. For those waiting for the horror, it will definitely hit the audience with a fantastically horrific and surprising image in the end. Because “Spiral” does well at spiraling out of control at the right pace, and leaves the audience in shock, I give it 3 pools of blood.