Powered by Blogger.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Review: Spiral

Director: Kurtis David Harder

Screenplay: Colin Minihan and John Poliquin

Year: 2020

Malik and Aaron have a same-sex relationship, and together with Kayla, Aaron's daughter, they move to a small rural town looking to let behind the noise of the city. As soon as they get into the town, Malik starts noticing a strange behavior towards them from the rest of the residents. The more he knows about the town and its residents, the more he grows convinced that something terrible can happen to them. 

Set in the '80s, "Spiral" explores the discrimination that homosexual couples have to go through, in this case, through the lens of paranoia. The fact that it is set in this decade is very relevant because it is when the social dispute of acceptance and discrimination against homosexual couples starts generating opposing forces ever so distant. It was also when AIDS had its peak, and its damage to the homosexual community was disproportionately worse, which fueled discrimination. While not at the forefront of the plot, all of this plays an important part in its development. 

In this scenario, Malik (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman; "Grave Encounters 2") and Aaron (Ari Cohen; "It") are presented, a gay couple that has lived the most violent side of discrimination from up close. While Aaron is more optimistic and sees an opportunity to start a new life, Malik cannot avoid that the neighbor's behavior unleashes his paranoia and suspects that something will happen to them. As expected, Malik’s suspicions become a reality, which sends them into a spiral of emotions and confusion that can only have an explosive outcome as a destiny. 

“Spiral” develops as a psychological thriller, where director Kurtis David Harder ("Incontrol") does a terrific use of atmosphere to create tension. Although it does have some horror elements and jump scares, the tension is generated with the little signs that are gradually revealed. Instead of betting for a high rhythm, it bets for captivating the viewer through the interesting story in the script of Colin Minihan ("Grave Encounters") and John Poliquin, which it achieves. 

Besides exploring discrimination, “Spiral” also explores topics of mental health, such as trauma and paranoia. Its most effective resource in keeping the viewer unable to distinguish if what is happening is real or a product of Malik’s imagination, which it uses to its favor in every twist to maintain the intrigue. The intention of hiding what is going on to the last possible moment opens the door for creating plot holes, but this is a minor problem compared to all that it does well. 

“Spiral” is Shudder’s most recent surprise, where discrimination and paranoia are intertwined in a way that the viewer is unable to distinguish which of the forces is being exerted until the last minute. Its plot develops more as a psychological thriller with horror elements, although when the horror shows up it does with authority. Its message of hidden discrimination and the injustices that homosexuals and other margined groups go through shows up in a historical moment where these topics are continuously getting the world’s attention.

No comments:

Post a Comment