Kurtis David Harder (director)
26 August 2019 (released)
29 August 2019
The film business is nothing if not unoriginal so after the success of Get Out inevitability a few others would be inclined to draw from that well. Spiral does with no doubt, but also looks closely at contemporary social issues through a critical lens.
Malik (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman) and Aaron (Ari Cohen) with their daughter Kayla (Jennifer Laporte) have moved to a small rural town to start again. Malik looking to get his business up and Aaron to finally free himself of a painful divorce.
The house is large and the idyll is perfect, if not the neighbours. While friendly they aren’t used to same sex couples as Aaron learns when Tiffany (Chandra West) introduces herself with some choice ignorant remarks. Malik in particular takes umbrage; he has the scars of a vicious homophobic attack while Aaron is a little more understanding.
Its uncomfortable at times but they settle down to try and integrate. But there are ripples as Malik sees an old man spying on them and he voyeuristically watches his neighbours from his home as they hold a ritual in their own. There’s tension too as Kayla keeps reminding Malik him that it’s her father’s money that is funding their lifestyle.
Malik’s mental health starts to deteriorate as pressures mount and he starts to hear and see things in and out of the house. Researching the area, he makes some disturbing discoveries that of course no one believes. Then some photos turn up that tear up his life.
Spiral covers a multitude of issues looking at a society that likes to congratulate itself on being inclusive and forward looking only for it not to be quite so, once we dig a little deeper. The actors are first class here as they cover these difficult and sensitive issues, steering away from polemic.
Much of that credit also has to go director Kurtis David Harder who also nails the supernatural elements of the story. Granted they aren’t that original using well-worn tropes but nevertheless he has a good grasp of tension and knows when to ramp things right up, which he does.