First of all, no, this is not Saw 9. This new movie exclusively streaming on Shudder just happens to have the same title of Saw 9, that was supposed to come out in May but due to COVID-19 got delayed till NEXT May 2021. If I were to describe this SPIRAL, it would be Get Out, but with homosexual couples (the title should’ve been Get Out Of The Closet). And a much different story and third act. You’ll see. I promised myself I wouldn’t do another free trial of Shudder on one of my many different e-mails, but this film has gained so much traction in my neck of the woods the past several weeks that I just had to do another 7 day-er and check this out. And I’m glad I did, as out of the three whole Shudder exclusive movies I’ve watched, this is by far the best one, even though the more I think about Host, the more I respect it (both definitely better than the mind-numbing Beach House movie on the app). Per IMDB, it describes Spiral as: “A same-sex couple move 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.” The movie takes place in the year 1995, so it’s kind of at the height of the 90s gay panic if you think about it. The movie works with only a few well earned jump scares because it’s mostly a psychological horror film, filled more with dread and unease than it is meant to be just cheap jump scare plus a lot of gore schlock (although there is one pretty gruesome and emotional earned shot/scene here).
There isn’t really a recognizable face here except for Loclyn Munro, you’ll basically just point him out in the movie and say, “that’s the dude from Scary Movie/Freddy Vs. Jason/etc. The main protagonist here, played by Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman (Unreal) is fantastic here. He plays one part of the male gay couple and the film focuses primarily on him. He gets the paranoia, fear, and anger down pat and needed in order to sell the story. I’m not familiar with the writers or director of this, but needless to say the movie works very well within the parameters of what it’s trying to say about fear. There is an exchange of dialogue inside a jail cell near the end of the film that was haunting to think about even after the last word was spoken. Also, this is a movie with an epilogue that actually made the whole movie even better than it already was. Wow, I am at a loss for words and don’t know much more to say about this film to make it a meaty second conclusive paragraph do I? Anything I really say about the story is a spoiler in itself so I can’t get into too much detail. If I had a complaint about the movie is that the male protagonist probably shouldn’t have hid the hatred they receive from the get go, should’ve revealed all and maybe there would’ve been a different conclusion. But if the protagonist didn’t hold things back, there might not have been a movie, so my complaint is moot. So if you have the Shudder app, definitely check this out. Or if you want to do a 7 day free trail thing, check out this and Host, but make sure to cancel before it charges you for a whole month. To me the app isn’t worth it, just like Quibi.