Reviewed By Ross Hughes
Its a whole lot of Jazz, and nothing more……
Adam Green caused a stir in the horror circles with his wonderful old style stalk and slash feature Hatchet that had fans drooling at the mouth and then waited with great anticipation to see what else the new name on the horror circuit could offer. The fact that Frozen, a dodgy looking Open Water on Skies looks to dampen the excitement, Spiral as came from nowhere, it also comes with great praise within the horror corridors as an indie style horror, that is different to what is out there.
I have to agree, it is different, but not in a good way……………..
Mason (Joel Moore-who also co-wrote) is a troubled young lad whose only friend in the world is his boss Berkeley (Chuck’s Zachary Levi) who one night gets a phone call from the lad saying he as done something wrong. All we see has viewers is a corridor and a door slightly open with a bright light coming from inside the bathroom What he has done? we do not know? but Berkeley has heard if all before and dismisses it as just Mason being his usual self, and the young inspiring painter carries on with his life until he meets the lovely Amber (Amber Tamblyn) and soon they strike a friendship. Amber likes the shy boy and the two lost souls start to spend a lot of time with each other and soon Mason is painting his new found friend in various poses, while at the same time, being haunted by whatever is hides in the bathroom.
And that is it!
Seriously, the film has one premise and that is what is beyond the door, and while its intriguing and makes the viewer stick to the end, the rest just seems like filler to the conclusion. Mason paints, she sits still and they listen to Jazz, its a cycle that gets repeated over and over, and for a short running time of 87 minutes, boredom soon starts to hit, way past the half hour mark.
The problem with Spiral is that there is no sense of impending doom. Yes the characters are appealing, but watching someone paint and paint again is not what I call film entertainment, and the film is lucky that the pull of the film is “what’s the secret!” is so strong that most viewers will watch just to see the final reveal.
Also the title of the film is a bit misleading. If its directed at the life of Mason and how it “spirals” out of control, then we never get that sense. In fact the young boy may not be quite right but there is no fear that his life is heading for breakdown, well not until the final seven minutes and by then its too little too late.
The climax is something that will only shock newcomers, the “twist” easy to spot but has I was all set to be kind and give this film a 2 rating, the movie that adds on another final rug pull which would not be so bad but its structure and style blatantly ripped from The Usual Suspects that will have you shaking your head in disbelief.
The 18 rating is a huge mystery as there is nothing of horror, no gore, just a lot of painting and a heck of amount of Jazz……
OVERALL: Very disappointing from Green, the idea is there, but the film is too dull with a lack of fear and urgency being the main gripe……a shocking waste as the acting is flawless…………..