You know I’m here for “terror in the suburbs” stories, and SPIRAL offers that up with a queer focus and some great surprises.
Malik (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman) and his husband Aaron (Ari Cohen) move to a small town to get away from noisy city life and Aaron’s toxic ex-wife with Aaron’s 16-year-old daughter Kayla (Jennifer Laporte) in tow — very unhappy to be moving to the middle of nowhere and leaving her boyfriend behind.
Due to a traumatic event in his past, Malik is on guard from the moment they arrive, and even though the neighbors seem friendly and accepting, signs keep appearing that increasingly put him on edge. Aaron is sure Malik is just overreacting, and as Kayla falls for local boy Tyler, she starts to agree with her father.
After an ominous warning, Malik sees a strange ritual occurring next door that heightens his suspicions. But can he trust what he’s seeing? Or is he imagining things because of triggers that remind him of his past?
It wasn’t hard to figure out where SPIRAL is leading — but it was still a nice surprise on many levels. A queer leading couple, super creepy atmosphere, and so many turns I wasn’t sure what to expect — plus a terrifying ending and killer performances from everyone involved, most especially from Bowyer-Chapman.
Without giving too much away, it made me incredibly happy that SPIRAL wrapped up with an ending that was both very bleak and somewhat hopeful. And honestly, people, DO NOT TRUST ANYONE IN THE BURBS. How do y’all now know this yet?
SPIRAL is currently streaming on SHUDDER; check it out!