Director – Adam Green, Joel Moore
Cast – Joel Moore, Amber Tamblyn, Zachary Levi, Tricia Helfer, David Muller, Annie Neal
Release Year – 2007
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Immediately following the success of his 2006 slasher masterpiece, Hatchet, director Adam Green teamed up with Hatchet co-star Joel Moore in which they both directed a film written by Moore himself, titled Spiral. Completely abandoning the campy and cheezy horror of Hatchet these two brought us a slow moving character study that despite its slow pacing manages to be a genuine effort in the realm of psychological horror.
Spiral stars Joel Moore as Mason, a lonely and reclusive telemarketer with only one true friend in the world, his boss and only friend since high school, Berkeley(Zachary Levi; Chuck of “Chuck“ fame). One day at work Mason meets Amber(Amber Tamblyn; The Ring, The Grudge 2, Blackout), an equally shy yet adorable girl who finds an interest in Mason’s innocent personality. Amber has noticed Mason is a profound artist and painter, and quickly becomes Mason’s next model for his paintings. This proves to be a tragic event for the both of them, as it triggers disturbing memories for Mason, who must act on the ill-fated voices in his head.
Well, I was iffy on whether or not I even wanted to give this one a watch. I have remained a fan of Adam Green due to Hatchet, but nothing about this film overly interested me enough to warrant putting this ahead of other films in my queue. Why? Well, the storyline seemed a bit tame and boring to me(and it was, in fact), and its PG-13 rating left me to believe I probably would not see anything relative to Hatchet in this film, which I was OK with but lead me to take my time on this one. After viewing this piece I can say that I was actually surprised at how well this film turned out. I went in expecting Adam Green’s direction to be superb, and it was. His camerawork and atmosphere was fantastic, the visuals and lighting were good as well, and his soundtrack is bright and captivating.
What I did not expect to come off so positive was the screenplay, and for a while I was right on my expectations. The first 60 minutes of the film play off as a quirky indie drama, with little excitement and only random tidbits of mystery horror thrown in here and there. I did enjoy the little hidden bits of horror thrown in here and there because they let me know that despite this film’s fun tone there is definitely something sinister going on with Mason, and that hopefully this film’s climax would be an epic one. Well, after the first 60 minutes the film really kicks into high gear and I got everything I wanted to see and feel. We see the true depravity of Mason’s downward “spiral”, and along with that comes some subliminal commentary on why we should take people seriously with problems such as this and do what we can to keep them from spiraling to drastic measures. Personally, I thought this film’s climax was awesome, and I enjoyed the unanswered questions it left, and created as well. I am usually hit or miss with such unanswered questions in films, but in regards to Spiral I enjoyed the mystery this film left in its wake.
Overall, this is a well written and well directed film that gives a great watch if you can sit through its slow pacing and 60-minute developmental period. If you are a fan of psychological and character-study horror then Spiral comes recommended for you.