Shudder’s Spiral Explained-Hate Never Dies It Only Changes Shape
Here’s everything you need to know about the creepy Shudder Original Spiral which premiers today. Spoilers Ahead.
Fear and hate are a cycle. More times than not, it is an unrelenting systemic pattern of violence. Spiral takes that uncomfortable thought and makes a quality horror film. One that feels as maddeningly honest as it is scary. The Shudder original Spiral, a queer horror story, does a similar thing as Get Out for POC. It could be argued; in fact, it is the universal truth behind all the prejudice in our world. Fear of change, fear of difference, and fear of otherness make humans act like assholes. As bleak as the ending is, there is still hope that there is power in words even beyond the grave.
Spiral tells the story of a same-sex couple, Malik and Aaron, who moves to small-town America hoping for a fresh start. One half of the couple, Aaron, has a teenage daughter and just finalized a nasty divorce. Shortly after arriving in town, Malik finds the neighbors less than friendly and witnesses a strange party. What follows is a harrowing descent into madness. Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean there isn’t someone out to get you. Malik and Aaron learn this the hard way. Here is everything you need to know about that nihilistic ending.
Malik begins to suspect the neighbors aren’t well-meaning but inappropriate rubes. Too many odd occurrences, including an older man with a hidden message and lost time, happen. As Malik loses more and more time, he loses touch with reality, and Aaron loses faith in him. In the explosive ending, Malik finally learns the truth. He was being drugged and manipulated. Marshall and his family had set him up. Isolated from Aaron and out of his mind, he does precisely what Marshall expected. He shoots him at a very public party.
Marshall appears to die, and Malik goes to jail, but that is not the end of it. As Malik sits in prison wondering what happened, Marshall comes to him and explains it wasn’t personal. It’s about coercion and survival. His kind needs the general public to perpetuate fear and hate. It allows him to continue the way he has for centuries. As Malik rots in jail, Marshall’s son kills his daughter and probably Aaron. The entire family is monsters, and presumably, the town is as well or at least is complacent accomplices. Earlier in the film, there is a strange gathering at the neighbor’s house, and the next morning an old man is dead. There are multiple people in the house, so at the very least, more than the nuclear family is involved.
Malik manages to provide hope for future generations, though. Malik documented everything he learned and witnessed and burned it to a CD. He hid it in the attic for the next unsuspecting family to find in the hopes that it might save them before it is too late.
The Weird Plant
Not a ton said about the offputting and ugly house warming gift the neighbors bring to Malik and Aaron. It is delivered with a chummy smile and passive-aggressive ignorance of white privilege. The plant rests on the kitchen table but is largely ignored until the final act when it opens. Once that happens, a massive amount of blood is shed. It could easily be speculated the plant was a way of preparing the couple for consumption. A timer of sorts that once bloomed means dinner’s served.
The Spiral Book
Hand in hand with the strange plant is the book, which is never explained. The same spiral symbol is etched on the spine and appears again in the attic and the derelict house Malik investigates. The family is likely an ancient sect of vampires or other similar monsters that need to feed every ten years to survive. The book and the plant are part of that ritual. The dead animals found in the attic over Aaron and Malik’s daughter’s room is one more part of the elaborate process to provide a shield for the murders to come. It is easier for the town to imagine Malik went crazy and killed the family than they are living with a family of bloodthirsty immortals.
Hate Is A Tangible Thing
Spiral takes some pretty wild swings. Not all of them land, but the plot beat that is the most successful is the truth bomb at the end of the film. Lochlyn Munroe(Marshall) tells Malik he doesn’t have any personal issues with anybody. He exploits human nature. Where there is prejudice, he can thrive. It’s tough to hear and even tougher to show in a horror movie. Get Out does it brilliantly, Antebellum, which comes out Friday, far less so. Spiral is somewhere in the middle.
As the TV/Streaming Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I’m not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret, there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.