|Genre(s): Drama / Thriller|
|Anchor Bay || PG13 - 91 minutes - $26.98 || February 19, 2008|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-03-01|
Writer(s): Jeremy Danial Boreing & Joel David Moore (written by)
Cast: Joel David Moore, Zachary Levi, Amber Tamblyn, Tricia Helfer
Theatrical Release Date: NA
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Adam Green, writer/director of 2006’s “old-school horror” flick Hatchet, returns but gives the audience a different kind of terror: the disturbed mind of a telemarketer. Joel David Moore, star of Hatchet, plays Mason, a reclusive and troubled man who likes to paint on the side, which thus gets the ladies interested in him despite his odd nature. He wakes up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat and every morning with a scream as he looks on in horror at his hands. What has he done in his past that would cause this?
One day he meets newly hired Amber (Tamblyn; The Grudge 2), a shy but beautiful woman who takes an interest – for some strange reason – in Mason and his artistic talents. She volunteers to pose for him for his latest paintings and develops a relationship with him where upon she not only discovers his fear of elves but that darker side. At work, Mason’s only friend, Berkeley (Levi; TV’s “Chuck”), is his boss and again, it’s an unusual friendship as someone with Berkeley’s personality I don’t think would befriend Mason, much less hang out with him as the character is more of the class clown/life of the party type of a guy.
Spiral is really an odd movie. You go in thinking you’ll get some sort of psychological thriller or horror, but instead it’s more of a psychological drama that takes its time getting to where you thought it would (and that’s in the last 12 minutes). Star Moore co-wrote and co-directed, with Adam Green, and also served as executive producer (along with co-star Zachary Levi). It’s good that this wasn’t just another horror movie and instead Moore and the rest of the gang tried to put out a deliberately slow paced psychological piece about a disturbed man and for the most part, I kind of dug it.
The one thing I didn’t, however, believe was the relationships Mason developed. How is it that someone as beautiful as Tamblyn would spend more than 15-minutes with that guy? Yeah, he’s dark and mysterious but even the most sheltered and lonely person (male or female) would run away. But ignoring that aspect, I actually enjoyed the movie for Moore’s dramatic turn, even if he goes over the top during one scene.
Going outside the film itself, it is interesting seeing how involved Moore was with this project. It was based on a short film he did only a couple years ago. After working with Adam Green on Hatchet, they teamed for Spiral where Moore served as co-director, co-writer, executive producer and star. I commend him for getting this out there and while I can’t call it a complete success, it does have a certain entertainment value.
Spiral co-stars Amber Tamblyn, Zachary Levi and Tricia Helfer (“Battlestar Galactica”) and is an Anchor Bay Entertainment release.
Cast and Crew Commentary – Taking a page from the Kevin Smith playbook, this track is packed. Follow me: Director Adam Green, Writer-Producer-Director-Actor Joel David Moore, Writer-Producer Jeremy Danial Boreing, director of photography Will Barratt, Producer-Actor Zachary Levi and actress Amber Tamblyn. It’s a crowded room with Green and Moore getting in the most words, but the rest gets to have their say as well. They cover everything from how the project got started to filming in Portland (Oregon) to working with each other. They’re also quite self aware that they’re doing a commentary and chastise anyone who does too much of the obligatory “favorite scene” comments.
Spinning Spiral: The Making of Spiral (7:37) - Less a true ‘making-of’, this is more of a video gallery showing the filmmakers and cast on the set filming or just clowning around. There’s none of the stereotypical sound bites or anything of the sort, which is refreshing.
Cinefile Promos (9:04) – Starz puts out these short promos to advertise movies. Split into 3 parts, this uses some of the footage as in the ‘making-of’ featurette with some new stuff and does feature the cast and crew talking about making an independent film and shooting in only 18 days.
The disc rounds things out with the theatrical trailer.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
The movie is presented in anamorphic widescreen with a 1.78 OAR. The film itself looks OK and considering this was a very low budgeted movie, it looks pretty good. I don’t know if it was a choice of style but there are quite a few shots that are grainy but it doesn’t detract.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is fine and makes use of the unusual jazz score (with a pop song or two). It’s nothing fantastic or anything, but perfectly suitable.
While I do seem some of that old Hitchcock style in terms of story, Spiral still falls a bit short as it never quite takes off and when it does (within the last 15-minutes), it’s too little too late. I enjoyed the performances of Amber Tamblyn and Zachary Levi (and to a certain extent, Joel Moore), and if you can appreciate its slow nature, you might want to give it a shot. It’s certainly not like those extremely low budget movies with poor camerawork or even worse performances.