Spiral (2019)

Director: Kurtis David Harder
Writer: Colin Minihan, John Poliquin
Cast: Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, Ari Cohen, Jennifer Laporte, Ty Wood, Lochlyn Munro, Chandra West
Part of: SLASH Filmfestival
Seen on: 24.9.2020

Content Note: (critical treatment of) homomisia

Malik (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman), Aaron (Ari Cohen) and their daughter Kayla (Jennifer Laporte) just bought a house in a small town and would like to settle in a more rural life which they hope will be calmer than life in the city. Their neighbors like Marshal (Lochlyn Munro) and Tiffany (Chandra West) seem nice enough, albeit a little overexcited about having a gay couple in the neighborhood. Aaron takes to the community pretty well, while Malik starts to have his suspicions that all may not be quite as nice as it seems.

Spiral obviously uses the horror genre as an allegory about marginalized positions in society and the hatred the marginalized often encounter. Thus, it aims high and has a lot to say, but both the allegorical part as well as the horror part comes unglued in the second half, I’m afraid.

The film poster showing a spiral made of birds over a house drenched in red light, three hooded figures standing in front of it.
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What Keeps You Alive (2018)

What Keeps You Alive
Director: Colin Minihan
Writer: Colin Minihan
Cast: Hannah Emily Anderson, Brittany Allen, Martha MacIsaac, Joey Klein
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 26.9.2018

Jackie (Hannah Emily Anderson) and Jules (Brittany Allen) are happy, in love and on their way to celebrate their first wedding anniversary at the cabin where Jackie grew up. They are planning a weekend all for themselves, but when Jackie’s childhood friend and neighbor Sarah (Martha MacIsaac) shows up with her husband Daniel (Joey Klein), things start to change. Jackie starts behaving weirdly, leaving Jules bewildered and desperate to find out what is going on.

What Keeps You Alive builds from a familiar set-up, but given that it features a queer couple, it could have done some interesting things. Unfortunately, the script is just not up for the task, leaving too many things incomprehensible to make the film work.

The film poster showing a black and white forest with a woman's face superimposed over it and another woman running through the forest, all under a pink sky.
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It Stains the Sands Red (2016)

It Stains the Sands Red
Director: Colin Minihan
Writer: Colin Minihan, Stuart Ortiz
Cast: Brittany AllenJuan RiedingerMerwin MondesirKristopher Higgins
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 24.9.2017

The zombie apocalypse happened and only pockets of humanity remain here and there. Molly (Brittany Allen) is on her way to a safer location. But on the way there, she gets stranded in the desert. She knows she’ll have to cross it on foot. As she gets going, she realizes that one lone zombie is on her tail. It is slow, it is stupid, but contrary to her it needs no rest, sleep or water. And so the pursuit begins.

It Stains the Sands Red has many good things about it, but ultimately it didn’t convince me, mainly for two reasons: one, it was so perfectly obvious that Molly was written by men, and two, it didn’t know when to stop.

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