Title – Spiral: From the Book of Saw (2021)
Director – Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw IV)
Cast – Chris Rock, Max Minghella, Samuel L. Jackson
Plot – A Jigsaw copycat killer appears and is targeting the police force with the highly strung Det. Zeke Banks (Rock) and his new partner William Schenk (Minghella) charged with stopping the escalation of gruesome murders.
“Someone’s out there pulling all the strings”
Review by Eddie on 14/05/2021
Arising from the dead once more thanks to groundwork laid by its star and key backer Chris Rock (yes that’s correct, Saw is now a vehicle for Chris Rock), Saw (the Fast and the Furious of the horror genre) returns for its 9th installment with Spiral: From the Book of Saw, a new beginning for a series that started out as humbly as you could imagine with the low budget James Wan creation all the way back in 2004.
With Jigsaw well and truly laid to rest (but never say never), this time around Spiral focuses on a new copycat killer who is targeting the police force in a series of grisly murders that lead Chris Rock’s tough to love but determined detective Zeke Banks team up with Max Minghella’s rookie detective William Schenk to uncover the identity of the pig mask wearing mastermind that seems hellbent on bringing Jigsaws murderous pieces of art back to the big stage.
Teaming up with director Darren Lynn Bousman who’s got a long history in the franchise having directed three previous films in the mid-2000’s, Rock and his partner in crime have taken Spiral in a different direction than previous iterations of the gore-filled series and while there appears to be lots of potential here for how the new focus may work, Spiral is only successful in parts as its rather tiresome and predictable plot takes hold with those seeking more Saw personified moments likely to be left underwhelmed by a more CSI/NCIS like approach to the material rather than some of the nail-biting scenarios we’ve had in times past.
When the film kicks off proceedings with its most gruesome set piece that is likely to get tongue’s wagging audiences will be lulled into a false sense of security about what is too come and while there are still some great “Saw” like moments, Rock and his story line aren’t enough to make this grim and mostly charisma free affair from working as a worthwhile new take on an old staple.
Surrounding himself with talented supports such as Mingella (who never seems to age a day) and an underutilized Samuel L. Jackson as his retired police chief father Marcus Banks, Rock’s move to establish himself as a leading man outside of comedic affairs is a fairly poor attempt to subvert expectations and while those who saw the most recent season of Fargo can attest to his ability to be more than the loud-mouthed funny guy, Rock often looks out of place and feels out of place as a hard nosed detective that is in over his head.
With all said and done and when the blood stops flowing come the 21 Savage backed credits, Spiral isn’t a complete failure and there’s a pulse for a future under this new directive but its not enough to save a forgettable film from being mostly pointless as a standalone effort.
Final Say –
Unlikely to appease long-term Saw fans and only passable as a film judged on its own merit, Spiral is far from the worst film under the Saw banner but its potential is mostly lost in a film that fails to make its own mark.
2 parcel delivery guys out of 5