Director – Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II, Repo! The Genetic Opera)
Starring – Chris Rock (New Jack City, Dogma), Samuel L. Jackson (Captain Marvel, Pulp Fiction), and Max Minghella (The Social Network, Horns)
Release Date – 2021
Rating – 3/5
When I was in high school the first Saw film was released and became the biggest horror film of my teenage years. I’m not going to pretend like I didn’t like it. I fucking loved it and to this day I absolutely the DVD releases and marketing for these films. Honestly, I probably watched the first Saw flick at least two dozen times the year it was released. It was fun but after revisiting it after the UHD release I can safely say that it didn’t age well. It’s not a bad film but what was considering pushing the boundaries of horror and edgy is just dull and boring now.
When Spiral was announced I was on the fence about it but when I saw the cast I was all for it. Sure, casting Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson in a horror film is unconventional but it was intriguing to me. When the press release went out for the physical release I was quick to request a review copy.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows Detective Zeke Banks (Rock) who is shunned by his fellow officers after he turned in his partner for murdering a witness. When a fellow cop who is close to Banks is murdered he is partnered up with a rookie and requests to lead the investigation. What looks like a Jigsaw copycat quickly turns into a mad dash to find the new killer before more officers, including his own father, dies at the hand of this new mastermind. **Spoiler Alert**
Spiral is a bold reboot of the Saw series with a new direction that works but I can’t help but reminded how similar to Scanner Cop it is especially since I watched both these films back to back. I liked Spiral and enjoyed the characters but it is predictable. I wanted to love it but it had too many hang ups.
The acting in this is great. I love seeing Rock take on a serious role and having him tackle a horror film is unusual but great. I did laugh when he raised his voice just because I’m so used to funny man Chris Rock. I also liked his little New Jack City reference which he starred in. Jackson was not in the film nearly as long as I would have liked. He delivers a great performance when he is there but I would have loved to see more of him. The supporting cast is just as great. This one is probably the best acted of all the Saw films.
The story for this one is a great beginning for a solid spin off that is impossible to compare to Scanner Cop. Both films begin a new series with characters from an established series into a police drama setting. Scanner Cop is a spin-off of the classic Cronenberg film Scanners. With that being said, I liked this story a lot but the killer reveal is painfully predictable which does take away a huge hit from the story.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a Saw film if it didn’t have amazing traps and memorable kills. The traps and how unique they are is what makes this series so enjoyable with Spiral being no exception. They don’t have the impact of the first few films but they are still fun and satisfy. Overall, Spiral is an enjoyable beginning to what I’m sure will be another memorable run from a popular franchise. Go into this one open minded and you will not be disappointed.