Spiral: From the Book of Saw is the ninth entry in Lionsgate’s Saw horror franchise and it treats fans with all the familiar violence and gore that have long been a hallmark of the Saw series.
Detective Zeke Banks (Chris Rock) is caught doing undercover work without the approval of his supervisor. He knows none of the other cops in the department have his back. Later, we are told why. About 12 years ago, Zeke turned a co-worker who was a dirty cop in to internal affairs and no one has forgiven him for it. However, Zeke’s father is a retired police chief and is still revered in the department.
Zeke is partnered with rookie cop William Schenk (Max Minghella). In the meantime, we get a front row seat to the film’s first grisly murder of a detective, whose remains are splattered on a subway train.
Zeke then starts to get anonymous packages, leaving him hints to the next victim. Zeke is under pressure to find the criminal responsible for targeting the cops in his department before it’s too late.
Fans of Saw might enjoy the thrills of all the familiar and gory death traps set up on this film. This film very much gives a Saw experience, and lives up to its R-rating.
The movie has the classic twists and turns that are now a staple in the Saw franchise. The series has always had a social justice theme, and while the past films addressed the broken healthcare system in the States, this one addresses corrupt cops and police brutality.
That being said, I was a tad disappointed with this film – the twist was fairly predictable and felt rushed. What I loved about the prior films was how Jigsaw created the death traps and how the victims had a chance. This film doesn’t spend much time on the traps or its victims. It doesn’t give audience a chance to become invested in the crime or solving the murders.
Also, as much as Chris Rock really championed to make this film as a fan, he just doesn’t fit the bill of a dramatic actor in this horror entry. He definitely adds a bit of humor every now and then. Samuel L. Jackson, however, was a treat in the few scenes he had onscreen. I would have liked to see more of his storyline.
Overall, while the film doesn’t fare better than the other Saw films, fans will likely enjoy the grisly, gory traps seen throughout the film. This film also works perfectly as a standalone movie, so it has the opportunity to welcome a new audience to the fan club. ~Marriska Fernandes
Spiral releases in theaters May 14.
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