As promised we have SPIRAL!!! It’s no secret I am a huge horror fan. I’ve watched the entire Saw series and rewatched the original before this film.
The director Bousman had worked on three previous Saw films before this (Saw II, Saw III, and Saw IV) and the quality of these films ranged from great to mediocre. However, this isn’t necessarily a sequel. Think of roots on a tree and how it branches out. This is Spiral. As stated “from the book of saw” there are connections to the Jigsaw killer.
I hoped this would bring fresh life to the franchise that hasn’t seen any new renditions since 2017. An interesting side-note involves our lead Chris Rock. Rock had a meeting with the vice chairman of Lionsgate (the distributor) at a wedding and pitched his idea to the film. Would this entry fall flat, or show fresh new ideas? Would we see Cary Elwes???
Onto the film.
We open with fireworks overhead. It’s the fourth of July weekend and a carnival is going on. We see a man in a fedora (no not my brother) chases after a thief. They both venture down a manhole into a subway tunnel. We later learn this is Detective Marv Boswick (Petronijevic) who is attacked by a man in a pig mask. Is this Jigsaw? We cut to black and then see Boswick in a death trap in the vein of the previous Saw films.
His tongue is clamped and he’s hanging from a pipe in the path of a subway. A tape recorder plays. He has lied on the stand to put innocent people away. He can either jump from the box and rip out his own tongue or die. He jumps at the last second but doesn’t make it in time.
We then meet our protagonist Detective Zeke Banks (Rock) He is hated on the police force. It’s shown throughout the film in pieces that he had turned in a dirty cop and the others now shun him. Banks (Rock) going renegade as a undercover in order to stop drug dealers. His cover is blown and his Chief is FURIOUS. Chief Garza (Nichols) assigns him a partner. Rookie cop Schenk (Minghella) who was at the top of his class. Here the film falls into the
cookie-cutter plot a bit. The veteran cop doesn’t want a rookie partner. Complains about it but accepts him. Of course.
Both Banks (Rock) and Schenk (Minghella) head to the subway tunnel to investigate the body. They start to piece together that this wasn’t a homeless man. This was planned. From here it reminded me of a classic serial killer thriller. This killer was targeting dirty cops. Each death has a unique trap which I enjoyed but the scenes in between left a lot to be desired. We learn more about Banks (Rock) and his father Marcus Banks (Jackson.) Marcus was the former police chief and their relationship is very strained. Banks (Rock) mentions they live in the same apartment complex but haven’t had dinner together in years.
The second half of the film picks things up with numerous traps. We see Banks (Rock) start to become unhinged at this terror and I thought this was a nice deviation from his normal roles. We still get the quips and wisecracks during conversations, but you can also see the horror and madness starting to take over. Well played Chris Rock! With any Saw film, or in the vein of Saw you know there will be many twists and turns. This is the case here as well, and I won’t give any more of the plot away.
Before movies, I find myself trying to figure out the killer or the story before it happens. This is one I couldn’t guess. I’m getting rusty I think. Regardless if you’re a fan of the horror genre. SEE THIS FILM! I would have liked for a longer runtime and more fleshed out backstories, but it doesn’t hamper from a fun time. Be warned the deaths are GRUESOME. It won’t ruin your popcorn though! 4 stars out of 5
This writer’s opinion is their own and not the opinion of this newspaper