Spiral From The Book Of Saw Review

SPIRAL may lay claim to being FROM THE BOOK OF SAW but the only tome director Darren Lynn Bousman and writers Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger seem to have cracked open is the “Big Book Of Cop Movie Clichés”. Dull, trite and frustratingly predictable, rather than proving its bona fides as a part of the SAW franchise, it ends up being closer to a bargain-bin straight to DVD knock-off of SE7EN.

Maverick detective Zeke Banks (Chris Rock), struggling to live up to the legend of his father, the now retired former Police Chief Marcus Bak (Samuel L Jackson) and his rookie partner (Max Minghella) take charge of a homicide investigation into a murder that’s creepily reminiscence of the city’s most infamous killer. As the killer begins taunting the detective with threats of more killings, Zeke finds himself at the epicentre of a gruesome game which is quickly spiralling out of control.

SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW starts brightly enough, with a hapless police detective lured into a grisly and gruesome trap but as soon as the first bucket of blood has been wiped from the screen, the film settles into a moribund, sweaty and shouty rut from which it never manages to escape. Indeed, after that first kill it feels like an age before the killer strikes again.

In lieu of action, we’re treated to a cavalcade of terribly wooden performances, aggressively intrusive music and an orange tint so ham-fistedly grimy and saturated that Tony Scott is probably spinning in his grave. Everything about SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW’s dialogue feels gratuitous, especially the profanity. NEalry every cast member delivers their lines like they’re reading them for the first time of cue cards held just behind the actor they’re talking to and the general direction seems to have been if you can’t quite read the lines, just insert some swear words until you get back on track. I don’t know what star and executive producer Chris Rock was thinking with this because he’s better than this yet paradoxically has never been worse than he is here.

 The film also thinks you’re stupid – or perhaps more accurately, will have tuned out quite quickly – so every leadenly obvious reveal is accompanied by flashback replays of the relevant scenes which undermines just how vapid the movie’s sense of cleverness is.

Ironically, the only thing that’s not gratuitous is the gore. The various homicidal set-pieces feel lacklustre and uninspired with very few of the archly Rube Goldberg machinations of previous entries and the editing and cinematography are so skittish that you don’t really get to savour the dilemma before it cuts to the aftermath.

It’s actually quite the achievement in 2021 to have a story with a black lead that focuses heavily on the issue of police brutality, overreach and institutional corruption and yet fail to make any salient point on the subject whatsoever. Instead, SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW falls into an obvious trap of its own lack of ideas where all the whirring blades are rusted solid and the edges are blunt.

score 2



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