Spiral: From the Book of Saw (2021)

spiral from the book of saw poster 2021
3.5 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 3/10

A potential new beginning

Dull characters, dull traps, and a mystery that is barely a mystery

Movie Info

Movie Name: Spiral:  From the Book of Saw

Studio:  Lionsgate/Twisted Pictures/Serendipity Productions

Genre(s): Horror/Suspense/Mystery

Release Date(s): May 14, 2021

MPAA Rating: R

spiral from the book of saw zeke banks chris rock hacksaw

Hey…I’ve seen this game before!

When police detective Marv Bozwick (Daniel Petronijevic) is killed by a subway train in strange circumstances, Detective Zeke Banks (Chris Rock) vows to catch his coworker and friend’s killer.  Zeke has always had a target on his back due to his turning in of his former partner Peter Dunleavy (Patrick McManus) for a crime, but now Zeke finds himself working what is looking more and more like a Jigsaw copycat with his new partner Detective Schenk (Max Minghella).  The killings are targeting more and more officers and the killings are getting closer and closer to Zeke…is the killer among them?

Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, Spiral:  From the Book of Saw (often just called Spiral) is a horror movie mystery.  Following Jigsaw in 2017, the movie features a quasi-relaunch of the series.  Delayed by COVID-19, it was released to negative reviews.

The Saw films were ok at best.  There was some creative storytelling surrounding the idea of how to keep a franchise going without simply bringing in new killers or undead people.  Spiral follows the same idea, but features a more concise virtually stand-alone story that manages to be even less compelling than the previous entry.  Due to aspects of the story, a ******spoiler alert****** is in effect for the rest of the review.

spiral from the book of saw finger trap

When Uncle Tom says “Pull My Finger” one too many times…

The movie borrows heavily from the other Saw films in that it plays with time.  Things happening might be flashbacks or running in conjunction with the story.  The problem with this entry is that if you’ve seen any of the other Saw movies you can peg the killer almost immediately.  The film does the “let me borrow your phone” which always leads to some sort of cover-up and the “unseen or unrecognizable body” generally means a person isn’t dead…Spiral did both and it did it badly.  The killer’s motive is pretty easy to guess and the killer also isn’t very compelling.

I feel a bit bad for Chris Rock in this movie.  He helped finesse the script so he can take some of the blame for the plot, but it was a good opportunity for him to show a different side since he largely has done comedic roles…he just picked the wrong project.  Max Minghella is bland and shady as hell while Samuel L. Jackson’s character is barely a character.  The rest of the police just feel like fodder for Jigsaw.  This is the first Saw movie not to involve Tobin Bell who originated the role of John Kramer.

spiral from the book of saw samuel l jackson blood puppet

He’s a puppet for the Man!

The traps (like always) are gross, but the lack creatively.  You get a pretty gnarly finger removal, but you have guy getting hit by a train, a water torture with hot wax, and a shooting by police…it doesn’t feel like the over-the-top nature of the previous entries, and if you aren’t given a good plot, you at least want good deaths.

Spiral feels almost a bit like a non-movie.  It sets up potential sequels (but so did Jigsaw), and like Jigsaw, the killer just isn’t very enigmatic or interesting.  Tobin Bell and his rather odd approach to the character did make something and the Jigsaw “disciples” have all been a step down…Spiral is just the most recent.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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