Spiral: From the Book of Saw (Review)

Spiral: From the Book of Saw brings the gory horror franchise back to the big screen, but it may have been better off doing its own thing.

A criminal mastermind unleashes a twisted form of justice in Spiral, the terrifying new chapter in the book of Saw. Working in the shadow of his father, an esteemed police veteran (Samuel L. Jackson), brash Detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks (Chris Rock) and his rookie partner (Max Minghella) take charge of a grisly investigation into murders that are eerily reminiscent of the city’s gruesome past. Unwittingly entrapped in a deepening mystery, Zeke finds himself at the center of the killer’s morbid game.

After 17 years, the SAW franchise has restarted itself with Spiral:  From The Book of SAW. Chris Rock stars as Det. Ezekiel Banks, a police officer with a rocky past that makes him an outcast within his own department. Zeke gets a new partner, William Schenk (Max Minghella), that he doesn’t want but has to deal with. Unluckily for William, this is the moment that a Jigsaw Copy-cat killer decides to surface and leads Zeke and William down a deadly path to find a new serial killer.

Now we should already know that the original Jigsaw killer, John Kramer (Tobin Bell) died from cancer in the 3rd movie and Spiral is the 9th film of the series. Yes I know, he died in #3 and now we’re at #9, but you saw the others right, so you know what’s going on ..RIGHT? Anyway, this time around the killer is going after crooked cops. Yes, crooked cops, and ONLY crooked cops. Let’s do a real-world rewind a bit, shall we?

This movie began filming in mid-2019 and was supposed to release in May 2020. Between then we had a man killed by a police officer, a pandemic (the reason it got pushed to 2021), protests against police violence, increased police violence, calls to defund police, and cries of we love the police. All of this within a year. That has been one hell of a political nightmare, now let’s move along, shall we?

We still have the torture porn-like murder scenes, however, most of them happen off-camera. For some of the true horror aficionados, that’s really kind of a “cop”-out. You still get to see the murders but in flashback sequences, giving you just enough gore to freak you out. The death traps alone are the usual genius devices, things where you need to commit to what needs to be done. This killer is not giving you rest breaks to figure things out, once you start you better finish it.

While the movie sticks to the usual, you did bad things in life and need to atone for it, however, after the events of 2020 I can see how it will anger/alienate a few people. Second, even though the story is OK it’s one of those films that you would actually like more if it wasn’t part of a franchise you’ve grown accustomed to. After all, there are only so many ways to tell the exact same story.

Samuel L. Jackson, as well as many of the characters in this film, could have been used a bit more to get you invested in the characters but all they were there for was to push a rather sloppy & mediocre storyline. I expected to get to the end and be blown away with the usual plot twist which is a staple for the SAW franchise but by the time credits were rolling I just kinda sat there thinking “Huh… ok then.” I truly feel this movie would have been somewhat better if it wasn’t labeled SAW and was just a plain old cop thriller hunting down a murderer.