Spiral- Review

Did anyone else not realise that there was a new Saw film out this year? Seems strange that a franchise that’s been running for almost 17 years now (unfortunately all you 17 year olds are still too young to see this new one) is getting yet another instalment. Coming after the marmite Jigsaw from 2017, how exactly does Spiral: From The Book Of Saw fair?

So this isn’t a direct sequel and it doesn’t bring back Tobin Bell as John Kramer. It’s a fresh take on the “universe” of Saw and follows new characters. Chris Rock stars as Detective Zeke Banks, a homicide detective caught up in a copycat Jigsaw killer that’s killing Police officers. This all kicks off after a Detective is brutally murdered in an underground train tunnel.

The opening 15 minutes are genuinely intriguing. There’s a mystery to unravel and the gory killings are back once more. All of a sudden the films plot collapsed like a house of cards as soon as it becomes blatantly obvious what will happen and who dies. The victims might as well have stuck on a t-shirt saying “I’m getting killed in a Saw film!”

It doesn’t help that the film does that typical flashback “here’s everything you missed” and trying to make itself feel clever after attempting to pull the wool over your eyes. Well you can’t fool me Spiral I’m too clever for your terrible writing!

Although realistically, you don’t watch a Saw film for the plot. If you did, then I’d highly recommend Christopher Nolan for more time hopping and confusing plot lines. Spiral follows in the footsteps left behind it’s predecessors of bad writing for this franchise, and it’s a shame that the opportunity wasn’t taken to write something seriously brilliant here.

But you’re here for the gore, surely? And yes, Spiral is pretty gory. It earns that 18 rating, with it’s dismemberment and blood. It’s not quite on the same levels of previous entries and seemingly plays it safe at times. Don’t go into this expecting Saw 3 gore and violence as it just isn’t there.

However it is pretty watchable and the way the film uses it’s editing techniques makes this feel very much like a part of the franchise. It’s helped by the music, and when that classic end of Saw theme starts playing I had a smile on my face despite being a disappointing film as a whole.

The continuity is also helped by bring back Darren Lynn Bousman back (Saw 2, 3 and 4) and his experience and passion seeps through. This is a director that knows what he’s doing with this franchise and this was a really good decision by Lionsgate to bring him back for the new installment.

The passion for this franchise is also driven by Chris Rock. After watching the film and reading about how he pushed this through, I appreciated Spiral a little bit more than I did after immediately leaving the cinema.

And now you may be wondering why I haven’t mentioned Samuel L. Jackson at all yet, and that’s because he didn’t really do much for me here. I was very disappointed, I’d even watched Snakes On A Plane to get me into the mood for some Samuel L. Jackson fun, only for him to appear very little.

This isn’t to say there isn’t fun to be had with Spiral. If you liked the other Saw films you’ll probably get a kick out of it. It’s entertaining enough and it’s a good enough excuse to get out to your nearest cinema for 90 minutes of more entertainment than you’ll find on Sky Sports this weekend.

Spiral is showing now at cinemas in the UK and US

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