Spiral: From The Book Of Saw
review by Bobby Blakey
One of my favorite horror franchises of all time is SAW that kicked off back in 2004. Since then it has spawned seven sequels. Initially we thought it was over with SAW 3D in 2010, but then a new chapter dropped in 2017 with Jigsaw. Sadly it seemed that might be officially the end, but the game isn’t going way that easy. Now SAW 2, 3 and 4 director Darren Lynn Bousman has returned to the franchise to take on the new chapter Spiral: From The Book of SAW from a story from an unexpected source in Chris Rock who also stars alongside Samuel L. Jackson. Could this latest chapter bring more torturous fun to the fans or will it be a game not worth playing?
Spiral: From the Book of SAW follows a sadistic mastermind who unleashes a twisted form of justice in SPIRAL, the terrifying new chapter from the book of SAW. Working in the shadow of an esteemed police veteran, brash Detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks and his rookie partner 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.
I was both a bit worried and excited when they announced this latest chapter in the franchise. I love everything about the structure, traps and twists throughout the first 8 films so heading into a new direction is a slippery slope. For those wondering this film firmly plants itself in the same universe as the previous films, but is totally its own thing. You could honestly watch this film without seeing the previous films and still understand it for the most part. It brings back that gritty vibe that was gone in Jigsaw while infusing it with a more cop thriller similar to something like Seven.
This is not a bad thing as it allows it to be its own thing and a fresh start to move forward without forgetting about its roots. While there is a lot of the film focused more on the mystery of the case it still brings the pain and blood with some clever traps as fans expect. With a new direction also comes some growing pains with the fan in me. The voice is changed in the messages to those playing the game which I am not a big fan of. I get it as it is forming a
new legacy that I will no doubt be all in with thanks to a great ending, but it didn’t initially click for me. If that is one of the biggest issues then it’s one I can live with if it means more films in this universe that is clearly set up for more.
I love getting to see Rock step into these more serious roles because as a mature actor he delivers. He was so good in the last season of Fargo and this is just another great stepping stone in that change. He is a perfect lead for this new direction and one that I hope has more chances to get in the game. Jackson is typically great Jackson bringing his own style to the role that fans always love. The rest of the cast are good as well with Max Minghella stepping into a great partner role with Rock to balance out the characters personas and direction of the overall mystery.
In the end I loved this film as I do all SAW films, but it might be my least favorite at the moment only because of the unique changes to direction. Thanks to Darren Lynn Bousman’s always great visual style for these films it still sucked me right in ready to accept anything that will be coming along with what its building towards.
Return to play the game with Spiral: From The Book of SAW in theaters now from Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures.