SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW is the latest movie in the SAW franchise. This time we’re dealing with a Jigsaw copycat killer. However, the plot is so predictable, you’ll guess it all very early on. Many times, I felt like I was watching a Saw spoof. Read our full Spiral: From the Book of Saw movie review here!
SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW is a new movie in the SAW franchise, which is probably meant to be a reboot to build on. And sure, you could continue the story into a Spiral 2 but then I really hope the result will be better than how this movie turned out.
To say this movie is predictable is to put it way too mildly. While I enjoyed the classic Saw traps, I did also find myself thinking that this felt more like a spoof of the Saw franchise, than an actual addition to the series. Our overall rating is comprised of 1 star for the story (which is bad) and 1 star for the traps (which are entertaining but not that innovative).
Continue reading our Spiral: From the Book of Saw movie review below.
Macho BS and flashback galore
As with all movies in the Saw franchise, Spiral: From the Book of Saw also features the good old “here are the clues”-flashback scenes. However, for this new reboot, they begin very early on. And they continue all the way till the end. Essentially, there are certain flashback scenes you will be seeing many times.
While screening this movie, I found myself thinking that this reminded me of a mediocre episode of a cop show from the mid-1990s. There are stereotypical bad cops (always sweating and kinda nasty) and the classic misunderstood “good cop” (the Chris Rock character). All while the “good cop” still manages to feel that it’s okay to beat up people – or knock over grandma if she’s in his way while on the pursuit of a “bad guy”.
Like I said, 1990’s cop show style!
Also, the women look like supermodels. However, if they’re working with science in some way, then they wear glasses. You know, to show that they’re smart. The macho bullsh*t in Spiral: From the Book of Saw is also in a league of its own. And hey, I love it when the macho storylines are done right with charm and tongue-in-cheek details.
That’s what Fast and the Furious has managed to pull off for years. And also why that franchise can attract actors of all races, nationalities, ages, and genders. Finally, it seems like there’s a desire for a Se7en-like vibe that completely misses its mark. Especially because Chris Rock just does not seem to know exactly what kind of movie he’s in.
WHY ARE YOU YELLING?
Chris Rock has made a career of being the stand-up comic who always yells. It’s sort of his trademark along with the smirk. Now, the smirk has been (appropriately) left out of Spiral: From the Book of Saw. The yelling, however, is still a big part of Chris Rock’s performance in this movie. And it is awful!
Whether he’s talking to one person or a group of people, there is constant yelling. It’s just plain weird. Also, it seems that Chris Rock has one facial expression that he uses when he’s “acting”. Don’t get me wrong, I never thought Chris Rock was a bad actor when I saw him do anything in a comedy scene. But in a serious scene, while playing a cop chasing a serial killer? Yikes. It is bad!
However, there’s also Samuel L. Jackson, who plays his dad. He isn’t in the movie much but does manage to say “Motherfucker!” a few times and that’s pretty much all he needs to do. It’s a classic Samuel L. Jackson character, and at least it feels natural. What also feels natural is the performance from Max Minghella (The Handmaid’s Tale).
He becomes the partner-in-training of the Chris Rock character and improves the acting of Chris Rock in every scene they share.
Watch Spiral: From the Book of Saw in movie theaters!
Darren Lynn Bousman is the director of Spiral: From the Book of Saw which makes sense since he also directed Saw II, Saw III, and Saw IV. Of course, the very first Saw movie was directed by James Wan who went on to create the Insidious and The Conjuring franchises. Personally, Darren Lynn Bousman rarely makes horror movies that I love. They always just miss some key marks for me.
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The story for this Saw reboot came from Chris Rock. Obviously, this seems to explain why his character is the main focus of the story. I mean, he also stars in and produced Spiral. Of course, this is also the basis for a great little PR twist: For the very first Saw movie, Leigh Whannel also wrote the script, starred in, and produced the film. And now Chris Rock is doing the same. Except, the results are like night and day.
The screenplay for the movie was written by Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg who also wrote the Jigsaw (2017) script and other genre films such as Piranha 3D (2010). If only Spiral could have taken notes from the latter, then we could have had an awesome kitsch Saw reboot movie with filthy comedy (Chris Rock’s jam) and brutal bloody traps. Now, we just get the classic Saw quick-cuts and swerve-around shots.
Oh, I did, however, like the fact that we’re dealing with a Jigsaw copycat killer, so there’s that. And there’s an important message somewhere in there (it just gets a little lost). In any case, surely, you will watch this movie, if you’ve watched the other Saw movies. Just don’t expect too much and you’ll be okay. I hope!
Spiral: From the Book of Saw is out in movie theaters from May 14, 2021.
In Theaters: May 14, 2021 (USA)
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Writers: Chris Rock, Pete Goldfinger, Josh Stolberg
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Rock, Marisol Nichols, Max Minghella
Working in the shadow of 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.