It’s been some time since the horrors of the Saw franchise were last seen on the big screen, but finally, after a very long absence, the legacy of Jigsaw returns to cinemas with a vengeance. And Spiral: From the Book of Saw offers up plenty of twisted games for audiences to witness.
A sadistic mastermind 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 (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 centre of the killer’s morbid game.
It’s been some time since audiences were last treated to the twisted horrors of Jigsaw, and now finally in Spiral: From the Book of Saw, these past horrors now rise to the surface once again. Breathing new life into this franchise with a fresh new take is Saw veteran Darren Lynn Bousman and he’s lost none of his talent for freaking audiences out. A veteran member of the ‘Splat Pack’ who has helmed three of the previous Saw films, Bousman takes audiences inside a twisting new horror film that really mixes things up. Setting his film firmly in the mystery-crime genre, Bousman presents a quick-paced detective story that examines ideas of police corruption, identity and legacy and the body count quickly stack’s up as he goes to work.
Bousman finds a great collaborator for Spiral in the form of Chris Rock, who trades his funnyman status for plenty of scares in this new horror thrill ride. As Detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks, Rock really takes it to a different place as an actor. Gone is the outlandish, loudmouth funny that audiences have grown to expect from Rock, instead we’re given an aggravated, overworked cop who bears a big chip on his shoulder due to the activities of his past. Soon finding himself embroiled in a Jigsaw copycat, Zeke has to work quickly as the body count quickly rises and the action and the horrors reach a boiling point pretty quickly.
Spiral is a completely different mode of performance for Rock and it’s unlike anything we’ve seen him do before. This is a dark and twisted movie, and his performance as Zeke is delivered with a considerable edge. Brash and with a quick temper, Rock’s Zeke is a guy who definitely has something to prove and the reappearance of this Jigsaw copycat brings out plenty of uncomfortable truths for him. It’s definitely an unexpected character for Rock to take on and he fully commits to it and the results are very interesting to watch.
While Spiral does deliver the usual dose of Saw gore, what set it out for me was that it harkens back to the workings of the original Saw, with a focus on a sharp and kinetic detective story. While the horror does get bloody, Bousman uses it for narrative purposes and it does drive this twisting story forward. He keeps audiences on their toes the whole way through thanks to a varied list of suspects and victims, and things do take an interesting turn that I hadn’t expected in the third act.
Spiral: From the Book of Saw is an interesting new addition to the Saw mythos and horror audiences will be in for a fair scares with this one. It opens up new corners not previously explored in the franchise and new questions are left to be explored further down the road with plenty of terror thrown in for good measure.