Film Review – Spiral

Spiral (R)

Directed by: Darren Lynn Bousman

Starring: Chris Rock, Samuel L. Jackson

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Review by: Julian Wright

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with it and there is no reason why it should not exist and yet…there is just something strangely surreal about a Saw adjacent movie starring comedian Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson.

It is one of the most curious moves in Hollywood, not just in its attempt to inject some juice into a waning franchise, but just in general. I have seen it and yet I’m still not sure I believe it.

Troubled Detective Zeke Banks (Chris Rock), who has attitude and daddy issues, is drawn into a sadistic and deadly game with a mysterious murderer who is killing off members of the police department in gruesome and inventive ways.

And each death looks like something right out of the John Kramer (Jigsaw) handbook of morality murders. Except Kramer has been dead a while.

While struggling with the strained relationship with his father former police chief Marcus, whose shadow he lives in, Det. Banks must catch the killer before all his corrupt cop colleagues are slaughtered.

The addition of the two leads is enough to peak ones curiosity about the ninth entry in the Saw films. Wait, is it technically even a Saw sequel? Is this a reboot? Or simply a marketing ploy to trick us into spending money on torture porn, a horror sub-genre whose moment was cut short in favour of haunted houses, creepy dolls and conjurings?

If hammy acting is the requisite for making it a Saw film, then it certainly is one; that and the traps are the most recognisable things from the series.

Regardless, the experience of seeing a straight faced Rock analysing mutilated bodies is certainly something we haven’t seen before, and the gritty and grimy Se7en inspired police procedural aesthetic offers a slightly different tack for this series.

The traps are still inventive, the gore nauseatingly graphic and the plot twisty enough for this to be a minor stomach churning distraction, though this is hardly the series resuscitation the makers probably hoped for – despite the surprising cast.

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