Director Darren Lynn Bousman with the help of Saw meg-fan Chris Rock, bring us this new incarnation of Saw in the shape of Spiral: From The Book Of Saw. Not a reworking or a reboot but a continuation via way of a spin off, that just about works with a mix of the old and a spattering of new ideas.
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.
First things first, traps aside, a photo of Tobin Bell’s Jigsaw and a light sprinkling in the score of the signature theme are the only links to the original set of films. This is an entirely new setup and anyone who’s not seen the original carnage of the trap spectaculars shouldn’t be put off as they aren’t required viewing for Spiral. However this is quintessentially a Saw movie, without being one at the same time. Spiral beats itself a new path, circling around one particular police precinct as the new killer goes after it’s prey.
The traps are more basic but more visceral, none more so than the opening death which might set tongues wagging somewhat. The film is at it’s best when the inevitable victims are about to meet their ends via the trickiness of the traps that pretty much involve losing an appendage or their life, usually ending up in both. The detail in a 4k age is far more intense as the body parts are dismembered during the the films brief run time.
Chris Rock opens proceedings with what seems more like on of his stand up routines abiet with a more macabre tone. With Samuel L. Jackson and Max Minghella joining proceedings, it gives it an air of more importance and that it’s not just another throwaway torture-porn flick. Much like the early days of the Saw franchise, when you had the likes of Danny Glover, Dina Meyer and Cary Elwes, it just feels like the film means more this time.
Darren Lynn Bousman returns as well this time around to orchestrate his fourth Saw and it’s definitely his best. Some neat in movie jokes (Reference to Rock’s addict days in New Jack City and the door of the basement in the police building has a wry smile rasing nod to one of Jackson’s more famous screen outings too). The film isn’t without it’s issues thought, some of the humour is misplaced and some of script lines are clunky and delivered by the actors that aren’t messers Jackson, Rock or Minghella in an even more clunky way. “He always knew you were a god coP” (Emphasis on the P).
But Spiral From The Book Of Saw works, and it’s definitely one of the better entries into the Saw pantheon, although where it sits, thats down to you the viewer to decide. So welcome yourself back to cinema with 90 minutes of wince inducing revulsion as the trapsters return to turn your stomach once more. The ending leaves you in no doubt there is more of the Spiral story to come and on this effort it wouldn’t be a bad thing either.
Spiral From The Book Of Saw is released in cinemas May 17th 2021