Depending on how you feel about formulaic horror films, ‘Spiral,’ the ninth installment of the ‘Saw’ series, will be either entertaining or a difficult movie to watch because, trust me, they don’t spare the gore.
If bloodshed is what you revel in, there’s no lack of it here.
Director Darren Lynn Bousman, who also directed ‘Saw II,’ ‘Saw III’ and ‘Saw IV’ was definitely up for the task of making his audience cringe. He has had enough practice at it by now, I would imagine. Only a few minutes into ‘Spiral,’ you see what might be the most repulsive scene in the entire film. ‘Saw’ keeps its ability to bring unique forms of torture coming. And what you see is definitely not something to keep on your mind after watching, or you’ll never sleep again. The bodies keep coming, but this first one hits hard. There’s a reason for this. Someone is getting revenge on the officers at the Metropolitan Police Department.
Here, the main star is Chris Rock, who plays detective Ezekiel or ‘Zeke’ Banks. Samuel L. Jackson plays his father, Marcus. Marcus is the former chief of police at the department, where his son still works. Zeke enjoyed getting his way when his father was the chief, and some held that over him. However, these days, they have over him the fact that he ‘broke the code.’ The code is never to rat out a fellow officer. Apparently, being a good guy in a police station is frowned upon at this station. This situation is what the entire film centers around. Zeke is now partnered with young William Schenk. He’s played by Max Minghella, who you’ve seen in ‘The Mindy Project’ and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’
Zeke is none too happy about getting stuck with a rookie. Still, when a possible Jigsaw copycat strikes, Zeke has a chance to mentor someone when he takes charge of the investigation and doesn’t back away from his duties. After discovering the first crime, Zeke comes across a flash drive that says ‘Play me.’ A police officer, and good friend of his by the name of Marv Boswick, (Dan Petronijevic), is the victim. When he listens, he hears, “I’m here to help reform the Metropolitan Police. To remind them of their oath to the people of this city.” He then says that Boswick refused to be reformed.’ The voice also warns that there will be more to come.
If you’re like me and found it odd that Chris Rock was starring in a horror film such as this, let me assure you that you’re not wrong to be dubious. There are moments when it works, but for the most part, you wish he’d make you laugh instead. Well, you do laugh some, but sadly it’s at the fact that he can’t quite pull off the grimace he keeps attempting to throw everyone’s way. I thought Marisol Nichols was exceptional as Capt. Angie Garza. As ‘the head’ of a police station with many coverups in it, she makes an obvious target.
‘Spiral’ is clever at times, but it’s up to the fans whether or not the story works for them. I don’t want to say too much and give away what makes this kind of movie entertaining to watch, so I’ll wrap this up by saying, if you’re hoping this reinvigorates the franchise, you could be disappointed. With that said, if you’re up for watching some carnage delivered through suffering and torment, you’re in for a treat. Enjoy!
Spiral : From the Book of Saw
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Writers: Josh Stolberg, Pete Goldfinger
Stars: Chris Rock, Morgan David Jones, Marisol Nichols, Max Minghella and Samuel L. Jackson
Running Time: 1h 33m
Genres: Crime, Horror, Mystery