So I’ve always been a big fan of the Saw franchise ever since I watched the first film as a kid. There was something enticing about characters being killed as a punishment rather than being lambs to the slaughter. The film’s idea mixed the philosophy of John Doe from Se7en and the menacingly mechanical monstrosities of Cube in a thriller film. That same film series carried on for 6 more movies and a soft reboot that I personally love, and has brought us to the 9th film in the Saw franchise, Spiral: From the Book of Saw.
Spiral is to say the least, interesting. The film shows its roots but also deviates heavily from them, giving this weirdly refreshing take on the franchise. For fans of the previous films you may be dissapointed from the lack of appearances from everyone’s favorite mastermind engineer, Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), who only makes a cameo in the film in the form of a photo, and Billy the Puppet sadly is nowhere to be seen.
The characters deals with something worse than Jigsaw or one of his many helpers, a copycat killer, who seems to have it out for the police. From cover-ups to unlawful killings, lies and deceit, our copycat killer wishes to send a message and clean out the precinct.
The writing in this film feels more serious than the previous entries after Saw 2, wherein the franchise finally looked at itself and the mirror and decided take its own ideas more seriously. What is the idea of this film then? Well the film kinda spells it out in it’s name, human nature is a Spiral. Humans constantly spiral into themselves changing yet following a constant path. To truly change you must unravel that spiral lest you fall deeper into yourself.
Each police officer targeted spiraled into themselves, their arrogance and stance of power allowing them to rationalize their wrongs as right.
Enough about the pompous pseudo-philosophical bullshit though, this film has much more to offer than “the villain had a good point” including an incredible performance from Chris Rock!
Chris Rock, plays the titular main character of this film, Detective Banks, a tough as nails righteous police officer who wants to do the right thing, that includes exposing a corrupt police officer causing much distaste and distrust from the rest of the office.
The film also has to offer some interesting cinematography and color grading. Rather than being a drealy blue and green tinted film with eerily clean sets that feel like sets, the film is harshly and grimly lit, every location feels real, there’s nothing completely clean. The camera communicates subtly the emotion and tension orchestrated in each scene, rather than being extra shaky and spinning everywhere. It’s a nice change of pace.
The film also has some interesting traps to offer, being a Saw film and all. My personal favorite from this film would have to be the opening trap, giving me a painful mouth feeling for the rest of them film.
As you may be able to tell, I am being quite vauge with my review here, as this film is best left unspoiled and watched blindly. The film leans more into the thriller mystery idea that Jigsaw had going, keeping you guessing on who the copycat killer is. Go watch this movie in a theater if you can.