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Spiral: From the Book of Saw Review (2021)

When Saw hit cinemas back in 2003, it redefined the genre of horror as we knew it. Made by relatively unknowns at the time, the one-off film spawned multiple sequels which was grinded to a halt as the quality and demand for gore-porn horror faded away. Jigsaw was the 2017 comeback for the Saw franchise as it amassed over $100 million at the box-office on a $10 million budget. Unfortunately, it wasn’t well received by critics. Spiral: From the Book of Saw is another attempt to catapult the franchise back to the top with a different look at how the story can be played out. But will it fall for the same tropes or reinvent the franchise?

Famously being known for lacking any A-Star talent in the Saw movies, with Spiral we have the legendary comedic actor Chris Rock in the lead role alongside the moth******** himself, Samuel L Jackson. Even if you are not a fan of the series of movies, those two names alone bring some interest around the new story and with the hope that it can add some acting quality, which they all have severely lacked. Chris Rock plays Detective Banks, a loner cop in a station that is hated by all the other cops for handing in a dirty cop a few years back. Isolated in his role, his biggest task comes up when the body of a close cop friend of his is found dead in what looks to be a Jigsaw trap.

The excitement levels were high for this trip to the cinema. Not because of the film, but this is our return to cinemas in the UK since they reopened for the third time during COVID. We have to say, the expectations for Spiral weren’t set particularly high but we expected something fairly decent to get us by. Unfortunately, Spiral adds to the ever growing pile of evidence as to why the Saw franchise is dead and buried. The film tries desperately to be something different to the others. The storyline is focused on cops which adds something slightly different but the plot is so predictable that the fun of trying to guess who the killer is fades away very quickly. Instead, we are left with Channel 5, low-budget detective cop show acting that fails to entertain or shock at any moment throughout. What is the most disappointing is that Rock and Jackson are both pretty poor in the film. Jackson only has about 10 minutes of screen time and Rock tries very hard to be serious but it doesn’t work.

One of the most exciting parts of the Saw movies is the traps. The anticipation of what new trap will be introduced and how the person will die in spectacular, gory fashion. I can count on one hand the amount of traps that are present in the film and one of them is cut away very quickly. The only reason why anyone would go see one of these films is for its signature trap and conclusion. Spiral fails on these two key aspects and in the end, we are left with a hugely underwhelming addition that adds absolutely nothing to the franchise and is further evidence that it finally needs to be put to bed. Audiences want clever and thought provoking horrors from the likes of Ari Aster, Jordan Peele and Robert Eggers. We are tired of gore-porn slashing movies like this.

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