Spiral: From the Book of Saw Review: Gruesome Torture Meets Comedy Club Hilarity
Sadistic and gruesome torture meets comedy club delivery in the funniest horror flick of recent times. Spiral, the ninth installment in the Saw franchise, breaks the mold with a decidedly different perspective. Chris Rock takes the lead as a second-generation detective who combines wit with a Jigsaw copycat killer. The mystery at the heart of the carnage is paper thin with an obvious antagonist; but the narrative holds your attention with effective casting chemistry and Rock’s hilarious, edgy personality.
Spiral It begins on July 4 with a police officer (Dan Petronijevic) found brutally murdered under strange circumstances in the subway. Detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks (Chris Rock) is shocked by the horrible death of his dear friend. Zeke has few allies in a police department plagued with corruption. He testified against a corrupt cop and then paid a near fatal price for breaking the blue wall of silence.
Zeke is assigned a fresh-faced rookie partner, William Schenk (Max Minghella), by his exasperated captain (Marisol Nichols). He wants to curb his impulsive antics. Zeke receives a gift box from the pig-masked killer, leading him to a spiral symbol. The entire department fears a Jigsaw copycat is on the loose. When another dirty cop is found dead, the hunt for the Spiral Assassin becomes the city’s top priority. As Zeke tries to uncover the identity of his cruel adversary, the game becomes deadly personal. His father, the legendary Captain Marcus Banks (Samuel L. Jackson), has disappeared.
Spiral it’s packed with the hideous gore horror fans have come to expect from the Saw franchise. There are new and disgustingly creative death devices to excite the masses. Darren Lynn Bousman, in his fourth shift as franchise director, knows how to live up to the lurid expectations. The pleasant surprise is the contribution of Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson to the script. The back and forth dialogue between the characters is a lot of fun. One scene in particular about being married to a police officer made me howl. I never thought I’d be laughing out loud at a Saw movie.
A central aspect of the film could be controversial. The Spiral killer points to police corruption. There is an underlying theme in the fact that unfettered law enforcement is held accountable for its crimes. Chris Rock plays an honest cop in a den of deception. He is constantly being targeted for being sincere and not lying about bad apples. This is a hot topic in our time of political division. It will be interesting to see if some fans take offense at the way the police are portrayed.
Saw The stories have been mediocre since the second movie. The mystery that drives Spiral not mishandled or silly, just simplistic and easy to smell. My recommendation comes from the overall value of entertainment. Chris Rock makes the movie fun. He is a brilliant artist who has a positive impact. There is nothing new in graphic violence, but a comedic approach is novel and certainly welcome. Spiral is a Twisted Pictures production. The film will open exclusively in theaters on May 14 from Lionsgate.
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