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Spiral: From the Book of Saw

Spiral: From the Book of Saw

Synopsis:
A criminal mastermind unleashes a twisted form of justice in Spiral, the terrifying new chapter from the book of Saw.

A detective tracks down a new serial killer following in the footsteps of the infamous Jigsaw killer in . Detective Zeke Banks () is an officer for the Metro Police, disdained by his colleagues for turning in his corrupt partner and being the son of the retired Cheif Marcus Banks (). Hoping to get Zeke in line, Captain Angie Garza (Marisol Nichols) assigns young rookie Detective William Schenk () as his new partner. The new partners are called to a gruesome crime scene, which suggests the arrival of a new serial killer targeting cops and who seems to be following the Modus Operandi of the long-dead Jigsaw killer John Kramer.

Spiral: From the Book of Saw is the latest entry in the long-running horror franchise, based on a story idea from star Chris Rock, which also sees director Darren Lynn Bousman return to the franchise for the first time since 2007's Saw IV. The film is effectively a soft reboot for the franchise, focusing on a Jigsaw copycat killer and the efforts of Detective Zeke Banks to track him down. It is quickly pieced together that all the victims of this new killer are targeting cops who are crooked in some way, whether it be lying on the witness stand or committing senseless murder. However, the case quickly turns personal for Zeke when he realizes that he can't get in touch with his father.

After the success of the original 2004 film by the writer/director team of Leigh Whannell and James Wan, the Saw franchise became the example of a horror series being sequenced to death, the first three of which were directed by this film's filmmaker Darren Lynn Bousman. After 2017's Jigsaw failed to revive the series, the Saw franchise received an unexpected resurrection when this new entry was pitched by Chris Rock, who joins the recent flock of actors and writers, known primarily for comedy, moving into the horror genre.

Having only seen James Wan's original film, I am able to watch Spiral: From the Book of Saw without the baggage of having to sit through the diminishing returns of the seven sequels, that preceded the film. Indeed, Spiral: From the Book of Saw seems to be a film more in the spirit of the original, in how it's more a Se7en-style crime thriller, peppered the Rube Goldberg-style death traps the franchise has become known for. Indeed, the film does not wait long before getting to the gore and these moments are definitely not for the squeamish.

I never like using the word “elevated” in relation to the horror genre, but I will say that having both Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson among its core cast doe make Spiral stand out from the sequels that came before it. In fact, the film probably has the more standout cast since the original, which not only had in the lead role but also featured Danny Glover. Spiral: From the Book of Saw also somewhat marks a return to form for director Darren Lynn Bousman, whose 2008 post-Saw film Repo! The Genetic Opera did generate a bit of a cult following, though most of Bousman's output in the last decade has been indie horror films that never received much attention.

While there is a chance that Spiral: From the Book of Saw revitalizes the franchise for more sequels, the film also acts as a relatively solid stand-alone film that only really requires that you watch the first film beforehand.

Spiral: From the Book of Saw is now available on Premium VOD


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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.