SPOILERS AHEAD! for our Review of Spiral: From the Book of Saw (2021).
I am a huge fan of the Saw franchise. Sure, there are a few movies that are terrible, but on the whole I am drawn to the gritty atmosphere, awesome twists, and the overarching themes. Spiral: From the Book of Saw is the worst movie of the franchise, and one of the most boring horror movies I have ever watched.
An Interesting Premise
I will start with the only positive thing I can think of and that is the theme explored. From the very beginning, we are introduced to a police precinct with a lot of corruption, and our main character, Det. Zeke Banks (Chris Rock) is hated by everyone for ratting out his old partner.
Our Jigsaw copycat is obsessed with police corruption and is on a mission to “reform” morally dubious (to say the least) individuals within the police force. Unlike John Kramer’s vision, the copycat sees what he is doing as a way of reforming the whole structure, not just the individual. His goals are bigger, more ambitious, and I found that an enjoyable aspect of the narrative.
That is where the positives in this review end.
They Got the Atmosphere Wrong for a Saw Movie
The reason Saw (2004), the original masterpiece directed by James Wan and written by Leigh Whannell, is considered the best movie in the franchise is because it got all the things we want out of these movies right – especially the atmosphere.
Nothing beats those scenes with the detectives in a dimly lit precinct, or the moments leading up to a victim being taken by Jigsaw.
The atmosphere in Spiral is too light, too humorous, too fun. They moved away from the dark, drizzly weather that usually accompanies these movies and made it swelteringly hot. They tried to make this claustrophobic, but it did not work.
You Can Tell Who the Killer is as Soon as You Meet Him
Okay, so, spoiler alert, but the killer is who you think it is. The twists that usually excite and interest me are nowhere to be found in Spiral. From the killer doing something weird with the lead detective’s mobile phone, to the final scenes with the main character’s dad in a trap.
There was nothing surprising, nothing clever, nothing original. We had either already seen this stuff before or it wasn’t interesting.
Go ahead and get mad, but I skip the gory scenes in the Saw movies. They gross me out and I don’t need to see that. I watch these movies for the twists and intrigue, rather than the gimmick of the traps, so to have little to no mystery makes Spiral a pointless watch.