SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW (2021)
An impressive return to form for the Saw franchise, Spiral: From the Book of Saw brings back the edge-of-your-seat suspense and creatively violent traps fans have come to expect anchored by a worthy story that results in one of the best chapters yet.
The game is afoot once again as a suspected Jigsaw copycat unleashes terror on a police department, putting Detective Zeke Banks (Chris Rock) and his partner (Max Minghella) right in the center. Reportedly based on an original idea from Rock himself, Spiral wastes no time diving into the gruesome insanity the Saw films are known for, but does so with a purposeful plot reminiscent of what made the start of the original films such standouts. Rock himself brings a balance of humor and determination in his portrayal of a man with a troubled past, a refreshing turn for the usually pigeonholed actor. Whereas many of the later Saw films became gimmicks with an attempt at a story thrown in, Spiral is grounded in its drama and elevates the narrative with the expected twists and turns, never feeling overdone. Samuel L. Jackson also factors in as a veteran of the police force and Rock’s father, mainly bringing a sense of levity in some dialogue choices that are destined to hit the pantheon of Jackson’s all-time greats.
In the world of revivals and reboots, it’s easy for a film to feel stale and too familiar. Spiral absolutely avoids this trap and hits all of the right notes to excite a new generation and breathe new life into the franchise. Though it may receive criticism for following a somewhat identical formula, Spiral builds upon that established foundation to chart a new course, deviating from what became an over-reliance on Tobin Bell’s fantastic Jigsaw character and introducing us to the Saw of 2021. The film is not only a homecoming of sorts for director Darren Bousman (who helmed entries two through four of the franchise), but a sincere “Welcome Back, Saw!” to a series of films so many of us enjoyed year in and year out as our generation’s great horror franchise.
Spiral: From the Book of Saw hits theaters this Friday.
Photo from Polygon