Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Spiral Review: A Twisted Police Procedural In The Book of Saw

Morgan David Jones	...	Officer Barrett Samuel L. Jackson	Samuel L. Jackson	...	Marcus Ali Johnson	Ali Johnson	...	Jeannie Lewis Dan Petronijevic	Dan Petronijevic	...	Det. Marv Boswick Chris Rock	Chris Rock	...	Det. Zeke Banks Richard Zeppieri	Richard Zeppieri	...	Detective Fitch Edie Inksetter	Edie Inksetter	...	Det. Kraus Leila Leigh	Leila Leigh	...	Officer Mark Max Minghella	Max Minghella	...	William Schenk Christopher Tai	Christopher Tai	...	Officer Johnson John Tokatlidis	John Tokatlidis	...	Burns Genelle Williams	Genelle Williams	...	Lisa Banks Leonidas Castrounis	Leonidas Castrounis	...	Young Boy K.C. Collins	K.C. Collins	...	Det. Drury Marisol Nichols	Marisol Nichols	...	Capt. Angie Garza Maud Druine	Maud Druine	...	Young Woman Nazneen Contractor	Nazneen Contractor	...	Chada

Release date: May 14, 2021
Running time: 93 minutes
Starring: Chris Rock, Max Minghella, Marisol Nichols, and Samuel L. Jackson
Directed by: Darren Lynn Bousman
Written by: Josh Stolberg & Pete Goldfinger

A criminal mastermind unleashes a twisted form of justice in Spiral, the terrifying new chapter from the book of Saw. Working in the shadow of his father, an esteemed police veteran (Samuel L. Jackson), brash Detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks (Chris Rock) and his rookie partner (Max Minghella) take charge of a grisly investigation into murders that are eerily reminiscent of the city’s gruesome past. Unwittingly entrapped in a deepening mystery, Zeke finds himself at the center of the killer’s morbid game. 

Frank Licari	...	Emmerson Zoie Palmer	Zoie Palmer	...	Kara Boswick Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Isys Alexis	Isys Alexis	...	Woman Brian Cook	Brian Cook	...	Reporter Luke Gallo	Luke Gallo	...	Drug Dealer Andrew Perun	Andrew Perun	...	Paramedic Chris Ramsay	Chris Ramsay		 Josh Stolberg	Josh Stolberg	...	Police Officer Elena Khan	Elena Khan	...	Homeless 1 (uncredited) C.J. Lusby	C.J. Lusby	...	Police officer (uncredited) Heidi Matijevic	Heidi Matijevic	...	Hooker (uncredited) Johnny Prince	Johnny Prince	...	S.W.A.T. (uncredited)
Spiral has a lot of aspects of the Saw series, with twisted challenges that require the individuals to make a choice, an overarching message, and a brutal sense of justice with dire consequences.  The twisted challenges are what set the Saw series apart originally, and they make a return with gusto in Spiral.  The film has some imaginative ways to test people's resolve, with brutal effects as these individuals choose whether to live or die.  These effects are a hallmark of the series and a great addition to any gore film.  They are very well done in Spiral and you will be gritting your teeth as you watch to see what happens to the players in the killers game.

Spiral has a fantastic opening that gets you back in the Saw mindset.  It then transitions into more of a police procedural film, which is actually a lot of fun to experience.  I loved Chris Rock's character and his interactions with the rest of the force.  He plays a rebellious, hard-nosed detective who plays by his own rules and is not in favor with many of his coworkers.  It was fun to see him in a more serious role and getting to watch how he fought with the other cops while trying to solve this case.  His partner (Minghella) is the polar opposite of him, and seeing him try to break in the rookie cop also provided plenty of humor.  And having Samuel L. Jackson as his father just put a cherry on top of this cast.  It was vintage Samuel L. Jackson and seeing the banter between Rock and Jackson made for a very good time. The two are a lot of fun on screen and seeing them bicker like family was a highlight of the film.  In fact, the whole first half was very good, with grisly deaths and plenty of mystery.  And the cinematography in Spiral is worth mentioning, with some very long one takes that help keep you focused on the characters and their investigation.

But where Spiral starts to wind down is with the ending.  The film also starts to get a little overly dramatic with some cliched ideas and lines towards the back half.  And the ending of Spiral itself is pretty predictable; it was not a huge surprise when the big reveal happened.  It hurt what was a very good setup.   And the ending itself just didn't really click with me.  It felt like it tried to go for a big, crazy set piece rather than something to really wrap up the story.  And the fact that this was from the "Book of Saw" rather than its own independent film hurt it.  Although there aren't a lot of specific Saw references, the ones that were in there felt bolted on.  There were a few lines to try and tie the movies together that just felt out of place and the fact that they tried to relate back to the previous movies with a snippet here or there hurt the overall immersion.  And the killer itself has a similar MO to Jigsaw, but is much less terrifying.  Overall, I wish Spiral had kept going deeper with the police procedural side rather than spinning out of control.  This could have been its own setup, similar to Seven, rather than trying to be pushed into the Spiral universe.

Spiral's star power, brutal challenges and effects, and police procedural story will draw you down into this next chapter from the Book of Saw.

Rent it.

Mark Burg	...	producer Jason Constantine	...	executive producer Kevin Greutert	...	executive producer Daniel J. Heffner	...	executive producer Ketura Kestin	...	co-producer Oren Koules	...	producer Chris Rock	...	executive producer Stacey Testro	...	executive producer James Wan	...	executive producer Leigh Whannell	...	executive producer    Directed by  Darren Lynn Bousman	Writing Credits   Josh Stolberg	...	(written by) & Pete Goldfinger	...	(written by)
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Spiral is in theaters on May 14, 2021. For tickets, click here.

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