Sadistic and cruel torture meets comedy club delivery in the most humorous horror film of recent times. Spiral, the ninth installment in the Saw franchise, breaks out of shape from a completely different perspective. Chris Rock takes the lead as a second generation detective who can compete with a jigsaw copycat killer. The secret at the heart of the carnage is paper thin with one obvious antagonist; But the narrative holds your attention with effective cast chemistry and Rock’s fun, edgy personality.
Spiral begins on July 4th with a police officer (Dan Petronijevic) who was brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances in the subway. Detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks (Chris Rock) is stunned by the terrible death of his dear friend. Zeke has few allies in a corruption-ridden police station. He testified against a crooked police officer and then paid an almost fatal price for breaking the blue wall of silence.
Zeke is assigned a fresh-faced rookie partner, William Schenk (Max Minghella), by his disgruntled captain (Marisol Nichols). She wants to curb his impulsive antics. Zeke receives a gift box from the pig-masked murderer, which leads him to a spiral symbol. The entire department fears that a Jigsaw copycat is on the loose. If another filthy cop is found dead, that’s the hunt for him Spiral Murderer becomes the city’s top priority. When Zeke tries to uncover the identity of his vicious opponent, the game becomes deadly personal. His father, the legendary captain Marcus Banks (Samuel L. Jackson), has disappeared.
Spiral is full of the terrible blood that horror fans have come to expect from the Saw franchise. There are new and disgustingly creative means of death to tickle the masses. Darren Lynn Bousman, in his fourth round as franchise director, knows how to meet dire expectations. The pleasant surprise is the contribution of Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson to the script. The back and forth dialogue between characters is damn fun. A scene specifically about being married to a police officer made me cry. I never thought that I would laugh out loud in one Saw Movie.
A central aspect of the film could prove to be controversial. The Spiral Murderer targets police corruption. There is a rationale that full law enforcement will be held accountable for their crimes. Chris Rock plays an honest cop in a pit of deception. He constantly strives to be honest and not lie for the bad apples. This is a hot button issue in our politically divisive age. It will be interesting to see if fans resent the portrayal of the police.
Saw The storylines have been lackluster since the second film. The secret that drives you Spiral isn’t mistreated or silly, just simplistic and easy to sniff out. My recommendation comes from the general entertainment value. Chris Rock makes the movie fun. He is a brilliant entertainer who makes a positive impact. The graphic violence is nothing new, but a comedic approach is new and definitely welcome. Spiral is a production by Twisted Pictures. The film will be released exclusively in Lionsgate theaters on May 14th.
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