«Saw: Spiral» / Spiral: From the Book of Saw
Genre horror, detective
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman
Cast: Chris Rock (Detective Zeke Banks), Samuel L. Jackson (Marcus Banks), Max Minghella (William Shenk), Marisol Nichols (Angi Garza), Zoe Palmer (Kara Boswick) and others.
Студии Lionsgate, Twisted Pictures, Serendipity Productions
Release year 2021
A murderer appears in the city, who kidnaps people, forcing them to choose between torture and death. He acts like serial maniac John Kramer, who was nicknamed Jigsaw for his special cruelty. The new criminal copies Jigsaw’s methods, but he only attacks the police, accusing them of bias and corruption. The psychopath engages Detective Zeke Banks (Chris Rock) in his game by sending him a video with clues about his motives. Zeke is not popular among his colleagues – he is the son of a legendary police officer (Samuel L. Jackson plays his father) and a traitor who put his partner in jail. And yet, in the current situation, it is Zeke who should lead the investigation of the murders, taking an inexperienced rookie (Max Minghella) as his assistant.
In theory, the film was supposed to reboot the monotony of the Saw franchise. It was filmed as a modern noir detective, where the gloomy atmosphere can be diluted with funny remarks of the protagonist. Moreover, the picture was supposed to attract the cast – after all, where has it been seen that Samuel L. Jackson can act in a mediocre horror movie with dismemberment. And the appearance of Max Minghella (of The Handmaid’s Tale fame) could spice things up, not to mention Chris Rock’s laid-back humor. But none of this worked.
Chris Rock (actor also executive produced) is vainly bringing back a franchise built around a detailed portrayal of death. He fails to add anything to the plot that could make the film even partly gripping horror. It’s still the same splatter movie (which is quite aptly called torture porn), where there are severed parts of the body shown in close-ups, and there are no plot subtleties in the depiction of the investigation.
Chris Rock himself creates an extremely unfortunate image of a brave policeman. He then gives out monologues with bad jokes, then suddenly becomes serious, awkwardly depicting longing for the dead. Things are even worse in the precinct, where the work of the police turns into a circus. It is there, at general meetings, that the hero of Rock makes scandals, resembling a teenager (because of which it does not immediately become clear that he is actually a policeman with considerable experience).
The film comes alive a little when Samuel L. Jackson enters the frame. This happens only thanks to the charisma of the actor, but not because of the plot twists associated with his character. It makes no sense to hide that there is quite a bit of Jackson in the picture, and even these moments cannot smooth out the overall impression of the film.
Probably, at the stage of developing the script, the creators really tried to make something more relevant from Saw, related to American realities (for example, there is a mention here that law enforcement officers first shoot and then interview suspects). The writers actively play up police brutality, justified by law, so in the film, cops who previously got away with everything fall into death traps.
Due to the fact that the ninth film somewhat changed the subject, the frame no longer focuses on the frightening doll that John Kramer used to address the victims. In Saw: Spiral, a serial killer puts on a pig mask, again pointing to lawlessness on the part of the police.
But all these attempts to update, add humor and update the general concept are so failed that it’s time to admit the obvious – it will no longer be possible to make a suitable horror out of Saw. It’s time for Lionsgate to stop and find new ideas.
Pros: The appearance of Samuel L. Jackson; mention of police brutality Cons: it’s still the same splatter movie with no plot subtleties; Chris Rock in an unsuccessful role as a police officer; humor that could not brighten up the big picture Conclusion:
the creators failed to reboot the Saw franchise, just as they failed to shoot a noir-bloody detective story.