Spiral (2021)

06/01/2021 06:45

Film: Spiral

Year: 2021

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Writer: Josh Stolber and Pete Goldfinger

Starring: Chris Rock, Samuel L. Jackson and Max Minghella



This was a movie that I was pretty excited to see. I like the Saw franchise on the whole. When I heard they were going to make this spin-off, I was intrigued what they were going to do, especially getting the likes of Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson. Since I don’t watch trailers, I had avoided most information about this movie aside from what I’ve shared. This was one of those that got caught in the COVID pandemic pushback as well. The synopsis here is a criminal mastermind unleashes a twisted form of justice.

To just establish the world that we are in for this movie, John Kramer (Tobin Bell) who is also known as Jigsaw, is dead. There have been a few copycat killers and everyone knows about this criminal mastermind. Here we start at a 4th of July parade. A man gets bumped into by another guy who then steals a woman’s purse. The man watches and he turns out to be a police officer, Detective Marv ‘Boz’ Boswick (Dan Petronijevic). He gives chase and it takes him into a tunnel under the ground. Boz is then knocked out while searching for the criminal.

When he wakes up, he is suspended over train tracks. There is a contraption on his tongue and television propped up for him to see. A masked individual appears on it, wanting to a play a game with Boz. It doesn’t end well, as you can imagine.

The movie then takes us to Zeke Banks (Rock). We see him as he robs a drug dealer and it turns out he is a detective undercover. He didn’t clear this with his captain, Angie Garza (Marisol Nichols) though so the operation’s cover was blown. To punish him, Zeke is given a partner. It turns out to be a rookie detective by the name of William Schenk (Minghella). Zeke isn’t happy, but he’s also secretly worried. He is considered a rat for turning in a dirty cop, so the rest of the detectives don’t take fondly to him.

Their morning is turned upside though when Zeke and his new partner go to the crime scene of what happened to Boz. They don’t know it’s him and back at the station, a package arrives for Zeke. There’s a flashdrive on it and shows a video of a spiral. There is also voice-over, cryptically informing them what happened to their fellow officer. Everyone knows it is another Jigsaw copycat. Zeke decides to follow the video to the courthouse. It is there they find something in a box along with Boz’s badge. This gets their attention. It becomes a full-scale operation to get to the bottom of what happened to their fellow detective and stop this new copycat. This version of Jigsaw is targeting police officers and it might have something to do back in the time when Zeke’s father, Marcus (Jackson), was the captain. It was a much different time, but someone remembers.

That is where I’m going to leave my recap for this movie as I don’t want to break it down too far or give away too many details. What I find interesting here is that this movie decides to get away from the story we’ve been seeing with the original run as well as the prequel, Jigsaw. The mythology is there. Jigsaw is known for what he did and seemed to have a reign of terror. This detective group didn’t seem to work any of the cases from what I can see, which I liked. It allows this movie to start fresh.

Since they’re starting fresh, we’re able to establish new back-stories. Marcus Banks when he was the captain of this department is legendary. He’s the reason that William wanted to become one. I like that we establish Marcus’ character subtle and the more we learn, the more we see he might not actually be a good guy. He didn’t want Zeke to become a cop. He also didn’t like that Zeke turned in a dirty cop, knowing that it would ruin his career and make everyone around him distrustful. That is exactly the case. It does create problems with Detective Fitch (Ricahrd Zeppieri), Drury (K.C. Collins) and Kraus (Edie Inksetter). I do like that Boz stayed friends with Zeke, which sparks him to want to solve this case. If it was any of the rest, I don’t know that he would which works for me. It makes sense despite us seeing how much he despises the rest of the detectives around him.

Since I’m not going to go into spoilers here, I just briefly want to talk about the mystery of this movie. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know where this was going. I really haven’t looked to see if people were able to predict the reveal or not, but much like giallo films, if I guess it early then I usually check out. We get our red herrings here that I thought worked. Many of them I knew that was what they were there for. The reveal of the movie was effective for me. I do want to revisit this movie now that I know to see what I might have missed along the way as it does seem that a few people I’ve talked to knew.

What we come to expect with movies like this are the traps. I will say that I pleasantly surprised that we get some brutal traps here. There were a few times that I was cringing in my seat. It looked like they went practical with pretty much everything that they could and if there was CGI, it was well done. Something else that I’m glad here is that cinematography was clean as well. They have moved away from that greenish filter that some of the earlier installments had. I do like that they sent this during the summer in a heat wave. Everyone is sweating and they feel uncomfortable. I also like incorporating the pig masks, especially since the victims are police officers. Combining pigs with the heat make for some interesting aspects as well.

I feel from here I should go to the acting. I was wondering how Rock would work in this movie. To be honest though, I thought he plays his role well. He brings such anger to his character and his comedic timing is effective. Minghella is solid as this younger detective who is learning from Zeke. Jackson isn’t actually in this movie all that much. I think that works though. When he’s there, he commands the screen and I’m a fan of his. I didn’t realize that Nichols was Angie Garza. She is looking quite good here and the feistiness she adds to the character is fitting for a woman in her position. Aside from that, I thought the rest of the cast rounded this movie out for what was needed as well.

Then really the last thing to go into would be the soundtrack. This is something coming in that I knew a lot of people didn’t care for. Being that this is a spin-off, I’m fine with them moving away from the more traditional score we had for the original series. What I like is remixing the main theme as well as some other songs to have a different take. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the actual songs that were made for the movie that were used though. They seemed to take charge of a couple scenes and it wasn’t as effective for me. I still think the soundtrack works overall and the sound design is as well. For this latter part, it makes it more effective when people are being tortured for the believability.

So then in conclusion here, I’m glad that I finally got to see this movie. For me, I did feel that the entire story of Jigsaw was told and I like what they did here with a different take. There is a good mystery that worked for me and it had me guessing until the end. I thought the acting was good. The effects and the traps that are featured here were solid. My only issue here is that they take a bit of a backseat. The soundtrack wasn’t as strong as some in this series for me either. Other than that they though, we do have more story here to tell. I thought this was an above average movie for me. Not quite good, but hovering just below that. If you like the Saw series, I would recommend giving this a viewing.


My Rating: 7.5 out of 10