REVIEW: With new tricks and toys up its sleeve, “Spiral” isn’t exactly the best addition to the franchise

Thrills, chills, and kills aren’t enough to save this film from spiraling itself down the drain.


Poster courtesy of Lionsgate.

Daniel Pineiro, Staff Writer

When a mysterious death leaves behind a clue as to who the killer is, one detective and his rookie partner soon find themselves caught in a new game of horrors. As each fatal clue leads them closer to catching the killer, their past starts to catch up with them as well. It’ll take everything in their power to solve this case or it’s game over.

“Spiral: From the Book of Saw” is a Thriller/Horror film directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, whose previous works include Saw II, III, and IV.

With “Spiral” being the latest installment in the impressive nine-film franchise, “Spiral” has more negatives than positives going for it. From tonal differences to an obvious twist seen coming miles away, “Spiral” lends itself into the more forgettable sequel range than an interesting soft reboot.

For fans of the “Saw” franchise, this movie is drastically different from the other previous films as it heavily delves more into humorous dialogue than screams of agony. This could be partly because Chris Rock is the comedic leading man. Which in itself wouldn’t be a horrible casting decision, if this was “Grown-Ups 3” and not the ninth “Saw” film.

The film presents Rock’s character as the stereotypical overworked detective in a police department full of corrupt cops. Meanwhile, his character is a walking caricature of misogyny and abusive tendencies. Though humorous at times, his character felt completely out of place in a “Saw” related film with dated references to “Twilight” films and so on.

Every “Saw” film in the franchise suffers because each film tries to one-up the other with a bigger twist than the last, rather than focusing on creating a well-written plot. So it’s only fair, with “Spiral” being the youngest brother to the franchise, to delve into the same issue.

There are far too many characters introduced all to throw audiences off with who the killer is. After multiple corrupt police officers are killed off one by one and one horrendously obvious clue, it becomes extremely apparent who’s behind the new killings. Which only lends itself to an unsatisfying finale.

In the history of the franchise, there have been iconic traps like the reverse bear trap to the needle pit, which are what made the “Saw” franchise so popular today.

From tongues being ripped out to fingers being ripped out of their ligaments, gore was definitely the highest selling point of “Spiral.”

With very little homage to the original films, “Spiral” feels as though it could have been set in a different universe. Beyond a few macabre scenes and interesting cinematography, the film is certainly a more memorable example of what not to do for a “Saw” film.

Daniel Pineiro is a staff writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or @Danny_x101 on Instagram.