“Saw” franchise revived with “Spiral”

Zeke Banks (Chris Rock), and his partner, William Schenk (Max Minghella) investigate one of the murders happening in Spiral: From the Book of Saw.

Photo courtesy of IMDb.com

Zeke Banks (Chris Rock), and his partner, William Schenk (Max Minghella) investigate one of the murders happening in “Spiral: From the Book of Saw”.

The “Saw” franchise is on its ninth film, and the plot is still going strong with new plot lines and twists around every corner. “Spiral: From the Book of Saw” finally had its long awaited theatrical release on May 13. 

With the movie being from the book of “Saw,” we are beginning to stray away from the originals and bring some new ideas to the big screen.

“Spiral” is set several years later, as tapes are now USBs and another Jigsaw copycat is on the loose.

The film follows Zeke Banks (Chris Rock), who is usually a lone wolf, and his new partner, William Schenk (Max Minghella) as they investigate the new Jigsaw copycat. 

This time the copycat is targeting cops, but not just any cops — the bad cops. The ones the copycat feels have served an injustice. As Banks tries to solve the case, he realizes he might just be chasing his own tail.

“Saw” is known for the games in the movies, giving people the motives to live or die, in “Spiral” there were traps but not exactly games. The games and traps felt as though they were lacking, the players weren’t even trying and there was no suspense. While the complexity of traps seemed high, the scenes happened so fast that the desperation and edge-of-your-seat anxiety the series is known for wasn’t there. 

There was one trap about fingers, and it was shown so fast that I didn’t even understand how the trap worked before it was over. Usually the players have time to figure out what to do and to make a move, creating more of a game atmosphere. These were just plain and fast traps. 

While the plot of the “Saw” movies towards the end of the original franchise was getting kind of diluted, since this film is from the book of “Saw” and way in the future, the plot is able to be refreshed. This film was clearly designed for building up new plot lines and there are some tweaks that need to be worked out in any upcoming films.

While the twist ending was predictable from early on, the ending is left open for the opportunity to pick up the story lines and make more films. The ending cinematography was well done and the parallel made with a message from earlier in the film really brought it full circle. 

While I am the biggest “Saw” fan, I love them so much because of the connections they all have within each other — how the first “Saw” connects all the way to “Saw 7.” With Spiral, this was nonexistent. The film is completely on it’s own with just some of the basic outlines of what makes a “Saw” movie, a “Saw” movie. 

Chris Rock has taken an already established franchise and gave it that push to continue on in a new direction. Rock performed way better than expected in this film because sometimes the only thing I hear when I hear his voice is the zebra, Marty from Madagascar. But, if Rock can revive my favorite franchise, I’m all for it. 

There are a lot of metaphors and imagery placed throughout the film, but the “Saw” movie doesn’t have that. Compared to the original series, the messages here are very different and more directive. It’s the conversational piece we need today.

While I am looking forward to the next film, I hope that it wraps up loose ends from past “Saw” movies such as Dr. Gordon. This film is not my least favorite “Saw” movie, but it definitely isn’t in the top three. 

Rating: 3/5 stars