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MOVIES: Spiral - Review



Spiral: From The Book of Saw is the latest entry in the Saw franchise and to be honest, it’s the first one that I’ve seen. I can only conclude that previous entries must be better, because a hit, this is very much not – Chris Rock anchors a horror movie that plays out like an extended Criminal Minds episode where everyone forgot to tell the director they were on network TV – the film goes all in on the gore in the opening act with a gruesome scene that will quickly be forgotten by the end – mainly because of the rinse and repeat repetitiveness of the film’s shock-calm-shock structure, you know what you’re going to get when you’re going to get it and there’s little in the way of surprise, even the villain is obvious from the second they walk on screen – you know who it is and the film doesn’t even try to hide it, it’s painfully obvious despite any attempts of misdirection.

There’s a fascinating criticism of the institution of the police which is Spiral: From the Book of Saw’s biggest strength – its damming portrayal of corrupt cops and the flawed system that makes them corrupt due to their policy of internal loyalty makes for a harrowing storyline – and it seems that the film is at its best when it’s in police procedural mode, less so than in horror – because there’s no kind of suspense at all and any tension is taken away from you because you know what’s going to happen before the characters do. Everything is predictable from the opening act to the last and Spiral runs out of tricks after its opening scene – it struggles to keep reinventing itself and can’t really muster up any form of a resolution to its ending, instead deciding to tease a follow-up that presumably will never come.

Spiral: From the Book of Saw is hard to recommend, I enjoy good well-made horror as much as the next person (check out my review of A Quiet Place Part II) and I love that it is leading its resurgence in cinemas and it was good to be back with a packed crowd of cinema-goers watching this on a Friday night after I had my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine earlier that day – but Spiral runs before it can walk, and is best left avoided, even for devotees of the franchise.

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