The Saw Franchise is one of the most bizarre film series in Hollywood. The first one is iconic with the follow up two being solid entries and a solid trilogy in general, and after that, James Wan (The Conjuring, Insidious, Aquaman, Fast and Furious 7) and Leigh Whannell (Invisible Man, Upgrade) who directed and wrote the first one while slowly backing out and being less involved in the franchise as the films went on, before it went off a cliff and became the “torture porn” that the Saw name is known for. We had consistently one a year until 2010, when Saw: The Final Chapter/Saw 3D, the seventh installment was supposed to wrap up the franchise until 2017’s Jigsaw tried to continue the franchise but received poor reviews. Then Chris Rock pops up, saying he is a fan of the franchise and has an idea for how the franchise can continue and here we are today with Spiral.
Chris Rock stars as a good cop, working with a department full of corrupt cops, who is trying to track down a new Jigsaw copycat killer who is killing all the corrupt cops in the city. The film also stars Samuel L Jackson, Max Minghella and Marisol Nichols.
It’s a weird coincidence that I referenced Saw in my last review for Mortal Kombat, however it was on my mind as I was rewatching the Saw films in preparation for this. I’ve always said that I think the franchise should go back to it’s more crime/thriller routes, which this film certainly does. It feels very much like Chris Rock wanted to do a 90s crime film (i.e. Seven) and this was a good opportunity for him to get a chance to do that and try and kickstart a franchise he enjoys again.
Spiral isn’t bad, it just doesn’t feel enough like a Saw film to get me to care enough. I’ll start with the aspects I like though, I think Chris Rock plays his character well, I like that he’s just a cop that wants to be on his own because he doesn’t trust anyone and he has a few moments of humour which really work for me. Samuel L Jackson is barely in the movie, I think it would’ve been fun to see more of him, purely because of who it is and he’s in a Saw movie which we’ll never get to see again.
But when you go to watch a Saw film, you expect elaborate traps in typical Saw fashion, ones that feel like that the characters can escape, but they just don’t feel the same, it feels like a completely different team. The reveals don’t hit the same, it straight up just feels like a crime film, not at all a Saw film and doesn’t need to be.
We already know we are getting a Saw 10 and that it’s in the works, whether that’s a sequel to Jigsaw or this film, we will have to see til closer to the time. I wouldn’t be surprised if James Wan and Leigh Whannell have a bit more of an involvement as they try to resurrect the franchise they made, by the inevitable return of the best part of any of the Saw franchise, Tobin Bell. But even bringing back Darren Lynn Bousman, who directed the solid entries 2 and 3, as well as 4 wasn’t quite enough to save Spiral for me.
What did you think of Spiral? and what do you want to see next from the world of Saw?
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