Ever since the first SAW film, I’ve been a huge fan of the franchise as I never got tired of watching messed up people trying to escape from freaky torture devices and gruesome deaths that always have grave consequences if they live or die. After a few years of letting the series quietly die down, Chris Rock pitched an idea for a spin-off and now we have Spiral: From the Book of Saw. While it feels more like a police thriller than a SAW film, it mixes the two really well for a refreshing take on the film series.
The plot follows Detective Zeke Banks (Chris Rock), a good cop in a department of bad ones that give him a hard way to go everyday thanks to him turning in one of them years ago, much to the annoyance of his police chief father Marcus (Samuel L. Jackson). His father retired not long after that incident and now in the present day, fellow officers are being killed in gruesome ways just like Jigsaw used to do and the police dub the killer a copycat.
After his old partner is killed, Zeke is looking to find and take down this copycat, but not without getting an unwanted new partner in the process, Detective William Schenk (Max Minghella). It’s up to the two of them to find out who this killer is and their reason for killing these officers, as William is the only one Zeke can trust, before the whole precinct is murdered.
From the moment I started watching Spiral, I knew I was going to be hooked just like I was with the SAW films. I’m a sucker for police procedural shows as well, so mixing the terrifying torture machines and deaths in with this just made me enjoy this crazy ride even more. Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson are great and play off each other perfectly in the little time they have together here, with some small comedic moments and banter thrown in for good measure.
For the most part, the two are deathly serious and it’s nice to see Chris Rock act instead of doing his typical loud and crazy shtick he’s famously known for, though he does tend to sneak it in here and there. I’m so glad I was sent the 4K UHD Blu-ray for review, as the visuals are clean, bright, and colorful thanks to the HDR. The Dolby Atmos audio is just as great, as it makes sure you hear every line of dialogue and bone-crunching, grotesque sound perfectly.
The special features are just as thrilling as the film, starting with not one, but two audio commentaries for you to listen through. The first features director Darren Lynn Bousman, Co-Screenwriter Josh Stolberg, and music composer Charlie Clouser discussing the movie and the franchise, and how Clouser came up with the music. The second one has original SAW producers Oren Koules and Mark Burg go into coming back to produce this movie, some of the details of the production, anecdotes from the set and more.
“The Consequences Of Your Actions: Creating Spiral” delves deep into the making of the film with tons of cast and crew interviews, behind the scenes and post-production footage and more. “Drawing Inspiration: Illustrated Trap Breakdowns” has director Darren Lynn Bousman going over the traps used in the film and how they were made, and “Decoding The Marketing Spiral” goes over some of the fun promotional items used for all of the SAW films.
I’ve read that a lot of fans didn’t care for this entry into the SAW universe as it wasn’t “SAW” enough, but I loved every moment of Spiral: From the Book of Saw as it mixes the murder-mystery elements of a good police procedural with the terror the franchise is known for. Be sure to pick this up on 4K UHD Blu-ray and spiral down into the madness of thrills and chills this film offers.