Movie Review: Spiral (2021)
Synopsis: Years after the Jigsaw Killer murders were solved; a copycat killer emerges with some new deadly "games." This time, however, the killer seems to be specifically targeting members of the police department. Detective Zeke Banks is assigned to lead the investigation, but things get personal when his rookie partner is murdered, and his father appears to be the primary suspect.
Review: My wife is a big fan of the Saw movies (I am OK with them but am not as big of a fan) so, when I came across this film, which is based on the Saw franchise, I added it to our library. And, when we finally had time to watch a movie yesterday evening, this is the one I picked out.
To be honest, I started out somewhat skeptical of this film. Typically, when a movie is based on a more popular film/franchise but also isn't a sequel, that leaves the door open for some weak copycats. As it turns out, this movie ended up being much better than it could have been but still wasn't as enjoyable as the films it was trying to mimic.
I think one of my biggest problems with this film is the way it tells the story. I normally don't like films that are told through a flashback but, in this case, I kind of feel like it would have helped. Telling the story as it happened (with a few expositional flashbacks mixed in) resulted in the film becoming a bit too predictable, at least in my opinion. I had no issues figuring out who the killer was or that person's motive, especially since it was just police officers being attacked.
The killer's "games" also lacked a certain something, at least when compared to the Saw movies. Yes, they were just as graphic (the first one probably shouldn't have been watched while we were eating) but they also didn't seem to have the same reasonable stakes the Jigsaw Killer's traps had. Basically, even if the person managed to free themself, they likely were going to wind up dying anyway, making any efforts to "reform" the victims a moot point.
I also found it difficult to like Zeke Banks (Rock). It might have been the shock of seeing Chris Rock playing a non-comedic role or maybe the constant profanity coming out of his mouth, but I just couldn't think of him as the hero in this story. A lot of the problem, I think, is he just seemed to have one emotion - anger. Seeing him get into fits of rage (throwing in as many f-bombs as possible) got kind of dull after a while, especially since it never really amounted to anything that had any real impact on the movie.
Final Opinion: Some of the death scenes are pretty gruesome but that's about the only thing this film has in common with the Saw movies it is based off of. I won't tell you to avoid watching it, but I will tell you to have lowered expectations.
My Grade: C