Cast: Chris Rock, Max Minghella, Samuel L. Jackson
Release Date: July 20, 2021
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 6.5/10 Disc Rating: 8.5/10
A criminal mastermind unleashes a twisted form of justice in Spiral, the terrifying new chapter from the book of Saw. Working in the shadow of his father, an esteemed police veteran (Samuel L. Jackson), brash Detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks (Chris Rock) and his rookie partner (Max Minghella) take charge of a grisly investigation into murders that are eerily reminiscent of the city’s gruesome past. Unwittingly entrapped in a deepening mystery, Zeke finds himself at the center of the killer’s morbid game.
Please Note: Lionsgate Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
‘Spiral: From the Book of Saw’ follows dedicated detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks (Rock) and his rookie partner (Minghella) as they investigate a series of increasingly familiar deaths which seem to be connected to the killings of the infamous Jigsaw killer years prior. With Jigsaw long dead, a copycat killer seems certain, but the game becomes even more dangerous when they soon realize that the new killer appears to be targeting corrupt cops, with some strangely convenient clues pointing towards other law officials including Zeke’s own esteemed police veteran father Marcus Banks (Jackson). With the majority of their department in jeopardy and cops dropping more frequently, Zeke will have to do everything in his power if he stands any chance of unlocking the killer’s identity and stopping further deaths.
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II, III, IV) from a screenplay by Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger (Jigsaw), Bousman does a great job at the helm of ‘Spiral’ bringing his unique style and tension back to the franchise and always keeping the ride looking gorgeous in the way it’s shot. The film also features a notable cast that includes Chris Rock (TV’s Fargo), Max Minghella (Horns), Marisol Nichols (TV’s Riverdale) and Samuel L. Jackson (The Hitman’s Bodyguard) along with more; the majority of which offer pretty solid, if not at least decent performances in each of their respective roles overall.
‘Spiral: From the Book of Saw’ is an enjoyable new chapter in the franchise that largely stands by itself and pays homage to the previous films more than directly connects to them, bringing a new general story and collection of characters and crafting a somewhat fresh approach to the material. All while still delivering the elaborate traps and cringe-inducing carnage (unfortunately the release doesn’t include an uncut/unrated version featuring the added gore cut from the film to receive an R rating, but Bousman does discuss the need for a dozen submissions to the MPA and various cuts within on the disc’s audio commentary track that he’s featured on) that fans have come to expect from the films, as well as some twists and turns along the way; even if some may be fairly predictable from early on.
Perhaps one of the most notable aspects of ‘Spiral’ is the beautiful manner in which it’s filmed, utilizing bright, vivid and even neon colors throughout that give it a fitting sense of style and beauty that balances with the grim nature and bloody violence in a way that manages to work far better than you might expect. It may not be the best installment in the long running franchise, but it brings a fresh touch to the series while still serving up the elaborate traps and carnage we’ve come to expect. I would strongly encourage any ‘Saw’ fans out there who haven’t yet had the pleasure of ‘Spiral’ to make a point of giving it a chance at your earliest convenience. It may not be perfect, but it’s also far from terrible and has plenty to offer within that fans are almost guaranteed to appreciate.
Overall, ‘Spiral: From the Book of Saw’ is a fun, brutal and generally well done new installment in the ‘Saw’ franchise that changes up some of the basics and tries to bring some new elements to the table, while still making certain to deliver on the key areas of the series that fans love and for the most part it largely succeeds aside from a few hiccups. ‘Spiral: From the Book of Saw’ is definitely recommended, especially for fans of the franchise and genre fans in particular. Those who don’t have a high tolerance for graphic violence and torture will naturally want to avoid this one, but if you enjoy the series as a whole you’ll probably at least have quite a bit of fun with ‘Spiral’. At the absolute least it should be worth ninety minutes of your time and the price of a rental one random evening when you happen to have some free time.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Spiral: From the Book of Saw’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks outstanding in every way and provides a beautifully sharp, clean and vibrantly colored presentation from start to finish without any problems or faults to be uncovered throughout. It holds up flawlessly even during the numerous darkly lit and fast moving moments, never allowing anything occurring onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a phenomenal high definition video presentation from Lionsgate that is nothing short of stunning and should absolutely thrill fans and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack is equally wonderful and delivers a crisp, clean and consistently hard hitting audio presentation throughout. It constantly takes full advantage of all seven available channels in order to send music, screaming and crowd chatter, along with a great deal more whipping throughout the various speakers regularly and never resulting in any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously becoming distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a fantastic Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that provides plenty of extra fun and tension to the viewing experience and sounds magnificent every step of the way.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Spiral: From the Book of Saw’ features some noteworthy extras that fans of the film and the franchise as a whole should enjoy. Included on the release are ‘2 Audio Commentary’ tracks; the first being an ‘Audio Commentary with Director Darren Lynn Bousman, Co-screenwriter Josh Stolberg and Composer Charlie Clouser’ and the second an ‘Audio Commentary with Producers Oren Koules and Mark Burg’. We are also treated to the multi-part Behind the Scenes Documentary ‘The Consequences of Your Actions: Creating Spiral’ which takes an in-depth look at bringing the film to life and discussing the franchise as a whole, featuring interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more (running approximately 59 minutes in length). The release also features a couple of Behind the Scenes Featurettes: ‘Drawing Inspiration: Illustrated Trap Breakdowns’ (running approximately 9 minutes) and ‘Decoding the Marketing Spiral’ (approximately 6 minutes). The ‘Theatrical Teaser Trailer’ and the full ‘Theatrical Trailer’ for the movie (approximately 2 minutes each) are also included.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 6.5/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
‘Spiral: From The Book Of Saw’ is Now Available to Own on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from Lionsgate Home Entertainment
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