Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman
Written by Josh Stolberg, Peter Goldfinger
Chris Rock, Max Minghella, Marisol Nichols, Samuel L. Jackson
Budget $20M Box Office $36.3M
IMDb 5.3/10 Rotten Tomatoes 36% Metacritic 40/100
As you can see from the numbers above, the “professional” critics have not looked upon this film too kindly. I did not look up their reviews and truly, I don’t want to. I watched this movie with some pretty high expectations. The fact that we are coming out of the Saw franchise and this is a kind of spinoff of that franchise, those are some big screens to fill.
Almost all of us have seen at least one Saw movie, probably the first one or the last one, Jigsaw. Both films did very well at the box office and yet the critics gave those two movies about the same scores as this movie. I honestly believe that don’t employ any horror lovers as critics and therefore, horror will always get low ratings in general from these outlets.
However, if you look at the “user ratings”, those are much, much higher, showing that average people are enjoying these films. While this film Spiral didn’t gross near as much at the box office as the first or last film did in the Saw franchise, this film did in fact make money, about $16 million in profit. The other films I have mentioned each made approximately $100 million at the box office, give or take a little here and there. So no, this film didn’t do as well.
Still, it has all the beautiful and macabre elements of what we have come to expect from the epic Saw movies. We have big time actors. We have a solid plot. We have even more gruesome, gory and horrifying traps. Nothing has been repeated or replicated. This film stands on its own. And it’s a good film.
Like I said, I went into watching this with high expectations and I personally feel that those expectations were satisfied. And I will tell you why. But I am only going to give the necessary information in order to keep from spoiling it for those who haven’t seen it yet.
Detective Banks (Chris Rock) is a wild cop with an urge to do the right thing, no matter what the cost. His father Chief Banks (Samuel L. Jackson) has long retired from the department and a new Captain (Marisol Nichols) is now running things. Banks is considered a reckless rogue kind of cop. There are also other reasons that his fellow officers don’t like him. He ratted out his own partner to Internal Affairs for killing an eye witness. This never bodes well for an officer that is eventually going to need to call for back up.
Then he gets assigned a rookie partner to train, in theory to try to help calm him down a bit. Their first case is a victim. A man caught in a terrifying upgraded version of a Jigsaw game. After that, tapes start showing up at the precinct for Banks to listen to and watch and bodies are falling left and right.
There’s a new psycho on the loose and Banks has a very small window of time to catch him. Will he get the chance to come face to face with his foe? You’ll have to watch to find out.
I thought, despite the bad scores from the critics, that this was a very well-done spinoff. They didn’t rely on a whole lot from the franchise except the spiral symbol and the abhorrent traps that are inflicted upon the victims. But it is all original and that made for a very captivating viewing.
It was a little different seeing Chris Rock in such a serious role but don’t think for a second that quick witted, snappy, one liner comeback attitude is still there. Maybe he just can’t help himself. But he does pretty well in this role in the film.
Of course, we always love Samuel L. Jackson. I mean, how can you not???
The other actors were also a refreshingly strong cast for a spinoff. They all carried their parts in the film extremely well.
The writer of the film has a very active, vivid and fantastically morbid imagination. You’d have to in order to come up with these traps and then the messages that accompany them.
I was every bit as satisfied with this film as I was with any film in the Saw franchise.
I would recommend this to any horror lover. The gore is great, effects are well done, plot has no obvious holes, acting is good, some big names in the film, amazing traps for the victims. It’s definitely worth the watch and I can assure you this is a movie I am glad I have and I will be watching it multiple times. I am also anxious for the next one to come out because I think we are looking at a continuation of the franchise.