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Thursday, June 3, 2021

Review: Spiral: From The Book Of Saw


Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Screenplay: Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger

Year: 2021

A series of deaths revive the panic of a city's past by being similar to those perpetrated by the serial killer known as Jigsaw. Ezekiel, a volatile detective, and his rookie partner are tasked with investigating the series of gruesome murders. The investigation sends both policemen in a spiral that increasingly goes deeper into the nucleus of the police department where they work.

"Spiral: From the Book of Saw" is one of the most anticipated releases in the horror genre for this year, after the closing of theaters due to the pandemic delayed its premiere. All the known information so far led us to think that this new chapter in the Saw franchise would be a well-deserved breath of fresh air after how worn and absurd its plot became as the series lengthened. At the same time, it seemed willing to rescue what made this franchise great: the wicked games, the extreme gore, and the presence of one of the best directors the franchise had, Darren Lynn Bousman (“Saw II”, “Saw III”, “Saw IV”, “St. Agatha”).

At another time, I would have been skeptical about seeing the name of Chris Rock involved in this film, but after the success of Jordan Peele, another comedian who jumped to horror, I was very curious. After seeing the film, I can say that I am not a fan of his work, but he knows how to carry his character and not clash with what the film asks for, without leaving any traces of his work as a comedian. The rest of the cast falls in the same line: they fulfill their roles well without spectacular.

The plot of "Spiral: From the Book of Saw" unfolds like a police drama, where a police department tries to find a murderer who has directed his attacks on the same department. From early on, they clarify that this murderer is not the famous John Kramer, also known as Jigsaw, but that he is another person inspired by the work and philosophy of the previous character. While I must admit I missed some of the character's traits, it's also refreshing to see that the franchise moves on from this well-worn character and does so in good shape. 

Aside from being a non-direct sequel to the other films in the Saw franchise, "Spiral: From the Book of Saw" serves as a tribute to the early films. Scenes that became iconic in the series are used as tribute and inspiration, without being copies and in different contexts. Similarly, a lot of attention is devoted to games and the vindication that should be behind them, as well as the extreme gore and the excellent practical effects that accompany them to make them as visually painful as possible. 

"Spiral: From the Book of Saw" is a non-direct sequel to the story that stars John Kramer, also known as Jigsaw, but it knows how to part with this character and the worn-out ideas that had led the franchise to a dark hole. However, it recognizes the franchise’s greatness and pays tribute to it while introducing its own ideas. The traps, the gore, and the twists and turns are of the same quality that we are used to seeing in this series of films, especially the first ones, and it leaves the way ready for a sequel, which, after seeing what has been achieved, I will look forward to it.

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