The film Saw, directed by James Wan, still lingers in my mind as if it were the first day. It is one of the few films that solidified my interest in horror and thriller cinema. I can never forget the moment when Jigsaw suddenly stood up at the film’s end and condemned Adam Faulkner, chained and trapped in pitch darkness. It was like the most ruthless punishment that could be inflicted, seen through the eyes of a 13-year-old child. The beauty of Saw was its ability to reach seven films without losing its essence. Each film was exquisite and captivating in its own way. However, the series definitely needed to end there. In fact, even Jigsaw should not have been done. Additional sequels made years later on top of an already elongated series, unfortunately, neither added anything to the legends nor preserved their value. We have experienced this many times. And now, Spiral.
Let’s briefly touch upon the plot… Jigsaw is dead, but a new person, influenced by his work, is killing police officers through imitation. All the victims belong to the police station where Detective Zeke Banks is stationed. A new killer has emerged, and the station is also trying to uncover why they have become the target.
Chris Rock personally pitched the project because he is a devoted Saw fan. Although he believed the project would be great, unfortunately, not everything turns out as imagined. I think we need to understand this: Saw is now an outdated concept by today’s standards. Although the series left a tremendous impact between 2004 and 2010, the subject matter is no longer as compelling. The magic was already broken with Jigsaw’s death. Making another Saw film a whole 10 years later, especially based on a copycat storyline, has unfortunately not been very appealing; we can even say it has been somewhat repulsive. As a fan of the series, I can clearly state that the Saw series has, unfortunately, become a story that has outlived its relevance.
Let’s take a look at the positive aspects within the Spiral itself. However, there are very few. It would have been great if Chris Rock could have been a police officer in one of the first seven films. He portrayed a troubled police officer with problems with his father in a marvelous way. Watching a more complex version of him within the first seven films would have been enjoyable. Apart from Chris Rock, unfortunately, there isn’t much else to praise in the film. The performances and direction are pretty ordinary and lackluster.
If you think the traps were what made the Saw series great, then, unfortunately, you are mistaken. Those traps had a philosophy behind them. They all carried the spirit of Jigsaw’s thoughts and were created to cleanse their victims of their sins. Of course, I am not condoning what Jigsaw did, but everything that happened throughout the seven films was built upon the concept of purification. Spiral, by individually killing police officers within the same station, reduces the concept to mere revenge and neglects the philosophical value of Jigsaw. Moreover, one couldn’t expect a copycat to completely extinguish the essence of it through revenge alone.
In summary… Spiral abandons the essence of Jigsaw’s philosophy, the purifying traps, and solely focuses on revenge, solely on killing. Due to its status as a copycat, perhaps it was intended for it not to embrace this philosophy, but this became the main reason for my dislike of the film. The director aimed to focus more on why the killer kills rather than who the killer is. However, this approach resulted in a film that only seeks violence, devoid of meaning.
Cast & Crew
director: Darren Lynn Bousman
writers: Josh Stolberg, Pete Goldfinger
starring: Chris Rock, Samuel L. Jackson, Max Minghella
USA | 2021 | 93 MINUTES |