Spiral (2021) Review

Certificate: 18

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Screenwriter: Josh Stolberg, Pete Goldfinger

Starring: Chris Rock, Samuel L. Jackson, Max Minghella

Genre: Horror, Mystery

Runtime: 93 Minutes

Language: English

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

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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. Written by Lionsgate

Lets get something abundantly clear right out of the gate.  Torture porn movies just aren’t my thing, so saying that, a lot of the previous instalments in the Saw franchise have also, not been my thing.  The first one was amazing, and boy what a twist at the end, and I kinda liked the second one, but after that they all started going a bit downhill.  And I think that feeling of lessening quality is shared among many people, so I didn’t have the best of expectations going into this film to start with.  So even though my two point five stars my seem a bit low, it is a whole lot more than I was expecting to give this film.

What changed my mind is that, this is not a ‘Saw’ film.  It doesn’t follow the same formula as the other films, and it tries to give the film a lot more plot and character development rather than just ram the entire runtime full of as much gore and eye watering torture as the audience can stomach.  Now, there are still a lot of the gore and torture don’t get me wrong.  The traps are pretty imaginative and each is well suited to it’s victim, but between these scenes, we have got a bit of storyline happening.  It isn’t much, but I did enjoy the mystery element, and piecing the information together a little at a time. 

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I do think that the pacing was a little off, and that if they were going to try and distance themselves from the original franchise by having this separate storyline running, they needed to give that storyline a little more time and develop in a little more.  The end in particular felt a little rushed, and too me, far too predictable.  With such a small cast of characters, and most of them dropping like flies, it becomes far too easy to work out who the killer is and what their motivations are.

Chris Rock is a competent lead, I am most used to seeing him in comedic roles, so it was great to see him try something a little different.  The humour in the script is very much his brand though, and sometimes he went a little too ‘Chris Rock’ and he seemed out of place in the film that he was in, but for the most part, the humorous writing helped to break up the grim and unsettling events, even if sometimes, it felt like the dialogue and the story that the writers wanted to tell, didn’t always match up.  Sam Jackson steals the show for me in everything he is in, get him to throw out more ‘Mother****ers’ than you can count, and you are guaranteed to get your audience 100% behind him.

I liked it a lot more than I thought I would.

‘Spiral’ is showing in cinemas in the UK now!

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