SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW (2020) Reviews and overview

 

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Spiral: From the Book of Saw is a 2021 released American horror-thriller about a criminal mastermind who unleashes a twisted form of justice.

Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (St. Agatha; Abbatoir; The Barrens; Saw II, Saw III and Saw IV). The screenplay was written by Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg (Jigsaw;  Sorority Row; Piranha 3D and Piranha 3DD, based on a storyline by Chris Rock. Produced by Mark Burg and Oren Koules and d

Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson (Snakes on a Plane, Deep Blue Sea, 1408, Oldboy, RoboCop, Kong: Skull Island) co-star in the movie alongside Max Minghella (Horns), Marisol Nichols and (Scream 2).

Reviews:

“Rock’s involvement brings some new blood to Spiral, but after a promising start, the film just becomes a pretty okay Saw movie with some bigger names than usual—one whose jaundiced lighting and procedural storytelling recall David Fincher’s Se7en more than anything. If the game was to see if a fresh take on a long-running franchise could survive being sliced and diced by the sequel machine, consider it lost.” AV Club

“While the film’s third act does pick things up in terms of intensity, the movie’s big “twist” actually seemed quite predictable […] Ultimately, Spiral offers fans of the franchise what they thrive for while throwing in more than a few ideas that makes it far better as an actual movie than any previous chapter.” Below the Line

” …bears more in common with Se7en than Saw, which might prove polarizing for longtime fans. The smaller scale means a smaller body count and also makes essential plot points easier to decipher ahead of reveals. Still, Rock provides compelling rooting interest in a caustic character with righteous anger, and the film has a distinct sense of humor that offsets some of its crime thriller grit.” Bloody Disgusting

“While it doesn’t do much in the way of mythology expansion, Spiral is a fresh return to form that reinvigorates the dormant franchise while being reverential to its legacy. It’s undeniably exciting to see Rock and Jackson playing in Jigsaw’s world, even if the plot is occasionally slavish to the established conventions.” Broke Horror Fan

” …I found Spiral better than the original if only because it never pretends to have an emotional core. Spiral knows we’re in it for the thrills, and so it rarely tries to be anything more than gory entertainment. With Rock throwing in jokes and the crime-thriller framework, there’s no overwrought melodrama here, and while the social commentary is so thin as to be non-existent, at least it never overshadows the cheap thrills that Spiral delivers.” Collider

” …shows off just how much more entertaining and impressive a sequel in the series can be when it focuses on story and character as opposed to unsettling the audience, but it fails to come out from under its own legacy, still culminating in an “unexpected” finale. Longtime fans will surely appreciate the new approach to the concept, yet it offers little to win over those doubtful about how much potential the concept ever had in the first place.” Comicbook

” …dishes out a handful of gruesome life lessons but also delivers up a wildly entertaining mystery that should keep fans guessing along the way. I’ll admit that I’ve always gone into all of the Saw films expecting to like them (or at least hoping to, in some cases), but I was not prepared for just how much I ended up loving Spiral.” Daily Dead

“There are definitely moments where Spiral gets the mix right between reverence to Saw‘s past and adding a fresh new touch. One particular moment involving a spin on a classic trap is sure to get fans applauding […] But these flashes of inspiration only serve to make the whole more disappointing, especially when Spiral tries the classic Saw ending and lacks the wow factor.” Digital Spy

” …for every stumble, the film manages to take two more steps forward. Scenes have a much better rhythm than before, and everything feels more significant and cinematic […] Pair that with one of the strongest base ideas for a Saw film in quite some time […] and the result just might be the best of the entire franchise.” Discussing Film

“The legendary “Live or die, make your choice” mantra stayed in my mind long after watching each of the films, including Spiral. With this new chapter, we are reminded of the genius and thought behind them, all that goes into making them more than just torture. With Spiral, there’s more blood, more complex characters, traps, and Chris Rock in the lead role. What more could you want?” First Showing

“That a formula as well-trodden as Saw’s can still surprise, delight, and make you feel like you need a quick shower after is impressive. But Spiral is also that rarest of reboots – one that will satisfy series die-hards and a whole new generation of horror nuts. Well played.” Games Radar

Spiral delivers when it comes to gore if that’s your thing, and appropriately dour aesthetics — but not much else. That’s a shame, because the story’s themes, from the unreformable nature of the police department to the cost of integrity in a space that values power above all else, could not be more relevant […] The movie also leaves a sour after-taste by somehow still ending with a black man dying at the hands of police.” The Hollywood Reporter

“A sequel that hopes to court Saw fans and mainstream audiences alike, Spiral: From the Book of Saw is likely to alienate them both. It’s a hollow imitation of the series, unable to meet its most basic visual and narrative expectations. It’s also a bad film in general, which tries to tell a socially relevant story that it can’t seem to handle.” IGN

” …Jackson’s presence barely registers, while Rock isn’t given all that much to do emotionally. He yells and throws his hands up in frustration. He delivers bits of stand-up that, in context, read like poor pastiches of Quentin Tarantino’s dialogue […] Unfortunately, the only real mystery in Spiral is what exactly Rock’s revolutionary idea was meant to be.” The Independent (UK)

” …the basic feel of the franchise hasn’t changed — it’s still ugly and cheap and thoroughly uninterested in getting branded as “elevated horror” — the idea to extrapolate Jigsaw’s schtick toward societal problems is a smart one. If nothing else, Spiral is the first Saw movie in a very long time that might leave people open to the idea of seeing another one.” IndieWire

“If you simplified the storyline to something without the need for Jigsaw references to the past that ultimately serve very little purpose, Spiral could have been an ingenious crime thriller that stood on its own two feet. Instead, it relies too heavily on franchise connections to tell the same old story we’ve essentially seen eight times before.” The Jam Report

Spiral is commendable in its effort to do something a little different and go back to the murder mystery element that was so prevalent in the original, but with a rather basic police procedural setup, poor pacing and a lack of iconic elements, this Saw sequel can’t escape the feeling that it’s missing one too many important pieces.” Killer Horror Critic

Spiral brings just enough newness to dupe those disillusioned with the franchise or those that never boarded the booby-trapped bandwagon in the first place into cautiously checking it out. Rock isn’t good, but he’s interesting. Jackson is a welcome addition […] Spiral might have rhetorical wrinkles that set it apart from its predecessors, but this franchise is still going around in circles.” Paste

Spiral takes a page from the eponymous ‘Book of Saw’, but it doesn’t follow the franchise formula to the letter. And what’s interesting is that this could split opinion down the middle – returning fans might not be fully satisfied, but newcomers may feel differently. For example: although the film is packed with Saw-like traps, there aren’t any particularly standout horror sequences in Spiral.” Radio Times

” …early on before everything goes pear-shaped, Banks repeatedly, tiresomely slips into Rock-inspired monologue mode. Only later, when Jigsaw 2.0 begins to wrack up a truly impressive body count does Rock-as-Banks finally begin to take the film he’s in seriously. By then, though, it’s too late to save Spiral from a flawed, ultimately unsuccessful attempt to revive a franchise…” Screen Anarchy

“The most frustrating thing about Spiral is that there is a better, smarter movie lurking beneath all the nonsense here; all the quick cuts and speed ramping scenes; all the terrible dialogue that’s shouted at full volume […] Those who enter thirsting for gruesome gore will get that, and then some. But they won’t get much else, save for a series of unintentionally funny scenes that strain credulity.” Slash Film

“The screenplay captures the grizzled-cop-movie tone and draws some memorable characters, but the storyline is rote, the mystery is frustratingly predictable, and the imaginative deaths are less imaginative than ever. Spiral sacrifices entertainment value for respectability and in the process doesn’t quite achieve either.” The Wrap

Release date:

Lionsgate has announced that the release date of Spiral: From the Book of Saw is moving forward and will be released on May 14th 2021 instead of the previously announced May 21st.

On May 25, 2021, Lionsgate announced that Spiral will stream exclusively on Starz, starting on October 8, 2021, in the United States. The next day, it was revealed that it will be released on PVOD on June 1, 2021, in Canada

Background:

Joe Drake, chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, said: “We think Samuel L. Jackson and Chris Rock along with Max Minghella and Marisol Nichols make this film completely special in the Saw canon and we can’t wait to unleash this unexpected and sinister new story on fans of this franchise. This is next level of Saw on full tilt.”

Previously, director Darren Lynn Bousman confirmed on Twitter (26 June 2019) that the new Saw reimagining movie was about to start shooting.

Variety first reported that actor-comedian Chris Rock and Lionsgate are collaborating on a Saw spinoff. Rock said: “I’ve been a fan of Saw since the first film in 2004. I am excited by the opportunity to take this to a really intense and twisted new place.”

Joe Drake, chairman of Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group, enthused about the new movie:

“When Chris Rock came to us and described in chilling detail his fantastic vision that reimagines and spins off the world of the notorious Jigsaw Killer, we were all-in,” said Drake. “Saw’ is one of the highest-grossing horror franchises of all time [grossing nearly $1 billion worldwide] and it’s one of Lionsgate’s most successful film series.

This upcoming film will still be as mind-bending and intense as all the previous Saw films. Chris conceived this idea and it will be completely reverential to the legacy of the material while reinvigorating the brand with his wit, creative vision and passion for this classic horror franchise.”

“Chris wants to put his own spin on the Saw franchise in the way Eddie Murphy put a completely fresh perspective on buddy-cop films with 48 Hours,” said Burg and Koules. “This new Saw is going to be an event film in the making for horror fans. It will have all of the twists and turns and hardcore layers that our fans expect directed by one of the masters of the craft, Darren Lynn Bousman. We can’t wait to get started.”

Budget:

$20 million (estimated)

Box office:

$36.5 million

First trailer:

Teaser:

Clips:

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