I went into this film with fairly low expectations and, honestly, I’m glad that I did because I ended up enjoying this film very much.
The fact that Chris Rock wanted to move into the horror genre so badly that, when nobody would cast him in a horror film, he decided to pitch and produce his own is a power move, honestly. But, he proved to do fairly well. I was pleasantly surprised with his performance as the film went on. In the beginning, it was very hard for me to separate Rock from, well, hisself. At first, all I could hear and see in my head was that damn zebra he played in the Madagascar series. But, as the film began to pick up, I soon stopped seeing (and hearing) Chris Rock and began seeing his character, Detective Zeke Banks.
Aside from the acting, the film itself was a little all over the place. It very much felt like there were two films being made, one that was a detective murder mystery with social commentary and one that was the usual “torture porn” we’ve all come to expect with any film related to the Saw series. Those two just didn’t blend together as well as they could have. Had the filmmakers gone more in the direction of Se7en then I would feel differently, because Se7en perfectly blends the two. Spiral felt more like it was using the Saw films as a jumping off point since that particular franchise already has a fan base. And, honestly, that was smart on Rock’s part, as far as guaranteeing some sort of audience.
The filmmakers clearly had something to say in this film in regard to the police and, I must say, I did find myself siding with the villain at certain points. I mean, clearly what the villain is doing is wrong but, like, how wrong is it? The film was predictable, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable. Spiral paid homage to the original Saw film, while making it it’s own film. The use of a nonlinear timeline in some parts helped to keep the viewer intrigued.
My final conclusion about Spiral: From the Book of Saw is that, all this time, what the Saw films needed was Samuel L. Jackson.