Spiral Movie Review
Just when you thought the torture porn genre had run its course, the Saw franchise returns with Spiral, a movie that continues the series’ tradition of poor direction, wretched acting, and overall inert awfulness. Adding Chris Rock, despite lots of squinty eye-ing things, doesn’t help.
I appreciate gore as much as the next horror fan, but the gratuitous violence on display here, coupled with the sheer shoddiness of everything around it, makes for an extremely unpleasant experience.
Spiral is one of those movies you can tell is going to be awful in the film’s opening moments, when director Darren Lynn Bousman, returning to some form of halfhearted relevance after he made Saw IV back in 2007, introduces us to the same chaotic, amateurish camawork and directorial style the franchise is for some reason known for. The acting is bad from the beginning, and the opening murder is more gross than clever.
As an anti-fan of the franchise, if that isn’t clear, the only reason I agreed to watch and review Spiral, against my better judgment, was the morbid curiosity of seeing what funnyman Chris Rock could do in a serious role. I had sort of forgotten that I really don’t like Chris Rock as an actor.
Rock is pretty damn bad here, though the writing doesn’t help. He wobbles between stand up comedy and serious, squinty-eyed, angry detective mode, and neither are particularly pleasant to watch. Rock spends most of his time shouting and being an asshole, as if he didn’t even read the script but watched some bad cop shows for a week straight while riding the bus to set for inspiration.
But Spiral really isn’t Rock’s fault. It’s just a bad movie with few if any redeeming qualities. It clicks into gear a bit in the final act, but by then it’s too little, too late. The killer’s reveal is a “so what,” though the film’s final moments pack a mild punch.
Unless you’re a diehard Saw fan, and for some reason diehard Saw fans exist, let’s let Spiral spiral down the drain and move on.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.