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Spiral: From the Book of Saw | Review

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It’s quite a relief to be able to say that the ninth film in a horror franchise is actually pretty entertaining and not completely terrible for once. Most horror franchises start to drop in quality as the sequels keep getting churned out and it was definitely looking like the Saw franchise was heading in that direction after the last few films. Spiral: From the Book of Saw isn’t really Saw 9 and its place within the franchise isn’t quite the same as the many sequels but it’s a turn for the good. It’s not amazing but it’s an entertaining film with enough kills and enough gore to keep you engaged right the way through, even if it never reaches the level of the first two Saw films.

Spiral introduces a whole new set of characters including Chris Rock’s police detective Zeke Banks, and him and his rookie partner are tasked with a dark investigation trying to stop whoever’s out there killing cops. And thankfully, the Saw writers have learnt that not every single story has to link back to John Kramer. The new killer seems to be a Jigsaw copycat that’s playing gruesome games with people but he’s still using some really horrible traps.

As far as the traps and the kills go, Spiral has some of the best in the entire franchise. The kills are brutal and bloody and they’re really inventive and outside the box like we’ve come to expect from the traps in the franchise. But one thing Spiral does really well, and one of the reasons why it’s much better than almost all of the Saw sequels that have come before it, is because it’s not complete torture porn. Yes, there’s lots of gore in this and Saw fans will get what they’ve come to see but, there’s a very strong focus on plot and on the characters and it exists as much more of a film in its own right. Some of the previous instalments in the franchise have felt like pure torture porn; there’s not always a particularly good plot, the characters are never likeable and it’s just complete violence and gore. Whereas Spiral strips that back enough that it stands as a police crime thriller film on its own. But it does still has lots of gruesome murders that fans of the franchise love to see so much.

However, one of the biggest problems with Spiral is the writing. There are quite a few times, particularly earlier on, where the film tries to be quite funny and make lots of jokes, and all credit to Chris Rock for trying to inject a bit of humour into the franchise, it’s just that a lot of the jokes didn’t land and didn’t quite do it for me. Some of them did and some were quite funny, but on the whole the humour felt out of place. Additionally, one of the best things about the first film was the incredible ending and the big twist. Spiral tries to create a big twist except it’s just glaringly obvious. Within the first 25 minutes or so I had already figured out what the twist was and where it was going. Granted, I didn’t work out everything and it was still exciting seeing it play out, but when you can work out who the murderer is very early on, the ending doesn’t pack the same punch as it should.

In terms of the cast, Chris Rock does bring some freshness and some new life to the franchise that it had been lacking for a while. It’s really good that the first film in the franchise without Tobin Bell and without the Jigsaw killer is entertaining and does still work. It’s very excited to see that Samuel L. Jackson is in the film playing Chris Rock’s dad however he’s not in it a huge amount and it’s only really towards the end where he features a bit more prominently so that was slightly disappointing.

Spiral: From the Book of Saw is an entertaining and enjoyable film with some really great kills but it is let down by its predictability and the fact that it’s not always as tight and tense as a thriller like this should be. That being said, when you reach the final few minutes and the Saw theme music comes on, you know sh*t’s about to go down!

★★★☆☆

Spiral: From the Book of Saw is released in US Cinemas on 14th May and in UK cinemas on Monday 17th May.

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HORROR

The Exorcism | Official Trailer

A troubled actor begins to unravel while shooting a horror film. His estranged daughter wonders if he’s slipping back into his past addictions or if there’s something more sinister at play.

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Genre:

Horror, Thriller

Release Date:

June 7, 2024

Director:

Joshua John Miller

Cast:

Russell Crowe, Sam Worthington, Samantha Mathis

Plot Summary:

A troubled actor begins to unravel while shooting a horror film. His estranged daughter wonders if he’s slipping back into his past addictions or if there’s something more sinister at play.

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HORROR

Trap | Official Trailer

A father and teen daughter attend a pop concert, where they realize they’re at the center of a dark and sinister event.

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Genre:

Crime, Horror, Mystery

Release Date:

August 9, 2024

Director:

M. Night Shyamalan

Cast:

Josh Hartnett, Hayley Mills, Marnie McPhail

Plot Summary:

A father and teen daughter attend a pop concert, where they realize they’re at the center of a dark and sinister event.

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HORROR

Speak No Evil | Official Trailer

A family invited to spend a weekend in an idyllic country house, goes from a dream vacation to a psychological nightmare.

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Speak no Evil [credit: Universal Pictures]

Genre:

Drama, Horror, Thriller

Release Date:

September 13, 2024

Director:

James Watkins

Cast:

James McAvoy, Aisling Franciosi, Dan Hough

Plot Summary:

A family invited to spend a weekend in an idyllic country house, goes from a dream vacation to a psychological nightmare.

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