Review: ‘Spiral: From the Book of Saw’ Is a Fresh Take On a Familiar Franchise

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Spiral: From the Book of Saw, the ninth installment in the Saw franchise, is finally here, and Saw fans will want to add it to their watchlist. The movie follows Detective Zeke Banks as he, his partner William, and esteemed police veteran Marcus team up to find a serial killer terrorizing the city, echoing its gruesome past. As they investigate, Zeke soon finds himself caught in the middle of the killer’s game.

One of the standout elements of the movie is the way it focused more heavily on its central storyline. Similar to the movies that came before it, Spiral included flashbacks to help inform certain events. But unlike its predecessors, it stays with Zeke working the main case and is easier to follow. Every trap has a specific purpose that fits nicely into the game. And while they can be grisly (I mean, of course), not a single bit of story is sacrificed in the name of gore.

Another aspect I appreciated was the emphasis placed on the characters, including the main trio of Zeke, William, and Marcus, Captain Angie Garza, and the other main detectives working the case. Spiral thrives in its character development, allowing viewers the chance to connect with and become invested in the characters. The movie provides a deeper look at some of their histories and how those pasts continue to inform the versions viewers are first introduced to.

Of course, I can’t mention the characters without discussing the actors that brought them to life. First, Chris Rock and Max Minghella as Zeke and William, respectively, offer an entertaining buddy cop dynamic that offers some relief from the underlying tension. Meanwhile, Rock and Samuel L. Jackson, who plays Zeke’s father Marcus, bring an interesting and complex father-son relationship to the screen. Marisol Nichols portrays Captain Garza, who’s tough and takes her job seriously but also demonstrates compassion. Each actor brings something unique to the table with their characters that will have viewers rooting for them.

Spiral offers a more palpable movie in the franchise for those who struggle with the intense gore of the original movies (but don’t let that fool you), while still paying homage to its roots. It balances its humor with its more serious elements in a skillful manner. It’s full of nail-biting suspense that keeps viewers hooked, building to a shocking and satisfying (if not also slightly frustrating) ending. Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger wrote a solid screenplay that only bolsters the long-established canon. Director Darren Lynn Bousman returns to bring a strong vision to life. Overall, Spiral is a fresh yet familiar addition to the Saw franchise, and it’s a bloody good time.

Spiral: From the Book of Saw is now in theaters.

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By Julia
Julia is a writer/editor/content assistant for Nerds who joined the team in 2019.
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