- Jose Cadena
SPIRAL REVIEW: THE 9TH CUT IS THE DEEPEST
Chris Rock’s new comedy is a total scream. Wait, let me do that again - Chris Rock’s new HORROR film is a total scream. Yes, superstar comedian Chris Rock could be a bonafide Horror star by the end of Spiral: From the Book of Saw’s theatrical run. Considering Rock is credited as an executive producer on the project, it’s safe to attribute at least some of the film’s accomplishments to the star himself.
Aside from obvious star power (along with Samuel L. Jackson and Riverdale’s Marisol Nichols,) Chris Rock brings a verve and presence not seen in a Saw lead since the 2004 original. However, his high energy performance is a double-edged sword with a few dramatic or intense sequences feeling awkwardly over-acted. Jackson, on the other hand, does exactly what a trademark Jackson role sets out to do (which is fine and good.) Nichols is a standout with her turn as a ferocious police captain.
Storywise, Spiral is an upgrade from its unnecessarily complex predecessor Jigsaw. Focusing on a singular storyline makes the Saw formula thrive, leaving more space for the goods that Horror fans come for such as gore and suspense. These new traps accompany a terrifying new puppet complete with a uniquely chilling voice. What works best about this new figure is their androgyny, leaving everyone to be a suspect.
Spiral’s stakes definitely feel higher than previous Saw movies. Our new Jigsaw copycat ambitiously targets systemic injustice and the film successfully avoids having this come off as a pandering element. Personally, we do not condone “copaganda” nor the belief in there being “good cops” (because ALL cops are compliant with an oppressive system.) Yet, a revenge tale against police corruption is a positive change in the Saw universe. It’s worth noting that Spiral also doesn’t go for the cheap shot of copying and pasting headlines of racist police brutality and portraying them on screen. As far as body Horror goes, this is an exciting rush for any Horror fan.