Working in the shadow of his father, an esteemed police veteran (Samuel L. Jackson), brash Detective Ezekiel "Zeke" Banks (Chris Rock) and his rookie partner (Max Minghella) take charge of a grisly investigation into murders that are eerily reminiscent of the city's gruesome past. Unwittingly entrapped in a deepening mystery, Zeke finds himself at the center of the killer's morbid game.Written by
According to director Darren Lynn Bousman, a trap containing someone getting their face cut off had to be cut from the film in order for it to receive an "R" rating from the MPAA. Previous attempts resulted in a rating of NC-17. See more »
The Saw series has now officially spiraled out of control.
When I teach intro to film again, I will use Spiral (subtitled "From the Book of Saw") as an example of thriller and revenge themes coupled with torture porn. At least I know the Gitmo operatives will enjoy it. But like that real life torture chamber, the Saw series just won't quit.
Nothing is creative about the formulaic nature of the film although the father/son dynamic gives it a bid for the unusual. As for the torture, the Saw series (this in the 9th?) has been exemplary for creative variations of torture.
Most especially this iteration with the Dantean punishments fitting the crime. One ring of this hell, for instance, has the cop victim losing his tongue most horrifically for having lied regularly on the stand. In another, a victim can bypass electrocution in a tub by allowing a machine to rip off his fingers!
The Jigsaw copycat certainly has Jigsaw's flare for the macabre while Chris Rock playing homicide detective Zeke Banks underperforms as the only decent cop in sight heading the investigation into the sick murders of the men and women in blue. Samuel L. Jackson as his dad and former chief of police is just Jackson reprising his bad-ass persona from a hundred other movies.
After absorbing the variations of torture, you might notice this is just a conventional and unremarkable police-as-corrupt thriller. But then, Rock is a producer, so like the Jigsaw imitator, he allows the series to live again. Or die, if I can predict the drift of critical reviews.
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