Detective Zeke Banks (Chris Rock) is a man under stress. His decision to report a corrupt cop has made him enemies within his precinct and set him at odds with his father Marcus (Samuel L. Jackson) who also happens to be the former Chief of Police.
This tension has caused Zeke to be shot in the line of duty when fellow officers refused to respond to his calls for backup which even further inflamed a tense situation and made Zeke a Lone Wolf who is hesitant to work with others and has cost him his marriage.
Unfortunately for Zeke, a grisly murder happens and he is assigned a new partner named William Schenk (Max Minghella), to investigate what appears to be a copycat of the long-dead serial murder Jigsaw.
The fact that the victim is a fellow cop inflames the office and when Zeke is sent a package from the killer which promises more killings to follow as the corruption within his department needs to be stopped.
As the victims begin to mount, Zeke and William find themselves in a race against time to discover the identity of the killer and stop the killings.
Spiral: From The Book Of SAW is an interesting new entry into the franchise and, in keeping with Jigsaw, was more engaging than several of the last films in the main franchise as it gives audiences deeper characters and scenarios than normally shown in the series.
While the traps are as clever and gruesome as fans of the series would expect, the decision to target cops is an interesting choice, and in many ways reflects the growing cries for reforming the Police but does it in an extreme way and balances out that there are good cops in the mix who serve and protect.
Chris Rock also served as a Producer was good in the role and it was refreshing to see him play a darker and more dramatic character. While he still has moments of clever riffs, they are appropriately placed within the film and do not take away from the fact that Zeke is a troubled and driven individual.
The supporting cast is solid, and while I was able to identify the individual behind the killings fairly early, there were enough Red Herrings along the way that will keep audiences guessing.
Director Darren Lynn Bousman, who directed the second to the fourth film in the series, has made a solid return to the franchise and keeps the dark and dirty look of the film’s trap sequences. While they are gory, there is a cleverness to them that should delight fans of the Jigsaw films.
In the end Spiral has enough of what fans of the franchise expect and infuses some interesting new characters and scenarios to make one of the more complete and enjoyable entries in the series.
Gareth is the mastermind behind the popular pop media site Skewed and Reviewed. He lives in Arizona with his wife Em McBride.