MMT Minute Thoughts on SPIRAL

Out today in theaters is the latest addition to the Saw franchise, SPIRAL, starring Chris Rock, Max Minghella, Marisol Nichols, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Here’s the official synopsis: A criminal mastermind unleashes a twisted form of justice in Spiral, the terrifying new chapter from the book of Saw. 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.

It’s extremely sobering to note that it’s been almost 14 years since the release of the original “Saw,” which I still believe is the better movie in this franchise. It was original, enrapturing, and clever, three adjectives that I cannot freely give to this most recent release.

First and foremost, the opening scenes indicated the film didn’t appear sure of what it wanted to be – comedy or suspense/horror? Chris Rock, in all his comedic fashion, performs a whole minute routine – that’s quite hilarious I must admit – about Forrest Gump and Jenny’s treatment of him.

And the initial music/soundtrack choices made me believe I was settling in for a “Bad Boys” or “Ride Along” experience rather than a spooky entry into the “book of Saw.” It was distracting and didn’t elicit a suspenseful mood at all.

Also, the initial scenes with both Rock and Jackson added more levity to a film that seemed to be struggling with tone from the outset.

That being said, there are several good jump scares to be experienced, and of course there is gore for days as to be expected.

Unfortunately, the slow, dramatic moments in “Spiral” just aren’t believable and I couldn’t take Rock seriously as the “shrewd detective” – especially when he entered the film so humorously – so the big reveal and climax were a major let down.

All in all, “Spiral” is at its best with the rationale and messaging behind why the targets are chosen, and the ways they are targeted, and there are some horrid moments that are thrilling. But the film misses the mark with its overall tone and lack of ingenuity.

I rate it 2.5 out of 5 on the MMTrometer.

SPIRAL was released today in theaters everywhere.

Until next thought, Thomasena


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