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  • Writer's pictureMr. Pat

Spiral

Talk about sticker shock! I went to Publix today and a gallon of orange juice cost more than seven-money! I’ve lost my ability to even right now! Inflation is for the birds and Tampa has been hit especially hard by these ridiculous prices. So yeah… let’s talk about…

Spiral (2021)


This series holds a special place in my heart. Seeing the very first Saw movie was one of my favorite movie theater experiences. I was working at a small, five auditorium theater when it came out. Our building got most of the romcoms and kids' movies while the other theater across the way got the bigger ones. We also didn't have midnight showings at our place, so oftentimes on Fridays, we'd all go to the very large theater in Maumee after close. We all decided to go see Saw. I hadn't heard anything about it or even seen a trailer, but I thought it would be fun. Going into that movie, it was well before the hype and, it was the last time I'd ever been truly shocked, in a good way, while watching a movie. The years those movies came out were in alignment with the years I worked at a movie theater, so like I said, I'm nostalgic for the series despite the diminishing returns.


OK, Chris Rock is a detective in the fictional Metro City. He's not too well-liked by his fellow officers because he turned in a dirty cop years ago and it pumped the brakes on his career and was the reason he ended up getting shot while in the line of duty. Fast forward to now and cops are falling prey to the depraved games of a Jigsaw copycat. That kicks off an investigation led by Rock and his rookie partner William. If you've seen a Saw movie, you know all the beats the movie takes until we get to the end, so there's not too much to talk about plot-wise. The Saw franchise is well-established, you know what you're getting. A bunch of people who someone believes aren't living life to the fullest are kidnapped and then forced to play disgusting games. For the most part, your choice is to become horribly disfigured or die. Since this movie is a branch-off of the main story, it was able to do something different. In Spiral, the copycat killer is targeting dirty cops and the traps echo that. One cop lies under oath a lot so he has to rip out his tongue, another didn't lift a finger to help Rock before he got shot, so he has to tear out his fingers, the chief allowed the crooked stuff to happen so she must sever her spine because "there's no walking away from what you did." I really liked this twist in the formula. It was something new and we didn't have to wrestle with John Kramer's messiah complex and him justifying his actions when his games show he's a hypocrite. Don't get me wrong, I love Tobin Bell's character, but I don't want to hear people making Jigsaw into something he's not. Just because he believes his lies, doesn't mean the audience should! There's not too much else to say about the story, but it works because these movies all have a simple plot but extremely intricate endings. So let's talk about things on my mind after watching. This was Chris Rock's first horror movie and he did a really good job. In the beginning, I thought his acting was a little shaky but I think that was a me problem. I couldn't separate the Rock I'm used to seeing with his Detective Banks. There's a part where he's being chewed out by his boss and he yells a little bit. All I could see was Rufus from Dogma yelling, "What I just did gave me a fucking migraine!" As the movie progressed, I was fully invested in the character, not the actor playing him. Because of who Rock is, that's no small feat. The traps are about what you'd expect. They're brutal and inventive and the older I get, the more difficult it is to watch. I don't particularly like people trying to sever their own spinal column while burning hot wax drips on their faces, but I feel like I'm pot-committed with this series.

OK, I know, it's a Saw movie, people come for the torture, but they stay for the ending. So let's talk about it, don't worry, I won't give you spoilers. Let me tell you this, I'm not good at figuring out the endings in movies. My dad has the gift that he can point out who the killer is halfway through a movie and maybe it skips a generation and President Baby will get it. My dad even knew Kevin Spacey was Keyser Soze. I will guess everyone and keep changing my pick until the very end. This movie, I got it relatively early, and despite evidence popping up, I was still confident I knew who the killer was. The motivation was a surprise but I think they inadvertently telegraphed the killer's identity and no amount of misdirection was going to save it. So, it's one of two options; either the movie didn't do a very good job of hiding the identity, or I'm the World's Greatest Detective. I use Occam's Razor when looking for answers, so I think it's obvious the correct answer is option B.

One of my biggest problems with the movie is that it also had Samuel L. Jackson in it and he and Rock barely cross paths. The one normal conversation they do have is funny and in the little time they had, I liked their chemistry. It's a shame we couldn't have gotten more of them. My other biggest problem is the voice the baddie uses in recordings. I understand not wanting to use Tobin Bell's voice again, but they could have found something better than what they got. The things that Bell would say were scary, but what made it chilling was his voice, it got under your skin. This digitized voice doesn't come close. Apparently, while making the movie it took them forever to figure out a voice, changing it up almost up to the last minute. I can't imagine how bad everything else sounded if that's the one they went with. So after doing a little reading, the twist wasn't "who" but "why." I can kind of see it because it seems like a lot of people had the copycat pegged early in the movie. I don't know if the filmmakers made it intentionally obvious or if this is a face-saving excuse after the fact. Still, if you like Saw movies, you'll like this one. It takes the franchise in an interesting new direction and with how it ended, I wanted to see more from this little corner of the Saw universe although, sadly, I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen in the near future.


7 Dr. Chainsaws!


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