Spiral: From The Book Of Saw (18, 95 minutes)
“I would like to play a game.”
Beyond the shock value, the secret to the success of the Saw franchise was that, for the first three films at least, there was a definite narrative which was allowed to progress.
The Jigsaw killer as a character had a story arc rather than being just another one dimensional Jason or Michael Myers and because of that there was an element of interest other than how creatively someone could be dispatched.
But with the series barely cold in its grave, Saw superfan Chris Rock pitched the idea of a copycat killer to Lionsgate, who promptly made him the lead actor, producer and one of the writers, which has resulted in some characteristic Rock dialogue as he portrays a stereotypical maverick detective leading an investigation into a new villain’s grisly murders of the colleagues who already hate him for turning in his corrupt ex partner, in a twisted search for his own justice.
Then there’s the added bonus of getting Samuel L Jackson on board as Rock’s iconic former police chief dad, because it’s a dead cert that at least the scenes he’s in are going to work.
So it’s not as if Spiral doesn’t have things going for it. Rock’s performance for the most part really isn’t bad at all, but in a classic case of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, the priority appears to have been setting up a sequel rather than tightening up a screenplay which is far too predictable.
The “bigger picture” is painfully evident in the seemingly random cut to end credits which can’t even be bothered to round off what turns out to be just a badly edited 95 minute episode of something we have no investment in seeing play out in two or three years time.
Ever had the feeling you’ve been played?