Chris Rock who is better known as a comedian takes on a “serious” role as a detective in this spin off from the torture porn series, Saw. That fact alone is quite laughable as we are so used to associating Chris as a comedian that all he needs to do is stand in front of the camera and we instantaneously prepare ourselves to be hit by a joke. So, can Chris pull it off and play good cop in a genre that is outside his comfort zone? Sadly, it’s a decisive NO.
Somehow, the director Darren Lynn Bousman and Chris seem to think that having Chris scream out vulgarities and shouting in almost every scene he is in, is enough to show his “serious” side. It is a performance that is not only unconvincing, but also laughable at times. The film’s wafer thin plot has some dud killing off cops with questionable corrupt past in brutal fashion that bares similarities to the Saw murders. The only thing is the original murderer for the Saw films had already been caught and dead. So what we have is just some copy cat killer on the loose who seem to have a flair for setting up the most elaborate death traps for his victims! It soon becomes clear to the viewers that all Spiral is is the excuse to stage disgustingly violent death scenes. While these will probably delight the torture porn fans, they just get more and more ridiculous as the the film progress, with the plot failing to offer any intelligent clues to the viewers. By the time the third and final act kicks in, it isn’t too difficult to guess who the killer is.
Spiral: From the Book of Saw, is competently directed and produced. However, ultimately it is the film’s script, storyline and casts’ performance which need to carry the movie through. Here is where Spiral fails miserably. The acting is overall unconvincing. Every other cop in the film is corrupted and the actors demonstrate this by exaggerated actions that just simply makes them look like the bad guys. Not even Samuel L Jackson’s supporting role as Chris Rock’s decorated ex police chief, can save the film. Finally, I hope the film makers don’t think they have a winner here, and provide an excuse to warrant them to comes up with a follow-up!