Spiral
Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Chris Rock makes a successful attempt at horror in Spiral

Comedy legend Chris Rock takes a step outside of his comedy comfort zone to dabble in the suspense genre in Lionsgate Spiral. Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, Spiral is the latest addition in the Saw franchise serving more like a reboot than a traditional sequel. Brash detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks (Chris Rock) has spent his professional career working in the shadow of his father, an esteemed police veteran (Samuel L. Jackson) by the name of Marcus Banks. 

After a fellow police officer meets a murderous end, Zeke’s boss, Capt. Garza (Marisol Nichols) forces him to work with a rookie partner, William Schenk (Max Minghella). Their assignment is to take charge of a grisly investigation into murders eerily reminiscent of the city’s gruesome past. Unwittingly trapped in a deepening mystery, Zeke finds himself at the center of the killer’s morbid game.

Star Chris Rock came up with the initial story treatment for Spiral. In addition, the creative team for Spiral includes some Saw veterans. Director Darren Lynn Bousman previously helmed the second, third, and fourth sequels to the original film. In contrast, the film writers Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger wrote 2017’s Jigsaw, which attempted to reboot the franchise.

Given Rock’s style of comedy, I wasn’t surprised with the angle he uses for Spiral. In hindsight, Rock has made a film that combines horror and police corruption. That’s all you need to know going into the film. Now the writers could have quickly gone the easy route and made Rock’s character a relative of former Saw characters such as David Tapp or Daniel Rigg, played by Danny Glover and Lyriq Bent, respectively. Instead, they give Rock his character a storyline that could easily carry over to future films.

Despite some of his facial expressions during tense moments, Rock was solid in his first horror role. The comic is fully committed to the role, and I tip my hat to Rock for trying something new. That said, the rest of the cast does what they can with the material despite being mainly here to find ways to meet a gruesome end. Samuel L.Jackson fans may get upset with this limited screen time, but he does drop his usual F-bombs.

While the traps that made the previous Saw films a mainstay do happen, Spiral is tame compared to the earlier entries in the series. I generally enjoyed the movie, but there is one gripe I had. Spiral ends on the abrupt note as the previous films while leaving the door open for a sequel. I would’ve liked the ending to be a bit tighter.

Despite a few issues, Spiral never stays its welcome with its short ninety-five minute run time. The film may not win any awards, but as movie theaters worldwide begin to reopen, Spiral should be mindless crowd fun.

Final Grade: C+

Movie Clappers

More to explorer

Monolith is a solid thriller

Rising scream queen Lily Sullivan teams up with first-time director Matt Vesel for the latest spookfest, “Monolith”, from Well Go USA. The screenplay hails from Lucy Campbell. At the center of the plot is a nameless protagonist, a disgraced journalist portrayed by Lily Sullivan, who is desperate to restore her reputation and redeem her career.

Argyle is a fun spy thriller

Director Matthew Vaughn returns to the world of espionage for his latest film, “Argyle” from Universal Pictures. Jason Fuchs pens the screenplay, which, in the simplest of terms, is a razor-witted, reality-bending, globe-encircling spy thriller. Elly Conway, portrayed by Bryce Dallas Howard in the movie, is a reclusive author who has written a series of best-selling espionage novels. She finds solace in spending her evenings alone with her computer and her feline companion, Alfie.

Pop culture camp references and a solid lead perform can’t save Lisa Frankenstein

Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody teams up with debuting director Zelda Williams for the horror comedy Lisa Frankenstein from Focus Features. The film is set in 1989 and draws inspiration from Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, published in 1818. The story revolves around a teenage goth girl named Lisa (played by Kathryn Newton), who reanimates a nameless corpse from the Victorian era (played by Cole Sprouse).

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

© Copyright Reviews & Dunn. All rights reserved

website designed by Red Robin Digital designers