Nerdlocker Movie Review: Spiral: From the Book of Saw


“I want to play a game.” – Jigsaw

If anyone from Lionsgate ever sees this: PLEASE STOP MAKING SAW MOVIES! Thank you. Sincerely, anyone with a sliver of self-respect and taste.

I could make the argument that everything before this point had some validity to its existence. From the original Saw to the much maligned Saw 3D, there was a kind of momentum that anyone might understand why this ridiculous franchise was still going. As awful as they became, Lionsgate was riding that momentum to the bank every time so it made sense to a certain extent why there was at the time seven Saw movies. After that though I can’t rightfully explain why they won’t let this extremely tired franchise mercifully die. And now here we are with a ninth installment and word of a tenth on the way.

My friend and I grew up attending every Saw movie midnight premiere and it was always a blast. There was a kind of communal experience to it. Imagine a theater packed full of people with the same expectations hoping for nothing more than a gross out horror movie that makes you giggle from its sheer over-the-top nature. It became an experience. Now? It’s just sad and quite frankly confusing. I say confusing because I can’t understand anymore why these things keep popping up.

Why am I still watching then? Well, I don’t really know. Call it a habit? Call it a kind of self-loathing? I would argue it’s out of pure curiosity at this point. Especially with this newest installment involving of all people, Chris Rock and fucking Samuel L. Jackson. Talk about the most bizarre casting news of the last decade. However much I loathed the most recent Saw movie, Jigsaw, and I absolutely despise that movie, the announcement of Chris Rock reviving the franchise along with starring in it alongside the Baddest Motherfucker ever, I couldn’t help but be in some way intrigued. Even after seeing the damn thing I still have a hard time believing it’s real. Maybe it’s all a big joke? I can’t fail to mention the odd decision to bring back Saw 2,3, and 4’s director to helm Spiral. If this is supposed to be a revitalization of the franchise why return to what is undoubtedly all too familiar? The cinematography style is the same with all the same color schemes and visual effects featuring the boring fast spinning camera and sporadic character movements as they try to wriggle out of whatever overly complicated trap they find themselves in. And by complicated I mean you’d need a degree in engineering to manufacture these things but of course that detail is completely glossed over.

As I said with the original seven films, as terrible as they are, there was a fun quality to them. It was something to be experienced with others and laugh at together. Nothing about Spiral is fun and anything humorous about it is completely unintentional. It tries to take the story so seriously it comes off as something other than hokey or silly, it’s just downright awful. The story is horrendous and feels like elements of previous Saw films sewn together as some sad attempt at “a twist you’ll never see coming!” (Insert eyeroll here) It possesses all the familiar carnage with little to surprise beyond “look how disgusting this is.” If that’s all you’re looking for then Spiral achieves its goal I guess, whatever that looks like.

The acting is porn worthy never achieving any of the severity it so desperately hopes the audience is feeling. We aren’t feeling it, I promise. We’re laughing and not for the right reasons or even the fun wrong reasons. It’s more of a laugh out of sheer embarrassment for those involved and a kind of discomfort for being in the theater wondering how this got made.

Rock has some funny lines toward the beginning of the film but it wears out within the first twenty minutes and what we’re left with is a hollow Chris Rock with a constipated look on his face as he attempts(?) dramatic acting. Talk about a misfire there.

Not only does this acknowledge nearly every cop cliché you can think of it embraces them like old friends showing zero hesitance or willingness to own up to just how stupid this all truly is. I have a hard time imagining anyone from Lionsgate watching this movie and saying with any kind of seriousness that this is acceptable. I picture hands being thrown up in a giving up manner followed by a fuck it greenlight hoping for the best at the box office. Then again there’s supposedly a tenth on the way so what the hell do I know? Oh and its greatest strength, Samuel L. Jackson? He’s in it all of fifteen minutes and like everyone else in the movie he’s forced to vomit lines that make you cringe and wonder why this is happening and what you did to deserve it. Let me assure you, you’ve done nothing wrong. This sin is on Chris Rock and Lionsgate.

Rated R For: sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture, pervasive language, some sexual references and brief drug use
Runtime: 93 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Horror
Starring: Chris Rock, Samuel L. Jackson, Max Minghella
Directed By: Darren Lynn Bousman

Out of 10 Nerdskulls
Story: 1/ Acting: 2/ Directing: 3/ Visuals: 2
OVERALL: 1.5 Nerdskulls

Buy to Own: Hell no.

Check out the trailer below:

For more info on comics, video games, movies and anything else nerd, check out, a place for your inner nerd.

Also check us out on:
Nerdlocker Shop:
Podcast: iTunes
Email us at:

Like it? Share with your friends!

Chase Gifford

"Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world"-Jean-Luc Godard