Spiral movie review - Aussieboyreviews


Despite featuring some gruesome traps and featuring a killer with similar motives to the Jigsaw killer, Spiral tells a police story rather than delivering on extreme gore. Chris Rock had a great idea, but the execution simply just doesn’t do it justice.


When a series of grisly murders that are reminiscent of the city’s gruesome past, Detective Banks and his rookie partner take lead on the investigation. But as the hunt for the killer continues, Banks finds himself at the centre of the mystery.

Movie Images

Movie details

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Cast: Chris Rock, Max Minghella, Marisol Nichols, Samuel L. Jackson, Dan Petronijevic, Richard Zeppieri
Writer: Josh Stolberg, Peter Goldfinger
Release Date (Australia): 13 May 2021
Runtime: 93 minutes/1h 33m
Genre: Horror, Crime, Mystery
Country: USA, Canada
Language: English

CONTENT GUIDE (warning: May contain spoilers)

Themes (R18+)

The film contains themes and depictions of murder, torture and self-mutilation that are high in impact, as well as thematic material such as police corruption. Several characters are caught in traps set by a sadistic serial killer.

Violence (R18+)

The film contains scenes of self-mutilation and torture in which characters are caught in traps, including a man’s tongue being torn out before he is hit by a train, another man’s fingers being torn off, a woman attempting to sever her spinal cord as hot wax pours on her face, and a character being skinned with a knife. These scenes are accompanied by blood, gore and injury detail that is high in impact.

Coarse Language (MA15+)

The film contains frequent, occasionally aggressive use of the word “f**k”, in addition to use of the words “s**t”, “ass”, “bitch” and “n****r”.

Drug Use (M)

The film includes several references to meth, cocaine and drug dealing.

Sex (M)

The film contains crude verbal references to sex, including use of the word “f**k” in a sexual context.

mpaa rating

R (for sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture, pervasive language, some sexual references and brief drug use)

Aussie boy's thoughts

Chris Rock’s idea of having a Saw spin-off/sequel that only really revolves around the investigation and law enforcement aspect could have made for a really effective movie. Unfortunately however, Spiral simply just doesn’t achieve that. Even though there’s a bunch of sadistic and grisly traps set up by a serial killer who has a similar motive to John Kramer, it doesn’t make Spiral feel like it belongs in the Saw franchise. But it’s too messy and flawed of a detective-cop story to rank among movies like David Fincher’s Seven and Zodiac.

2017’s Jigsaw was mainly focused on the police and medical examiners side of the story, but it did dedicate another large portion to five strangers waking up in an escape room scenario. This movie completely takes away the escape room survival plot, despite featuring some traps in sequences with the quick-cutting, sped-up editing. The Saw movie aspects come in when it encounters the themes of police corruption and court injustice, in which the officers set in this copy-cat killer’s traps are all guilty of injustice in some way. On the topic of traps, most of them are pretty unique and distinguishable from one another, but these sequences are actually massively forgettable because the film just isn’t engaging.

That brings us to Spiral’s biggest problem, which is the constant adrenaline rush, fast pacing and yelling. A big mistake that the filmmakers made was having no laid-back or quiet scenes throughout the movie. It’s an issue because it makes the more intense moments and twists feel very anti-climatic. The tension just fades out eventually. The best you can say about this movie is that most of it is fairly watchable. The cinematography, production design and the clear effort put into most of the set pieces is also plausible.

Rock’s performance is honestly a huge miss in the movie however, and it’s not necessarily because his voice immediately prints an image of a cartoon zebra in your brain. His character just isn’t the kind of guy we grow to care for. Plot holes and logical issues are scattered everywhere; the locations of some of these traps are questionable. But there’s also a decision made in what’s shown on screen that makes the killer-reveal also fairly predictable. Not as gory as some of its predecessors, often kind of boring and never very climatic, you can easily just dodge this dull chapter from the book of Saw.

Thank you for reading this page and for more Aussie Boy reviews, visit Aussieboyreviews.com.