Spiral (2021) Movie Review

Spiral – Flat Sequel


Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Writer: Josh Stolberg, Pete Goldfinger (Screenplay)

Starring: Chris Rock, Samuel L Jackson, Max Minghella, Marisol Nichols, Dan Petronijevic

Plot: A criminal mastermind unleashes a twisted form of justice in Spiral, the terrifying new chapter from the book of Saw.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Spiral starts when a cop is put through a torturous game by a twisted killer, leading to Detective Zeke Banks (Rock) an outsider cop demanding to take the case, with the news that it is a Jigsaw copycat.

Zeke is forced to take a rookie William Schenk (Minghella) under his wing, as he looks to solve the case, as more cops going missing, with a connection to Zeke’s own past, the past which has made his distant from the rest of the force.

Thoughts on Spiral

Characters & Performances – Detective Zeke Banks prefers to work alone, this will lead to him getting into trouble more often than not, with the force not looking at him favourably because of his past. He demands to be lead on one of the few cops he trusted murder, where he will come up against a serial killer targeting the force. Zeke will have to look into his past to learn the truth about who is really behind this new series of killings. Chris Rock does well in the leading role, even if the role feels more like a typical detective saving people. Detective William Schenk is the rookie that is assigned to work with Zeke, he has always believed in the cleaner police force and wants to learn from one of the best. Max Minghella is solid enough in this role, which is going to be the feeling for most of the performances, everyone is solid without needing to do much more. Samuel L Jackson does feel wasted in this role, because we know in a supporting role, he can steal the show, but this could have been anyone in this role, he does nothing to make himself standout.

StoryThe story here follows an unpopular detective that must start investigating a string of police murders that will have a connection to a spiral, leading them to believe in a Jigsaw copycat on the loose, he will need to look into his past to learn who the killer is before it is too late. When it comes to the Saw franchise, we ended up going down a journey of apprentices becoming the focal point of who was behind what was happening, this time we look to do the spin off idea, where someone has been using the motivation of John Krammer to play their own game. This does seem to start of with a smart idea for the lead character in Zeke and what he has done or going through, trying to highlight errors within the police force, but the who done it side of the film because flat and boring, without it ever needing to be part of the Saw world, this could easily have been a normal dark crime thriller with the same themes, that got called like Saw, instead of trying to understand the same message Saw once gave.

ThemesSpiral is a horror thriller that looks to capture the magic we once had from the Saw franchise, only to lead us down a path a dark set of murders that are in traps that don’t look like they are escapable, with way too many variables against the time. The settings are just as confusing, with certain sequences happening in locations where somebody could easily have seen or heard the events, unlike the emptiness created in the original franchise.

Final Thoughts Spiral ends up being a flat addition to the world that offers nothing new, trying to use the big name draws a Chris Rock and Samuel L Jackson to breath new life into the series.

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – J – Broken Vows (2016) Movie Review

This is under J because of lead actress Jaimie Alexander,

Director: Bram Coppens

Writer: Jim Agnew, Sean Keller (Screenplay)

Starring: Jaimie Alexander, Wes Bentley, Cam Gigandet, Astrid Coppens, Alexandra Breckenridge

Plot: A charming yet troubled man spirals into a rage after being rejected by the woman he initially seduced.

Tagline – ‘Til death do us part.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Broken Vows starts when Tara (Alexander) is on her bachelorette party with her best friends Justine (Coppens) and Debra (Breckenridge), where she meets a mysterious stranger Patrick (Bentley) with one thing leading to another, the pair have a one-night stand.

When it turns out Patrick believes the two are meant to be, he looks to get back into the life of Tara’s and when she asks him to leave her alone, her own wedding gets added problems.

Thoughts on Broken Vows

Characters & Performances – Tara is about to get married, with her bachelorette party weekend happening, she gets drunk and hooks up with a stranger as one last fling. She wants to get back to her normal life, well preparing for her wedding, but must deal with the man who starts stalking her, not letting her get on with her life. She doesn’t want to break the heart of her husband-to-be with her affair and needs to find a way to keep him quiet. Jaimie Alexander is the great in this role, showing a woman remaining in control after her own mistake. Patrick is the bartender that Tara meets, he comes off mysterious, before showing stalker tendencies, coming into Tara’s life looking to get her back. He is a mentally unstable man that has a history of his stalker action, leaving you wondering how he is still on the streets in the first place. Wes Bentley does give us a genuinely creepy performance for the most part of the film. We get to meet the husband-to-be who is just preparing things, along with the best friends of Tara, none of them get to make the impact in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a woman who has a one-night-stand on her bachelorette weekend only to find out the guy is a stalker that doesn’t want to let her forget about their night together, looking to ruin her life before her wedding. This is one of the by the book stalker movies, showing us how one person will see their life turned upside after one slip up, showing us how a stalker can put themselves into their life, looking to ruining, with the panic of holding everything together. The story does have a big question about whether Patrick should be free in society with his reputation, he does seem to be too dangerous to be casual around people. As for how it all unfolds, we kind of know how it will happen, leaving little to the imagination along the way.

ThemesBroken Vows is a thriller that will give us a chance to see how one person’s life can get turned upside by a stalker, leaving them with little chance of escaping, it is mostly in the background scheming, rather than getting involved till much later in the film.

Final Thoughts Broken Vows is a by the book thriller that does have a creepy performance from Bentley, but struggles to move away from what we have seen before.