Tavern Talk: Video Review - SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW

In the second week of being back at the theater we saw what was the ninth entry in the Saw franchise though it functions more as a re-boot and/or spin-off as Spiral: From the Book of Saw was produced by and stars comedy legend Chris Rock. Not exactly the personality you expect to re-boot a major gorror franchise, but here we are. The film, which was originally scheduled to be released first in October of 2020 before being moved up to a summer 2020 release, was then of course delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic yet somehow retained its "summer movie" status by helping to usher movie-goers back to the theaters in these early weeks of the new normal. Directed by Saw veteran Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II, Saw III, and Saw IV) the new film follows a copycat Jigsaw killer and Detective Ezekiel "Zeke" Banks (Rock), working in the shadow of his father (Samuel L. Jackson), along with a new, rookie partner (Max Minghella) as they are tasked with investigating a series of grisly murders that utilize traps eerily reminiscent to that of John Kramer's. Zeke naturally finds himself at the center of the killer's game with plenty of twists and turns along the way. Scripted by Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger who also wrote the previous Saw film, Jigsaw, which was - to put it lightly - pretty terrible made for low expectations going in, but much to my surprise Spiral was a pleasant diversion if nothing else; a movie that felt oddly rewarding given the big screen context in which I saw it. As for the rest of the country, enough horror fans showed up to make Spiral the number one movie at the box office with an $8.7 million debut, easily beating fellow new release, Those Who Wish Me Dead, a survival thriller from writer/director Taylor Sheridan (Yellowstone) starring Angelina Jolie that premiered both in theaters and on HBO Max. The Saw franchise has collectively grossed just shy of $1 billion and while Spiral had the lowest debut of the series thus far I have to imagine that might not have been the case were it not one of the first major releases of post-vaccination life. Most theaters in the U.S. are still operating at a reduced capacity and the film has yet to open internationally so there is certainly room to grow. With higher profile releases beginning over Memorial Day weekend though, and the theatrical window only continuing to shrink it will be interesting to see what type of long-term business Spiral will do given the horror genre doesn't generally have the longest of box office legs. As always, time will tell, but for now be sure to follow the official TAVERN TALK by Initial Reaction YouTube channel as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where you can find a new review (or reviews) each week!


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