Spiral: From The Book Of Saw follows a serial killer that takes place in the same universe as the previous eight Saw movies that featured Jigsaw. With a new cast of Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson, this new reboot of the series goes to some excellent places and adds a little bit of dark comedy to the whole outfit. What a wonderful addition to the Saw franchise. This 4K release comes with a dynamite UHD transfer with HDR10, and fantastic Dolby Atmos track and some awesome bonus features nobody will want to miss. Highly Recommended!
Spiral begins with an intense and brutal death scene that follows a man (Dan Petronijevic - McMurray from Letterkenny), chasing a criminal into the underground subway tunnel over a big public July 4th weekend celebration. It does not end well for him as the patented Saw torture devices engulf his body, mouth, and tongue - thus meeting his demise after a new video showcases his past and presents him with a new game to play for survival. It turns out that his man was a police officer, which allows his partner Detective Zeke Banks (Chris Rock) to run the lead on the investigation in finding a serial killer taking his cues from the legendary Jigsaw.
Many torturous games have been played since 2003 where James Wan and Leigh Whannell changed the horror landscape forever with Saw. This low-budget horror movie, packed with tons of blood and guts, spawned an instant cult following, made a ton of money and resulted in seven sequels throughout the years that followed a serial killer mastermind known as Jigsaw. Darren Lynn Bousman (Director of Saw II-IV), has come back to the franchise with Spiral, a film set in the same universe that has basically rebooted the franchise with Chris Rock, Samuel L. Jackson, and Max Minghella. Adding a little bit of dark humor to the mix, Spiral tells a familiar tale about a new serial killer that takes their cues from Jigsaw with all the appropriate sequences of carnage and stylized edits that made the Saw franchise so popular. With its modern political and social undertones, Spiral succeeds and is exquisitely fun to revisit this universe with new characters.
Comedy is not an element that would be discussed when referring to the Saw franchise, but in Spiral, Chris Rock brings that much-needed aspect to the film, even if it's a bit on the dark side with jokes about Forest Gump, women, and other taboo subjects. Josh Stahlberg's script allows Jackson and Rock to have a little fun with their family banter, which allows for a little breathing room and a better and more realistic bond with these characters who are usually always serious in the previous movies. It's a welcome addition and quite funny. As soon as a laugh is conjured up though, the blood, guts, and bones come flying at the screen, and even though the heavily stylized edits that are known in Saw films, there's enough gore to be seen for horror fans abound, leaving the rest of the public to cover their eyes.
Rock and Minghella are excellent on-screen as Rock does a great job turning in a dramatic performance, something he showed the world in his stint on the Fargo TV series. His role here is more enhanced as he's put through the wringer more than once on many emotional levels and he sells it well. Samuel L. Jackson, as always, is phenomenal, funny, and uses his famous four-letter word perfectly even if he's only in the movie for a few minutes here and there. The rest of the dialogue is otherwise procedural and nothing out of the ordinary, but being a Saw film, that's not really the point. Luckily, Spiral clocks in at 90 minutes, which is the perfect amount of time to have fun with this bloody, great reboot to the franchise with some nods to the original score with some additional hip-hop material. Spiral breathes some much-needed new life to this nearly two-decade-old fan-favorite franchise.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Spiral: From The Book Of Saw traps itself inside a 4K + Blu-ray + Digital Copy set from Lionsgate. The discs are housed in a hard, black plastic case with a cardboard sleeve. The artwork is legendary and amazing. It looks like Lionsgate added some original artwork to this release rather than just show promo photos of actors. This one features an Andy Warhol-like image of Chris Rock with some great colors painted around. The discs themselves are even different colors with images. There is an insert for a digital code.
Spiral: From The Book Of Saw comes with an impressively gruesome 2160P UHD transfer in 4K with HDR10 that looks amazing from top to bottom. The film is highly stylized in terms of its color palette and the HDR10 with this 4K transfer truly upgrades the video from its 1080p HD counterpart.
A lot of the film takes place in dark corners, rooms, or low-lit situations where the lighting has a blue or silver tint with other shades of purple and green coming through. This is evident in the first scene in the movie that takes place in a subway tunnel where an unfortunate police detective meets his grisly end. The nuanced lighting of the subway lights and tunnel lighting look amazing that reveal even dirtier colors on the clothing and of course the shaded red in blood. When sequences are not steeped in darkness or blue lighting, there are earthier tones inside the houses and police station that gravitates towards browns, yellows, and shades of beige that has a warmer and more natural color to it. The flashback sequences are grittier and have a brighter amber color to them for style, but none of it takes it away from the detail. This 4K presentation loves its black levels and they are exquisitely deep and inky with zero crush or murky shadows. Skin colors are also natural when in normal lighting conditions.
The detail is extremely sharp and vivid as well, considering how lowly-lit the film is in most places. Closeups reveal facial pores, nasty gory wounds, and gashes that showcase muscle tissue, bone, and even blood bubbles. The climactic sequence that comes with tons of broken pieces of glass and fire looks excellent as every piece of open skin and glass imperfection is scene easily with beads of sweat and individual hairs revealing themselves. There are zero video issues to speak of, making this one of the best video transfers.
This release comes with a phenomenal Dolby Atmos track that knocks it out of the park from the first sequence and never stops. Sound effects are grande and robust, starting with the opening scene underground in a subway tunnel. The railway sounds, the train, and metal clanking all sound pitch=perfect, loud, and intense, creating a fully immersive experience in the surround speakers. Other terrifying death and trap sequences make use of the surround speakers with well-balanced precision in each tightening screw, scream, bone break, and skin tearing off.
The low end of bass kicks into high gear during these sequences as well that never crosses into the rocky or overbearing territory. Ambient noises of people talking inside the police station, and creaks, and other ghastly sounds from inside creepy rooms all make their way around the surround sound system. The height speakers come through often and hard with rain, thunder, screams, fire, and glass raining down on people. Dialogue is clean and clear, free of any audio issues. This is what a horror film should sound like.
Fans get to enjoy a nice swatch of bonus features with this release, including a fantastic look at the making of the film that covers all aspects of production, a tour of all the gruesome traps in the film, trailers, and two audio commentaries.
Spiral: From The Book Of Saw is a fantastic addition to the Saw franchise that delivers some much-needed comedy and a new and different direction from the previous eight films, while at the same time, sticking to the overall point and entertainment factor of everything that came before. One can hope for more films with the cast and crew that explore the future exploits of Spiral. This 4K UHD release has an amazing video presentation, a killer Dolby Atmos track, and some informative and interesting extras. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!