Spiral: From the Book of Saw – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Spiral: From the Book of Saw

Though the original Jigsaw killer has been dead since Saw III, they just keep on making more Saw films through several of John Kramer’s disciples. Spiral: From the Book of Saw may be set in the Saw franchise, but it’s not connected to the John Kramer universe. This feels like a wholly different film than the previous eight films. The merciless traps are still there, but much of the gratuitous violence is subdued here. A good Saw trap is like classical music. The symphony of the Rube Goldberg-like traps to the theme of penance and redemption is always intriguing. You might not feel inclined to see the whole scene, but the traps themselves are creative in a sinister kind of way. Not to mention, the carnage will always be the main draw of any Saw movie, and there’s not much carnage in Spiral.

That’s because Spiral is built more like a horror-thriller than the torture-horror of the past. It’s Se7en set within the Saw universe. As a result, the allure of figuring out who the killer is will be high for audiences. They want to be one step ahead of the detectives in the film. Unfortunately, as the film progresses, you’ll begin to figure out who the killer is easy. Several red herrings will try and distract you from the blatant clue, but it’s who you expect it to be.

So with less carnage and a predictable killer, the last real draw of the film is its star power. However, if you’re thinking that Chris Rock’s involvement in horror would be similar to Jordan Peele, then prepare to be sorely disappointed. As many accomplishments Chris Rock has as a comedian, he simply doesn’t have the dramatic gravitas to be a serious actor. Not to mention, the little bit of humor that he drops in the film is out of place in this world.

So overall, Spiral: From the Book of Saw is a film that tries to be different from its predecessors, but this not-so-fresh take doesn’t quite work out. Much like the other Saw films after III, its ideas are there, but its problems lie with its execution. For a movie that’s trying to be like Se7enSpiral still feels like Saw. Hopefully, the next installment of Spiral will truly give us something different because this saw is starting to become dull.

Movie Rating: 2.5/5 atoms

Spiral: From the Book of Saw - Max Minghella and Chris Rock

Video

Spiral: From the Book of Saw hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with an HDR transfer and a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The video presentation features some super bright whites that emanate from the screen and black levels that are a deep and inky black. However, there is a lot of crushed blacks and loss of shadow details in this video transfer. For a film in the Saw franchise, Spiral features a surprising amount of color for any kind of horror film. 

As you can imagine, it’s the red that looks the boldest out of the entire palette. From the red of the police lights to the red spiral symbol and all of the blood in between, the red jumps off the screen. The details are crisp and clear. So, in other words, you can see every bit of blood and gore from the traps of the new killer. Despite the immense loss of shadow details, the picture looks great.

Video Rating: 4/5 atoms

Spiral: From the Book of Saw - Marisol Nichols and Chris Rock

Audio

Spiral: From the Book of Saw hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a Dolby Atmos and a core 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track. This review will reflect Spiral: From the Book of Saw‘s Dolby Atmos track. The sound effects subtly move across the soundstage — from the trains passing by to the echoes of Zeke Banks’ flashbacks. Yet, the soundstage wholly comes alive is when we get to the torture and trap scenes. From Charlie Clouser’s score to the trap’s sound effects, the audio mix is accurate and full-sounding.

The high and low sounds of Clouser’s eerie score are on full display in this mix. Since his score dominates the rear surround channels, there’s not a lot of atmospheric effects. Nevertheless, when the score isn’t playing, the atmospherics subtly keeps the soundstage alive throughout. The dialogue is clear and nicely centralized in the center channel. Overall, this is a first-rate audio mix from Lionsgate.

Audio Rating: 5/5 atoms

Spiral: From the Book of Saw - Samuel L. Jackson

Special Features

Spiral: From the Book of Saw has the following special features on the disc:

  • Audio Commentary with Director Darren Lynn Bousman, Co-Screenwriter Josh Stolberg, and Composer Charlie Clouser
  • Audio Commentary with Producers Oren Koules and Mark Burg
  • The Consequences of Your Actions: Creating Spiral
    • A New Chapter in an Old Book
    • New Blood
    • A Steady Hand
    • Setting the Traps
    • Hacking Away
  • Drawing Inspiration: Illustrated Trap Breakdowns
  • Decoding the Marketing: Spiral
  • Theatrical Teaser Trailer
  • Theatrical Trailer

The audio commentary with director Darren Lynn Bousman, Co-Screenwriter Josh Stolberg, and Composer Charlie Clouser is a pretty entertaining listen. They have great chemistry together and provide a lot of scene-specific commentary along with some general insights about their history and return to the franchise. Unfortunately, the audio commentary with producers Oren Koules and Mark Burg is not as good as the other one. There is a lot of time where the two are just silent without adding much to the commentary. If you are going to just listen to one track, stick with the other one.

“Creating Spiral” is a five-part 59-minute making-of featurette that really gives a complete in-depth look at the whole film’s creation. As much as Chris Rock is out of place as Spiral‘s star, he does have a lot of terrific reasons for joining the franchise, and some of his ideas for the film even make sense. However, it’s just too bad that its execution didn’t work. 

“Illustrated Trap Breakdowns” is a 9-minute feature where director Darren Lynn Bousman offscreen narrates a “guided tour” of some of the various traps in the film. Finally, “Decoding the Marketing” is a 6-minute featurette about the franchise’s poster history and how they approached them for Spiral.

Special Features Rating: 4/5 atoms


Overall, Spiral: From the Book of Saw is a mixed bag of unique ideas and failed executions. The social commentary they brought to this franchise is admirable, but Spiral is simply lacking the necessary intrigue to go along with this message. The video presentation has its issues, but regardless, it still looks great. The level of immersion in the audio mix is first-rate, and the bonus features are in-depth and entertaining.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

Spiral: From the Book of Saw hits stores on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on July 20th.

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1669 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.

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