Spiral: From the Book of Saw [4K Ultra HD]
(Chris Rock, Max Minghella, Marisol Nichols, Samuel L. Jackson, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital / R / 2021 / Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Overview: A sadistic mastermind unleashes a twisted form of justice in SPIRAL, the terrifying new chapter from the book of Saw.
Working in the shadow of an esteemed police veteran (Samuel L. Jackson), brash Detective Ezekiel ’Zeke’ Banks (Chris Rock) and his rookie partner (Max Minghella) take charge of a grisly investigation into murders that are eerily reminiscent of the city’s gruesome past.
Unwittingly entrapped in a deepening mystery, Zeke finds himself at the center of the killer’s morbid game.
4K Blu-ray Verdict: Lionsgate Films is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the euphorically mesmerizing, and gloriously devilish Spiral in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this July 20th, 2021.
For my money, this Spiral: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital combo packs sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.
So, what we have is Spiral presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Native 4K (2160p), HDR: HDR10, Aspect ratio: 2.38:1, and Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.
Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHDs, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.
Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what is more is that it is enjoyably noticeable.
For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; notably the detail levels are definitely improved throughout as what repeatedly caught my attention was the improvement in shadow definition in the many dark scenes (the opening sequence in the subway tunnel is a notable example, but a later showdown involving a female police captain played by Marisol Nichols is another).
Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material - like the scene at the cacophonous carnival setting that quickly becomes claustrophobic in an underground subway tunnel, and some of the trap scenes provide good engagement of all those attributed colors - especially in the disturbing sequence involving shattered glass bottle shards spewing out of a fanlike object and into the body of a hapless victim!
As for the audio, well we have a veritable smorgasbord of choice here: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), French: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps), Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps), and Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0.
Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.
OK, well, as for the actual movie, well, as a huge fan of Chris Rock and a huge fan of the Saw series, when I heard that Rock was behind the revamped Spiral movie we were getting I was beyond excited.
Then a worldwide pandemic came along delaying the film by 12 months which only served to get my anticipation levels up that little bit higher. The end product is an interesting one. It’s better in some ways than I hoped, and less so in others than what I hoped.
What really took me by surprise the most was how much I liked Rock as the lead. Early on we get a little stand-up routine from him (in context of the movie of course - more or less) and then here and there we get little glimpses of his terrific humor which he has obviously inserted into the script himself.
But when it’s time to get serious he is more than capable. He brings great intensity to the movie and combining that with his natural charisma, makes for a great centerpiece of the film.
The film takes a little bit of a step-back in terms of the brutality of some of the traps. Make no mistake, there are some brutal things to watch in this movie, however I suspect a conscious effort was made to reign things in just a little.
In previous Saw movies it felt like they were going out of their way to make as many audience members faint as possible. Here is just feels like they are trying to find a good balance between keeping the gore-enthusiasts pleased, and keeping those less inclined to enjoy that type of thing in the cinema; bums on seats, as they say.
The pacing of the film is lightning quick. There’s a little bit of set-up and character introductions early on, but once the action begins it never relents. The film is only 93 minutes admittedly, however it is over before you know it.
There’s also a new voice on the tapes this time around. At first it took me off-guard and I didn’t quite know what to think of it. However by the end of the film it had grown on me a lot. It is very different to the one we had in the original series.
In truth, I’ll be very interested to hear what other people thought of it as I personally can honestly see it being quite a polarizing thing.
I won’t get into the conclusion of the film (always a treat in the Saw/Spiral universe), suffice to say it is quite different to how we are used to these films ending.
That said, I still think I need to go back and rewatch the final scene to fully understand certain character’s motivations and what they were trying to achieve.
In closing, the door has been left wide open (no pun intended) for more sequels though so if this one is a success then prepare yourself for Spiral 2-8 in the coming years. I say bring them on! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2:35.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
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
Drawing Inspiration: Illustrated Trap Breakdowns
Decoding the Marketing Spiral
Theatrical Teaser Trailer
The terrifying new chapter in the book of Saw comes home when Spiral arrives on Digital July 13th, 2021 and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray and Digital), Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital), DVD, and On Demand July 20th, 2021 from Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures.
Spiral - Official Trailer
Amazon Spiral 4K Ultra HD Purchase Link
Official Facebook Page
Official Instagram Page
Official Twitter Page