Writing Movie “WRONGS”
By Jim West
Spiral: From the Book of Saw
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman
Written by Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger
Since October 2004, the Saw films have been almost a regular Halloween film to watch. Then there was a long hiatus before the 2017 Jigsaw film, and here we have the ninth film in this franchise being titled differently. The entire film rests largely on not figuring out who the killer is within the first ten minutes of the film. If you do then the rest of the film is quite predictable. If you don’t then you are in for a decent mix of torture and minor foreshadowing. Chris Rock is not too shabby in the lead role, and he plays the honest cop role pretty well with some balanced angst. Yet the level of which this film is truly enjoyable rest upon the mystery of the killer and if you simply like seeing the unusual Saw films inventive torture devices.
Here comes the spoilers.
The film opens up with a festival and a cop chasing a purse snatcher into the subway tunnels. This is definitely not ending well for him. We immediately see the killer has a vendetta with dirty cops. Clue one is the killer was wronged by cops and with the rest of the station as the targets you can already begin to see the victims line up one by one. The tortures and ‘way out’ of said tortures are grim and pretty imaginative and fitting for the retribution the killer is exacting upon his targets. My issue was I guessed the killer as soon as he appeared on screen. The every scene thereafter clicked to him definitely being the killer. Him telling Chris Rock that his father was the reason he was a cop, his asking to use Chris Rock’s phone, the call with the crying baby was too staged and no baby in sight, and his death was not purposeful and actually glossed over quickly which is a huge mistake on the writer’s part. They felt the tattoo reveal was enough to close the loop, but I already though he had the tattoo done to the other body. The who can it be element gone makes the film not so tense anymore. The many flashbacks to the witness being killed by a cop immediately points to a young man who was the man’s son being the retribution killer long before you see it all revealed in climatic scene flashbacks.
If you come for the inventive and unusual torture devices and deaths then you are getting a typical Saw franchise film. If you want a unique and thrilling ‘who is it’, then this is not the film for you. The only way to improve upon the film is have the new rookie be an older beat cop turned detective (possible uncle/brother of the witness who was killed) and the son also can be utilized as a killer duo since surely situations would arise they both can’t be at multiple places at the same time. Create tension inside the precinct by having evidence frame Chris Rock’s character as he is working to find the killer before the precinct turns completely against him. That narrative would play along with his distrust in his fellow cops and their hatred of him being a rat. It would be plausible because he has reasons to hate these cops also for letting him get shot. All while doing a better job at hiding the killer in plain sight. Alas these films are not known for great storytelling, but still the killer’s identity is a plot point and should have been concealed much better to leave you guessing more.
Thanks for reading Writing Movie ‘WRONGS’.