Spiral: From the Book of Saw appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie boasted a pleasing image.
Overall sharpness worked well. Some wider shots veered a smidgen toward the soft side, but they remained in the minority during this largely accurate presentation.
I saw no shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also failed to become an issue.
In terms of palette, Spiral went with a highly stylized palette that mixed yellows, greens, reds, purples, blues and ambers. The disc reproduced these as intended.
Blacks looked dark and deep, while shadows seemed smooth and concise. I felt happy with this high-quality presentation.
Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the film’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack added involvement to the proceedings. The channels used music in an involving manner, and various effects also broadened the soundscape in a winning way.
While not a film packed with action, Spiral came to life enough to work the speakers well. Various horror elements related to the thrills moved around the room in a convincing pattern to contribute life to the tale.
Audio quality worked well. Speech seemed concise and distinctive, while effects appeared accurate and natural. Louder moments boasted fine punch.
Music was warm and full, with a good level of punch from percussive elements. All of this left us with a satisfactory “B+” soundtrack.
A few extras appear here, and we get two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from Director Darren Lynn Bousman, Co-Writer Josh Stolberg and Composer Charlie Clouser, all of whom sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion of story/characters and connections to the rest of the Saw universe, sets and locations, cast and performances, editing, deleted scenes and fights with the MPAA, photography and visual design, music and audio, effects, and connected domains.
Expect a strong commentary here, one made more interesting by Bousman's increasing anger as the track progresses. He alludes to a fair amount of studio interference and frequently discusses changes made to the film that he didn't choose.
At the start, Bousman treats these issues with a wink, as though he doesn't really feel bothered by them but he'll facetiously play up his annoyance. He makes joking references to "Director's Cuts" so long that it will require dozens of discs.
However, as the movie goes along, he gets more and more aggravated and it becomes clear that he really does feel pretty cheesed off about all these changes. Even without Bousman's unusually honest attitude, this would be a highly informative track, but his gradual path toward full boil makes it more interesting.
For the second commentary, we hear from producers Oren Koules and Mark Burg. Both sit together for their own running, screen-specific look at story/characters, music, cast and performances, sets and locations, and related areas.
You win some, you lose some. The first commentary became a big win, whereas the second falls into "lose" territory.
Yeesh, what a dull chat! The producers tell us little of interest, as they mostly praise the movie's participants. Add to that lots of dead air and this becomes a commentary largely devoid of informational and/or entertainment value. Skip it and you'll miss nothing.
In addition to two trailers, video programs follow, and The Consequences of Your Actions offers a five-part documentary that spans a total of 59 minutes, five seconds. Across these clips, we hear from Bousman, Stolberg, Burg, Koules, Clouser, executive producers Daniel Jason Heffnerand Jason Constantine, co-writer Peter Goldfinger, co-producer Ketura Kestin, cinematographer Jordan Oram, editor Dev Singh, and actors Chris Rock, Max Minghella, and Marisol Nichols.
“Actions” covers the progression of the Saw franchise and what eventually led to Spiral, Rock’s involvement, cast and performances, Bousman’s approach to the material, story areas and changes made along the way, photography and visual design, the torture traps, editing, music, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the film’s release.
Overall, “Actions” offers a good look at the production, though it tends to lose some steam as it goes. The documentary starts well but seems a bit less informative along the way. Still, it provides a pretty informative take on the flick and definitely merits a look.
Drawing Inspiration lasts eight minutes, 45 seconds and delivers notes from Bousman as he provides a telestrator-abetted examination of two of the movie’s “traps”. We get a useful exploration of the sequence.
Finally, Decoding the Marketing runs six minutes, 12 seconds and provides statements from Constantine, Bousman, Burg, and Koules. They look at advertising across the Saw franchise and this becomes a solid little piece.
An offshoot of the Saw franchise, Spiral comes with more star power than any of its predecessors. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make it a good film, as it manages moderate entertainment at best due to its many flaws. The Blu-ray boasts strong picture and audio as well as a mix of mostly appealing bonus materials. Maybe established Saw buffs will dig Spiral, but the film seems unlikely to attract new fans.