2021 has actually been a surprisingly good year in regards to film.
It seems to have lacked the usual tentpole releases for large periods of the year, and some big films haven't quite been as great as they should (mentioning no names, Eternals). But there have been some real surprises, and films like I Blame Society, Come True etc have shown that originality can lead to some great cinema.
But then there's other films, films where it feels like they're not trying because they know they have an audience. Films that are lazy and just coasting on a name-value alone.
Before continuing it's worth pointing out that this isn't an "I hate these films" article. Some are indeed awful, no doubt about it, but others are here just because the gap in quality between the sequel and the original was so vast it was impossible to ignore. These are the ones where you don't come out angry, just disappointed.
9. Spiral: From The Book Of Saw
Not a bad film, but Spiral is another weak entry in a series that has a lot of weak entries. Part of the issue is that as a semi-reboot, it basically ignores most of what happened before. The franchise HAD to move out of the shadow of John Kramer eventually, but this doesn't seem to be the best way to do it.
It's weirdly comedic in parts and the frantic pacing means it doesn't feel like a Saw movie. Hell, it barely feels like a horror movie. If you toned the traps down a bit it's basically a buddy cop flick.
The story they're telling is a good one though admittedly, all about police corruption, power dynamics, and the "blue wall" being erected to protect abusive officers. The issue is those juicy themes aren't well executed. You don't get to truly take in the horror of what you're seeing because as soon as a death happens you have Chris Rock saying standard Chris Rock joke lines.
There's a weirdly predictable nature to it too. Saw films are known for two things: the traps, and the incredibly convoluted twists bordering on self-parody to the point where if John Kramer actually did come back from the dead (spoilers for a 15-year-old movie btw) it wouldn't be the biggest shock.
This time the "twist" is that his new partner is the killer, a reveal that is so obvious that there's a moment specifically put in to make you think that's not the case, but it's handled so poorly you know it's a fake-out. A surprise hasn't been this obvious since Victor Von Doom turned out to be a bad guy (again, spoilers)