“Spiral: From the Book of Saw” (Lionsgate)

Chris Rock and Max Minghella star in a scene from the movie "Spiral: From the Book of Saw." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. (CNS/Brooke Palmer, Lionsgate)

By Catholic News Service

This ninth installment in the “Saw” franchise of horror films, directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, devolves quickly into the usual nihilistic splatter fest.

Screenwriters Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger build the mayhem around the framework of a police procedural as a bitter, foul-mouthed detective (Chris Rock) contends with a copycat of Jigsaw, the original vigilante of the series. In lieu of the false “moral” element of earlier outings, based on the victims’ past wrongdoing or lack of appreciation of the lives they’ve led, the purported agenda of the new killer is to achieve reform of the police force by slaughtering rogue cops. The result is yet another perverse celebration of sadism.

A vengeance theme, pervasive gory violence, including hideous torture, frequent profanities, much rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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