While Jigsaw might be dead, his legacy continues in Spiral: From The Book Of Saw, premiering in theaters everywhere Friday.
The ninth installment of the Saw series premiers Friday with a brand new story and new villain courtesy of an idea floated by Chris Rock, who also stars. The idea for a continuation of the franchise came from Rock and was fleshed out by writers Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger. Darren Lynn Bousman, who directed Saw II, III, and IV, returns to direct this retooling of the bloody franchise. Arguably, next to the original film, Saw III had the most byzantine story structure and some seriously brutal puzzles. Spiral: From The Book Of Saw carries on the theme of terrible people being forced to atone for their sins in even more terrible ways.
Anyone who has watched the series from the beginning knows that the franchise needs a new killer. John Kramer is dead, taking Jigsaw and the creepy puppet with him. This leaves room for a new killer with a disgusting porcine marionette and a love of all things sadistic, bloody, torturous, and needlessly complicated. Many of the previous Saw movies made crooked cops accountable. In Spiral: From The Book Of Saw, they are the entire focus.
Chris Rock plays Detective Zeke Banks, and Samuel L. Jackson plays his father and nearly legendary cop Marcus Banks. Zeke’s new partner Detective William Schenk is Max Minghella. Schenk is idealistic and naive, while Zeke is jaded and angry after years on the job and a past, making him a barely tolerated member of the force.
Aside from an apparent fanboy love for Jigsaw and his gory traps and a hatred for corrupt police officers, this new movie shares very little DNA with the original series. Billy the Puppets stylish cheek spirals pop up in a ton of grimy industrialized settings keeping the Machiavellian killer with a rigid moral code front and center. Despite the spirals graffitied everywhere and the detectives often referencing the brilliant killer, this new villain has little to do with John Kramer. The new baddie loves to hear him or herself talk just as much as Jigsaw, but now he uses flash drives instead of small tape players, which is nice considering it’s 2021.
If you were hoping for a continuation of Jigsaw’s story or the introduction of yet another weak-minded and absurd acolyte, you will be disappointed. If you are looking for a reboot of the series that could be developed into something more Spiral: From The Book Of Saw will be a surprise. It’s not perfect, but there is enough to make you think the series is still relevant.
Watch this bloody opening clip and prepare to enter the mind of a madman once more. The three-minute clip released by Lionsgate tells you everything you need to know about the future of the franchise and Spiral: From The Book Of Saw in particular. A copycat has picked up the reigns and is dispatching visceral justice, this time in the form of tongue removal or trainsplatting. The film is bloody, gory, and Bousman’s ability to put the pain in your face keeps the movie from spiraling down the drain like the key that could have saved Adam and Dr. Gordon’s life in the original.
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.