Let the games begin. Again. Three years after the most recent Jigsaw apprentice slammed the door shut on a quasi-reboot, we have another. Spiral: From The Book of Saw is the latest instalment in the most successful horror movie series of all time (as per Guinness World Records). Like a corpse in the middle of the room, that gets up to leave without warning, just because it looks dead it doesn’t mean the property really is. Now in its ninth incarnation, and still on the big screen, John Kramer and his followers are hot on the heels of some of our genre’s most established names. You can check out the trailer below:
Being the brainchild of Chris Rock, who came up with the concept, this one promises to be a bit less bleak than the others. Which is no bad thing, given it’s hard to make an audience take a premise so seriously eight outings later. The comedian recently told IGN “A lot of times I go to a movie or I watch a TV show and I go, ‘Wow, you know, two jokes would have made a big difference in that.’ I love Saw, but I was like ‘Wow, it has almost no humour at all.’ So, it seemed like a good place…Good fertile ground… I’ve seen like a rough cut. It’s still Saw…it’s bloody, it’s gory, but there’s like a sprinkling of humour here and there. We’re not revamping it, it’s not Scary Movie, it’s Saw.” It feels like it too, right down to the iconography and that instantly recognisable theme tune. With the screenwriters of Jigsaw and the director of parts 2-4, Darren Lynn Bousman, returning, plus the production staff including long-time collaborator Daniel Heffner and the original creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell, it’s no wonder.
That being said, the thing that most surprised me about the trailer is how familiar it looks, with the story seeming to focus on a copy-cat serial killer targeting cops. The trailer is, at best, fine. It makes it look fun enough, but hardly suggests a fresh new angle I’d have thought would be a passion project for a guy who can likely get tens of millions for touring at the same time. Still, given it’s obviously enough for him to commit to it, over his more lucrative options, and the idea was engaging enough to get director Darren Lynn Bousman back on board then I expect there’s a major part of the plot being held back intentionally. With both Rock and Samuel L. Jackson showing up for it, the two biggest stars to feature in any entry to date, then I expect them and long term distributors Lionsgate have a lot of confidence in its success. That the title implies a possible anthology approach in future is also darn exciting. Note that there’s still no word either way on a Tobin Bell cameo, though I’d be surprised if he didn’t dawn the cloak one more time. Personally, first impressions aside, I’m really looking forward to it. Being among the younger writers for this site, I reckon the fondness I hold for Saw isn’t dissimilar to how some of the others feel about the sets of films they came of age watching, whether its Friday the 13th, Elm Street or Halloween. I love the mix of twists, turns, tension, torture and even soap opera elements. And since it drops on my birthday, I know what I’ll be doing that night. Needless to say, I still want to play a game.
A sadistic mastermind unleashes a twisted form of justice in SPIRAL, the terrifying new chapter from the book of SAW. Working in the shadow of an esteemed police veteran (Samuel L. Jackson), brash Detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks (Chris Rock) and his rookie partner (Max Minghella) take charge of a grisly investigation into murders that are eerily reminiscent of the city’s gruesome past. Unwittingly entrapped in a deepening mystery, Zeke finds himself at the centre of the killer’s morbid game.
Spiral: From The Book of Saw is out in cinemas on May 15th 2020.