Why Spiral Made Me Excited For The Saw Franchise Again

Chris Rock with the saw in Spiral

Horror has been in a bit of a renaissance over the past few years, but the genre is always one that has been built on franchises. Horror fans will consistently show up to theaters to see their favorite killer, whether it be Michael Myers in Halloween or Ghostface in Scream. One property that got its life in the early 2000s is Saw, which made the torture porn subgenre mainstream. The Saw movies have never been far from theaters, but Chris Rock looks like he's doing something wholly unique with his new movie titled Spiral: From The Book of Saw. The first trailer arrived today, and it actually made me exited for the property again.

I've got a long history with the Saw franchise, as I was in High School when James Wan's original arrived in theaters and became a pop culture phenomenon. A new sequel arrived every October through the next six years, I've seen every single installment from the property including Jigsaw. This is partly because I'm weirdly loyal when it comes to TV/film, and partly because the movies went from terrifying me to making me laugh with its over the top gore and dizzying timeline.

While Saw II was the thing of nightmares with its pit of needles, trying to keep up with the franchise's plot became difficult, and required countless flashbacks and archival footage. But it looks like Spiral is going to do something more unique, and go back to the franchise's more humble roots. And with Chris Rock involved, it'll also include way better quality comedy.

The first trailer for Spiral: From The Book of Saw felt far more realistic than anything we've seen from the franchise in well over a decade. The tense clips helped set up the scene, and the protagonist police officers who will be trying to get it out alive. Spiral's trailer is also notable because its surprisingly not bloody, and features almost none of the franchise's signature traps.

James Wan's approach to the original Saw wasn't full of crazy spectacle and over the top torture scenes. Instead we saw two guys chained to a basement, as they attempted to work out what was happening and how to escape. Wan didn't need flashy traps, and it looks like Spiral may be taking note from the OG in that regard.

As a reminder, you can re-watch the trailer below.

Scaling down on the cartoon violence is likely a smart choice, and should give more power to the gory scenes that do inevitably pop up in the runtime of Spiral: From The Book of Saw. If there is less blood, it should hopefully be more shocking and scary when someone does end up dead or maimed. And with Chris Rock behind the upcoming standalone movie, there should be plenty of comedy to help balance the project.

This isn't to say that Spiral won't have any traps. In fact, we can see two different ones at the tail end of this first trailer. The most remarkable happens in the very final moments. Chris Rock's character Det. Ezekiel "Zeke" Banks is shown handcuffed to a pipe, unable to escape. Except he's got one thing: a saw. It harkens back to the big trap from Saw, which eventually resulted in Cary Elwes' Dr. Lawrence Gordon amputating his own leg.

With more realism and comedy, Spiral is definitely making me excited about the Saw franchise again. Smart money say the movie has a meta aspect to it, as teased when Samuel L. Jackson exclaims "You wanna play games, motherfucker?!" It's a funny take on Jigsaw's signature line, and a nod to the hardcore fans.

Spiral: From The Book of Saw will hit theaters on May 15th. In the meantime, check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.