The Saw horror movie franchise has seen its creative marrow drained dry in recent years, notably with offerings like the poorly received 2017 sequel, Jigsaw, the eighth film in the series. However, a metamorphosis occurred, and the studio went back to the drawing board, teaming with – of all people – comedian Chris Rock, for a new installment in the long-running franchise.
Chris Rock’s new Saw movie is called Spiral, and it’s based off a script – adapting a concept he pitched – written by the duo of Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg (Jigsaw, Piranha 3D). Rock also serves as executive producer. The film is being made by Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures, with longtime Saw filmmakers Mark Burg and Oren Koules back as producers.
The movie, which went by the working title of The Organ Donor, wrapped filming back in August, 2019. It’s been directed by Darren Bousman, who previously helmed Saw II, III, and IV.
Spiral Release Date
The thing about Jigsaw games is that people who think they’re on top of the world have everything turned upside down in a queasy minute. Sadly that also has turned out to be the case with Spiral, a movie that made a big splash this past spring when its cool trailer and title reveal knocked folks’ socks off. Then the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the west, and the movie had to abandon its May 15, 2020 release date. It remains tentatively scheduled for 2020, but with no firm date in sight.
The first trailer for this new movie set in the Saw universe is here!
Samuel L. Jackson will play Chris Rock’s character’s father, with Rock playing “a police detective investigating a series of grizzly crimes.” The Handmaid’s Tale Max Minghella will be playing Rock’s partner, William Schenk, and Riverdale‘s Marisol Nichols will be playing Capt. Angie Garza, Rock’s boss.
Here’s the official synopsis for the movie:
“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 center of the killer’s morbid game.”
Interestingly, this new Saw offering is neither a reboot or a sequel, but will absolutely be Saw canon, thanks to Chris Rock’s love of the franchise to date. As he lauded in the statement announcing the project:
“I’ve been a fan of Saw since the first film in 2004. I am excited by the opportunity to take this to a really intense and twisted new place.”
Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group chairman Joe Drake went into further detail about the seemingly unlikely collaboration with the former SNL cast member-turned film star-turned sitcom producer, stating:
“When Chris Rock came to us and described in chilling detail his fantastic vision that reimagines and spins-off the world of the notorious Jigsaw Killer, we were all-in. Saw is one of the highest grossing horror franchises of all-time and it’s one of Lionsgate’s most successful film series.”
As Drake states of the new film’s creative direction:
“This upcoming film will still be as mind bending and intense as all the previous Saw films. Chris conceived this idea and it will be completely reverential to the legacy of the material while reinvigorating the brand with his wit, creative vision and passion for this classic horror franchise.”
The idea of a “mind bending” nature for this new Saw iteration is certainly an intriguing tease regarding the direction of the typically torture-teeming horror franchise. As perennial picture producers of the horror series, Mark Burg and Oren Koules, explain of its ambitious new dynamic using a comedy analogy:
“Chris wants to put his own spin on the Saw franchise in the way Eddie Murphy put a completely fresh perspective on buddy-cop films with 48 Hours. This new Saw is going to be an event film in the making for horror fans. It will have all of the twists and turns and hardcore layers that our fans expect directed by one of the masters of the craft, Darren Lynn Bousman. We can’t wait to get started.”
It will be interesting to see how a new Saw will fare as the horror genre evolves. While 2004’s original film, directed and co-written by eventual Aquaman helmer James Wan, had everyone dropping their iPods and StarTAC flip phones at theaters in pure, unprecedented shock, it was eventually met with – as all horror franchises do – a general audience ennui as more sequels and genre clones arrived.
Indeed, while Blumhouse currently holds most of the genre cards, notably with its recent successful reinvention of Halloween, there’s still plenty of money to be made elsewhere in horror. Case in point, the first instalment of the Stephen King adaptation It earned $700 million worldwide to become the most lucrative horror film of all time.
We’ll update this with new information as it becomes available.