SPIRAL a not-so-gory refreshing start to the Saw franchise.

SPIRAL puts us in the shoes of a son (Chris Rock) and his father (Samuel L. Jackson) with their strained relationship. Rock portrays Zeke Banks, a witty, yet passionate detective who has been more than screwed over multiple times.

While Jackson portrays Marcus Banks, the former commissioner of the police department and the shadow in which Zeke has to walk in. This really touches up on current events, such as police brutality, and why people should be held accountable for their actions no matter how small.

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SPIRAL, (aka SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW), Chris Rock, 2020. © Lionsgate / Courtesy press.

The smallest of actions always have the biggest ripple.

Anywhere from George Floyd, to innocent bystanders who get shot simply for existing. While not all police are bad, as portrayed by the bleeding heart that is Zeke, many people that he knows are quite crooked.

We are taken into the lives of his department that is currently led by the sharp and badass Captain Angie Garza (Marisol Nichols), a long-time friend and colleague of Marcus. While she leads her department with conviction and strength, she is also very passionate and lets Zeke lead the new Jigsaw case. While we all know John Kramer is dead and gone, that means it’s a copycat killer.


The beauty of this particular film, as while it does have the traps and the creepy doll (which is no longer Billy, as director Darren Lynn Bousman wanted to step away from that, as it involved a new villain), there aren’t tongue biting (no pun intended) soul-crushing gore scenes.

And I can also give a huge applause to the franchise as a whole for not killing any animals. It’s a cliche that needs to be gone, slowly–we seem to be getting rid of it.

It should also be noted that Darren tests the Saw traps (of course with the stunt team, etc, and making it safe) before his actors go into them. That seems like a pretty kind-hearted director if you ask me. I can attest through a voice app in the horror rooms, that both he and my friend writer Josh Stolberg have hearts of gold and the creativity to fill a room.

At any rate, one by one the police officers fall into mind-boggling traps. Each time, a piece of a clue is sent in a Tiffany blue box (confirmed color.) wrapped with twine to poor Zeke. And each time, a poor delivery kid is apprehended for questioning.

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SPIRAL via Lions Gate films press.

Zeke’s last partner, Pete (who also gets his own trap involving recycled glass and hanging out) shot someone because he was going to testify against a person in the department, thus making Zeke extremely disgruntled when it comes to working with anybody else. He is openly hostile and verbally against the entire department, only siding with Angie when it comes to cases.


Enter Detective William Schenk (Max Minghella), a fresh-faced detective who just wants to help the department. He is seemingly innocent, with a kid and a wife who just is never there. As each domino falls, he’s there every step of the way. As we come closer and closer to our climax of the film, a piece of his skin is found in an old place that Zeke and his dad used to hang out with. Along with his distinct tattoo and a skinless body. Ah, damn! My favorite character is dead!


He faked it. Guess who’s the killer? Baby-faced Schenk. A kid? Nah, just a recording on his computer. Wife? Nope, a cute photo from some frame store. Why did he do it? What’s his motive? Zeke’s old partner Pete (who now works as a drug rehab teacher at a church), shot dear Schenk’s dad in front of him. Putting him at about twelve years old when that happened.

So? Revenge was on his mind. I’ll admit, I sort of guessed halfway through that it was the kid. And I honestly didn’t want it to be. So, Zeke has a choice, kill his dad and run off with Will to clean up the department, or save his dad and let the psychopath go. Though, it’s not fair to call him a complete psychopath, as he does have feelings. However, he did plan all of this since he was twelve–so we’ll go with a sociopath.

But come on. He plans all of these years. And he comes up with elaborate traps, planting himself into the system–you would get caught in a year tops. After all, Jigsaw already did all of this. How long did he think him and Zeke would last?


I will say, as far as a sentimental point of view, this hit hard. Mostly because I lost my father a year and a half ago, so anything to do with dad’s wrenches my heart a little–but it’s also a very strong message about family and who can you trust in tough situations?

A special shoutout to Marisol Nichols who did her damndest to sever her spinal cord and still live (yeah, can’t live without your spine–the most is you’ll be paralyzed but you will be looking at death.)

And another shoutout that the finger trap just looked gross, you didn’t even have to execute the actual death, it just looked creepy. Well done boys! (Josh and Darren)

In the end, Zeke chooses his dad–but the ending isn’t what you would expect. Spiral is in theaters now. Go see it!

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