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Spiral: From The Book Of Saw Release Date, Cast, And Plot

"Listen carefully, if you will. There are rules."

It's been nearly four years since we last visited the world of Jigsaw and his gruesome games. But horror fiends, take note — a new "Saw" film is on the way in 2021! Titled "Spiral: From the Book of Saw," the ninth film in this unkillable franchise promises to be much different from previous installments. Plus, it boasts some pretty impressive talent, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. However, we know you might have a few questions about this frightening flick. For example, what's the plot? Is it actually part of the "Saw" timeline? Will John Kramer show up? And when are we actually going to see this thing?

Well, put on your pig mask and get ready to play some games because we're breaking down everything you'd ever want to know about "Spiral: From the Book of Saw," from its incredible cast to its twisted story.

What's the release date for Spiral: From the Book of Saw?

The first "Saw" film shocked audiences back in October 2004 and paved the way for the "torture porn" genre that dominated horror during that decade. Up until 2010, horror fans got a new "Saw" film every year as a Halloween present, and the last installment in the franchise hit theaters in 2017. So ... when do we get to see what "Spiral" has in store?

Well, it's been a long journey for the ninth film in the franchise. Originally, the movie was set to hit the scene in October 2020, but it looks like another reboot caused it to change its release date. After the success of 2018's "Halloween," Michael Myers was supposed to return for everybody's favorite spooky holiday with "Halloween Kills," which was originally planned for a 2020 release. Most likely not wanting to compete with the man in the William Shatner mask, "Spiral" changed its release date to May 15, 2020.

Of course, as we all know, neither horror film made it to theaters, as the world was turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, you can't stop a good slasher franchise from coming back to life, and now, "Spiral: From the Book of Saw" is set to hit theaters and IMAX on May 14, 2021. (And if you're curious, "Halloween Kills" is coming back with a vengeance on October 15.)

The new movie has a stellar cast

The cast of "Spiral: From the Book of Saw" sounds pretty impressive. There are several big names with mainstream appeal attached to the film, so it should be fun to see them all work with the outlandish material that the "Saw" franchise is known for.

First up, we've got Chris Rock. Whether you know him from his stand-up, his days on "Saturday Night Live," or his work on movies like "Top Five," the "Madagascar" series, or his collaborations with Adam Sandler, we can all agree Rock is a hilarious guy. So it will be super fascinating to see him play in a horror franchise as messed-up as the "Saw" series. 

In fact, Rock is one of the major creative forces behind the film — he's seemingly responsible for the movie existing in the first place. And in the film, he'll be playing Detective Ezekiel "Zeke" Banks, the cop who's investigating a new string of gruesome murders. Of course, he isn't handling the case alone. Rock will be accompanied by Max Minghella, who'll be playing Zeke's rookie partner, Detective William Schenk. If you think Minghella looks familiar, that's probably because you've seen him as Nick in "The Handmaid's Tale."

Both detectives are working for Captain Angie Garza, played by Marisol Nichols of "Riverdale" and "24" fame. We also know that Zoie Palmer ("Dark Matter," "Lost Girl") will be playing a character named Kara Boswick, although we're not sure what part she'll have in the film.

Of course, the biggest name involved in the project is Nick Fury himself, Samuel L. Jackson. The man who brought Mace Windu and Jules Winnfield to life will be playing police veteran Marcus Banks, the accomplished yet estranged father of Chris Rock's character. Granted, Jackson makes some odd choices with his films sometimes, but his casting adds some serious legitimacy to a film that some people might otherwise write off.

Who wrote Spiral: From the Book of Saw?

Here's where things get really interesting with this new "Saw" film. The seed for the story came from an unlikely person: Chris Rock. Variety reports that Rock approached some of the producers behind the "Saw" franchise with his idea for a new film, and "Spiral: From the Book of Saw" grew from that concept.

Joe Drake, chairman of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, said of Rock's treatment, "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." Rock is primarily known as a comedian, so it will be interesting to see how he transitions to the nightmarish world of "Saw."

Rock wrote the original story for "Spiral," but he didn't write the film's final screenplay. Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg (who also wrote 2017's "Jigsaw") actually adapted Rock's story into "Spiral's" screenplay. The duo also wrote the surprisingly fun remake of "Piranha" in 2010.

Who is directing this Saw revival?

The "Saw" films vary in quality, and a big part of that is due to how quickly they were being put together — one film every year is a hectic pace. One aspect that many fans still agree on, however, is that the "Saw" films were in good hands when director Darren Lynn Bousman was at the helm. He directed "Saw II," "Saw III," and "Saw IV," helping play off the momentum of the original and make "Saw" a household name. And now, Bousman is back in the director's chair for "Spiral: From the Book of Saw."

Bousman himself announced that he'd be directing the film on his Instagram, posting an on-set photo from the first day of production in July 2019. Though Bousman hasn't had a hand in the "Saw" franchise since 2007, he has directed plenty of horror since, including "11-11-11," "The Devil's Carnival," "St. Agatha," "Death of Me," and more.

Meanwhile, longtime franchise heads Mark Burg and Oren Koules are also involved as producers. Even better still, James Wan and Leigh Whannell – the original duo who brought Jigsaw to life and have, respectively, given us modern horror classics like "The Conjuring" and "The Invisible Man" — are serving as executive producers. If anything is going to help bring the "Saw" franchise back from the dead, it's this team.

What's the plot of Spiral, and is it part of the proper timeline?

So, how exactly does "Spiral: From the Book of Saw" fit into the timeline of the franchise? It is a sequel? Is it a total rebeoot? Well, for answers, we can look to the Twitter account of Josh Stolberg, one of the writers for the film. In 2019, he responded to a curious fan, saying that the new movie is "NOT a sequel to 'Jigsaw,'" but it's "DEFINITELY in the timeline of ALL the films."

With that out of the way, what's the plot of this new film? Well, as it turns out, "Spiral" is set years after Jigsaw's death, but his memory still looms large. In fact, it seems that he's inspired a copycat killer ... one who's targeting cops. Into this bloody game comes Chris Rock's Zeke Banks. He's a detective who's been saddled with a rookie partner (Minghella) and — according to the official plot synopsis — is "working in the shadow of his father (Jackson)." But as the bodies start piling up, Zeke is forced to reunite with his estranged dad to solve this case and figure out the copycat's motive, which might involve "a twisted form of justice."

There's some humor promised, but it's still very much a Saw movie

Horror has always been tied closely with humor, whether a film is providing respite from blood and gore, lulling the audience into a false sense of security, or just playing with the stereotypes of the genre. With Chris Rock involved, you might think "Spiral: From the Book of Saw" would flip the script and go much more meta, but it seems like that isn't entirely the case.

Speaking with IGN, Rock said that "Spiral" will have some humorous elements, mainly because the franchise was completely lacking them. "I love 'Saw,' but I was like, 'Wow, it has almost no humor at all,'" the actor said. "So, it seemed like a good place ... good fertile ground. ... By the way, the new 'Saw,' I've seen like a rough cut. It's still 'Saw' ... it's bloody, it's gory, but there's like a sprinkling of humor here and there. We're not revamping it, it's not 'Scary Movie,' it's 'Saw.'"

He is right — past 'Saw' films have had very little humor, so hopefully a comic twist won't put off fans of the franchise too much. Rock has always had a keen eye for dark comedy, and it seems like 'Spiral' could be a good place for it.

Breaking down the trailers

If you want a sense of the tone and feel of "Spiral: From the Book of Saw," then you should definitely check out the trailers for the film. They mainly focus on Detectives Zeke Banks and William Schenk, but there's a healthy dose of Zeke's father, Marcus, as well.

Both trailers make "Spiral" look like a more gritty detective movie than past entries in the franchise. If it weren't for a few blatant references, you could argue that "Spiral" looks more like a sequel to "Se7en" than "Saw." There's even a box-opening scene! We're also treated to the return of the pig mask, an incredibly creepy marionette, and a spray-painted symbol that's popping up all over the city.

Plus, we get to witness a few ghoulish traps. There's one that involves some poor guy about to get run over by a subway. In another scene, we see Samuel L. Jackson in a very precarious predicament involving some scary-looking arm/leg braces. And in one shot that will be very familiar for "Saw" fans, we see Rock chained to pipe, holding a hacksaw and contemplating what life might be like without a limb.

The trailers also tell us that we're dealing with a Jigsaw copycat who's hunting down the police. And one of them gives us an amazing Samuel L. Jackson line: "You want to play games, motherf***er?" In short, the trailers have majorly reassured us that "Spiral" will indeed have some new tricks up its sleeve to resurrect the franchise.

Will John Kramer show up?

Every horror franchise has its big bad. The "Friday the 13th" movies have Jason. The "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies have Freddy Kreuger. And the "Saw" series has John Kramer — aka the Jigsaw Killer. Granted, he died back in the third film, but his legacy still haunts the franchise, as his apprentices keep popping up to play nasty games with unwilling participants.

But will John Kramer appear in "Spiral: From the Book of Saw?" Well ... maybe? In one of the trailers, we see a stack of photos, and if you're paying close attention, you'll notice that one of them is Jigsaw himself. So, at the very least, we'll see a very literal snapshot of the man. But will actor Tobin Bell actually reappear somehow? Well, in a Collider interview back in October 2020, Bell was asked if he was psyched for the film and if he would reprise his iconic role. His answer?

"Oh yeah. I'm excited for it, but it's not something I can really talk about at this particular moment." Well, that's an interesting answer indeed. Based on that response alone, it seems Bell very might well be involved with "Spiral." The actor also went on to say, "If it's Chris Rock's story, it's likely going to be worth seeing, because he's a very creative guy."

Granted, the movie isn't listed on Bell's IMDb page, and he hasn't shown up in any of the promotional materials aside from that one old photograph. Most importantly, his character is dead ... but when has that stopped a slasher villain from coming back? After all, Kramer showed up in 2017's "Jigsaw" via flashbacks, so maybe Bell will return for one last game. At the very least, John Kramer's influence will be all over this film as his copycat starts a new reign of terror.