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Spiral: From the Book of Saw release date, cast and plot

Listen carefully, if you will. There are rules.

Horror fiends, take note: a new Saw film is on the way in 2020! If you want to learn more of what to expect from the latest installment in this unkillable franchise — currently going by the title Spiral: From the Book of Saw — you've come to the right place. This is your one-stop shop for ongoing breaking news about the new Saw movie, and what to look for on its release.

As of right now, the filmmakers are keeping things tightly under wraps. The film was originally operating under the name The Organ Donor, but MovieWeb reports that the film's distribution company, Mongrel Media, now has a listing for Spiral: From the Book of Saw on their website. This seems to indicate that The Organ Donor was simply a working title for the film.

Here's what we know so far about Saw 9, The Organ Donor, Spiral, or whatever it winds up eventually being called.

What's the release date for the new Saw movie?

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. Spiral: From the Book of Saw was originally set to pick up where the franchise left off, hitting the scene in October 2020. However, another reboot caused it to change its release date.

2018's Halloween was a massive success, and its sequel, Halloween Kills, is hitting theaters in October 2020. Spiral: From the Book of Saw didn't want to compete with Halloween Kills, so its release got bumped up a few months earlier. The film's release date is now set for May 15, 2020.

As of this point, there isn't a lot of competition scheduled for that week. Black Widow releases May 1, and the ninth Fast & Furious film releases May 22, but Spiral looks like it wants to sink its hooks in during a down week to help revitalize the franchise.

The cast of Spiral: From the Book of Saw

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.

Chris Rock is one of the major creative forces behind the film — he's seemingly responsible for the film existing in the first place. Rock also has a starring role in the film as Zeke, a police detective investigating a string of murders. Max Minghella (Nick in The Handmaid's Tale) will play Rock's partner, William, and Marisol Nichols (Riverdale, 24) will play their boss, Captain Angie Garza.

The biggest casting news comes with Samuel L. Jackson, who will play Marcus, the father of Chris Rock's character. 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.

We mentioned the film is keeping details quiet — one big question we still have is whether Tobin Bell, who played mastermind John "Jigsaw" Kramer throughout the franchise, is returning in Spiral.

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 was 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. 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, and more.

Meanwhile, longtime franchise heads Mark Burg and Oren Koules are also involved as 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: From the Book of Saw?

It's mostly still a matter of speculation, but there are some concrete details about the characters and plot in Spiral: From the Book of Saw that we can report. The first is how the film fits in with the already established franchise continuity. For that, we can look to the Twitter account of Josh Stolberg, one of the writers for the film. He responded to a fan, saying that the new film is "NOT a sequel to Jigsaw" but it is "DEFINITELY in the timeline of all the films."

This indicates that Spiral is not a true "reboot," but might only be moderately tied to the past films. The title of the movie would seem to indicate that as well. We Got This Covered also gave us a bit of what to expect from the plot, reporting that Chris Rock would play a detective investigating a series of grisly murders that seem to all be connected. Unfortunately, that's about all we've got. Whether it's Jigsaw himself or a copycat has yet to be revealed. Judging from past Saw movies, it's safe to guess everything is tied together in some way, and there will be plenty of twists as the film moves forward.

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.

The first trailer for Spiral is here

If you want a sense of the tone and feel of Spiral: From the Book of Saw, then the first trailer is exactly what you need. You can check it out right here. It mostly focuses on Detectives Zeke Banks and William Schenk (Chris Rock and Max Minghella), but there's a healthy dose of Zeke's father, Marcus (Samuel L. Jackson) as well.

The trailer makes Spiral look more like a gritty detective movie than past entries in the franchise — if it weren't for a few blatant references, you could argue that it looks more like a sequel to Se7en than Saw. There's even a box opening scene! The spray painted symbol, return of Billy the creepy puppet, and a few very Saw-esque traps — including Rock handcuffed to a water pipe — help bring us back to the world of Saw.

Spiral's trailer does tell us a bit about the plot: the killer is targeting police. It also has one of those amazing Samuel L. Jackson lines: "You want to play games, mother****er?" In short, the trailer is here to reassure us that Spiral might indeed have some new tricks up its sleeve to help resurrect the franchise.