It’s a sweltering summer in a nameless American city and a serial killer has begun preying on cops. The killer is offing them by using gruesome and inventive death traps themed around the victims’ sins — one policeman, notorious for lying on the witness stand, dies tongueless, while another, with an unjustified killing under his belt, has all his fingers pulled off, including his itchy trigger finger. It’s all very reminiscent of the Jigsaw Killer, John Kramer (Tobin Bell), but he’s been dead for years, hasn’t he? It’s up to dogged cop Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks (Chris Rock) to find out before more blue lives shatter.
This is the ninth film in the Saw franchise, which kicked off back in 2004 with the original sleeper hit from Australian filmmakers Leigh Whannell and James Wan. It’s also the second attempt to give the series a soft reboot; another Australian film duo, the Spierig Brothers, gave it a red hot go in 2017 with Jigsaw, a film I know I’ve seen and retain absolutely no memory of. This latest offering exists thanks to star and producer Chris Rock, apparently a fan of the series, whose pitch got over the line after Jigsaw failed to reinvigorate the property. So, will Spiral succeed where Jigsaw failed? Hell, maybe.