Will There Be A Spiral Sequel? Here's What We Know

I've always had a grudging appreciation for the "Saw" franchise. There is something about their commitment to gnarly gore, uncompromisingly bleak endings, and their own convoluted lore that sets them apart from other grotty torture porn movies. While heavily influenced by "Seven," the series has always stumbled along its own grim path, on bloody stumps where its feet once were. Like John Doe before him, Jigsaw's fiendish contraptions turn a mirror to a troubled society and the fallible and misguided individuals trapped within it. And audiences just can't get enough.

The first "Saw" film came out in 2004 and spawned eight further installments, becoming one of the highest grossing horror franchises of all time, raking in over a billion dollars at the box office worldwide. After the failed reboot attempt of "Jigsaw" in 2017, the catchily titled "Spiral: From the Book of Saw" was intended as a reimagining of the franchise, incorporating ideas from Chris Rock, a fan of the horror series looking for a new direction for his career.

Rock plays Zeke Banks, one of those maverick detective types who finds himself reluctantly paired with a new partner, William Schenk (Max Minghella), on the trail of a deranged murderer aping the style of Jigsaw, the infamous serial murderer who died years before. The twist is that the culprit claims he wants to reform the police department, targeting the corrupt elements still on the payroll. Following the police on the case rather than the victims or Jigsaw and his disciples, "Spiral" puts an interesting slant on the "Jigsaw" mythos while looking more like "Seven" than ever before.

And naturally, it leaves the door wide open for a sequel.

A Wasted Opportunity

Flipping the premise and making the cops the victims of the killer's ghoulish traps is neat, and Chris Rock brings some welcome humor to the franchise. It's refreshing because there were approximately one and a half jokes in the previous eight films. There's not enough of it, though; we get a few flashes early on when Rock is riffing on "Forrest Gump" before an undercover bust, but then he gets all serious on us.

Letting Rock do his comedy thing might have dragged the franchise out of its well-worn groove, especially when paired with Samuel L. Jackson as Banks' father, a retired police chief. The prospect of Rock and Jackson as a father-son buddy team wisecracking and motherf***er-ing their way after a deranged serial killer sounds awesome on paper. We've rarely had characters in the "Saw" franchise interesting or charismatic enough to root for, let alone actively enjoy spending time with.

Unfortunately, Rock just gets bogged down in the cliched script as the maverick cop who likes to go it alone. When he's allowed to riff a little, the movie really has something. When he's just playing the tough cop, he seems hopelessly miscast. Similarly, I can't recall Jackson in a role this dour, and he doesn't have nearly enough screen time with Rock.

That star pairing is where "Spiral" clearly had the most potential, but the film totally fails to capitalize on their strengths. Instead, we just get a shoddy police procedural that looks like a TV movie "Seven" ripoff with unimaginative traps and an incredibly predictable plot. The most puzzling aspect is the film's structure, with flashbacks to dialogue 10 minutes earlier to make sure we didn't miss the clues. And don't even get me started on the worst fake mustaches since "Sleepaway Camp."

Will There be a Spiral 2?

The ending of "Spiral" seems deliberately left open for a sequel. For his grand finale, the killer has set it up so Banks' dad gets blown away by a SWAT team, then taunts the detective as he makes his escape. With the killer's identity and motives revealed, surely Banks will want to catch his father's murderer, right?

Prior to the release of "Spiral," Chris Rock was enthusiastic about the possibility of another movie (via Comic Book). The film doubled its money at the box office and fans were generally happy with the change of direction, although critics were largely unimpressed. But then who really cares what critics say about a "Saw" movie? Things looked promising for a sequel earlier in the year when several sources reported that a "Saw X" project was in the works.

However, Darren Lynn Bousman, director of "Spiral" and three previous "Saw" movies, sought to temper expectations in an interview with The AU Review saying:

That got announced prematurely. We were all surprised, including the producers. What I will say is that just because we made Spiral doesn't mean Saw ceases to exist. Just because Spiral is here that doesn't mean there won't be a Saw IX. This is not the ninth film in the Saw franchise. There easily could be a Saw IX that follows Jigsaw.

With another sequel almost certain to make a good return on its investment and fans eager to see where the fresh(ish) new direction and story takes us, you probably wouldn't want to bet against "Spiral 2" appearing sometime in the near future.