Chris Rock is a huge fan of the Saw movies. How do we know? Because in one of the weirder entertainment stories of 2019—which is saying a lot, because 2019 was goddamned WEIRD—he pitched his own spin-off to Lionsgate, keeper of the keys of Saw. That spin-off is called Spiral, and there is now a trailer so we can all gauge exactly how weird a Saw spin-off conceived by Chris Rock will be. The answer: Maybe not that weird, perhaps even a little stylish.
I am not a fan of the Saw movies, which rapidly descended into torture porn, but I don’t hate this trailer for Spiral. I like the look of it quite a bit. There’s a little 1970s touch on it, coming mostly from the cop drama overtones and baked-sunlight lighting, which establishes Spiral in its own space and sets it apart from the green-tinged basements of Saw. And the setup is solid, with detectives, including Chris Rock, investigating what appears to be a Jigsaw copycat. The Saw movies went there, but presumably, these cops don’t know anything about Jigsaw. At least, there is nothing in the trailer to indicate they know what they’re getting into. That’s actually a terrifying concept—what if you were investigating a copycat but didn’t KNOW it was a copycat? What kind of fallacies and traps would you fall into because you’re missing critical information?
That seems to be the case here, as there is a brief shot of a guy with his arms stuck in a Rube Goldberg torture machine, and we see Chris Rock facing the classic Saw hacksaw dilemma. This is the part of Saw I am not into. I HATE torture porn. It’s not just that I don’t want to see suffering depicted for suffering’s sake, I also do not like to watch things go into skin. I don’t want to see the hacking or sawing off of limbs—I don’t even want to see someone getting inoculated. I do not enjoy suffering for suffering’s sake as a form of entertainment, and I especially don’t enjoy it when it involves objects going into skin, which Saw ALWAYS does. Spiral has a nice look to it, but it is still going to involve people being poked and prodded with various terrible implements, and someone hacking off a limb. No thanks. I would rather watch Cats again.