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Spiral Official Poster

Spiral (also known as Spiral: From the Book of Saw) is a 2021 American horror film directed by Darren Lynn Bousman and written by Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger. It is the ninth installment in the Saw film series. The film stars Chris Rock, Max Minghella, Marisol Nichols, and Samuel L. Jackson, and follows police efforts to stop a Jigsaw copycat killer. The original creators of the series, James Wan and Leigh Whannell, as well as Rock and series veteran Kevin Greutert, serve as executive producers.

Talks of another Saw installment began after the release of Jigsaw in 2017, with Chris Rock wanting to branch out into the horror genre. The Spierig Brothers, who directed Jigsaw, were interested in returning for another film but eventually decided against it. The project was officially announced in May 2019, with Rock polishing a script by Stolberg and Goldfinger. The rest of the cast joined in July, with filming taking place in Toronto through that month and August.

Originally scheduled to be released in May 2020, Spiral was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and was theatrically released in the United States on May 14, 2021, by Lionsgate. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the franchise's new direction but were divided on whether it had fully succeeded in reinventing it.

Plot[]

During a Fourth of July parade, off-duty cop Detective Marv Boswick chases a thief down a sewer drainage pipe. Attacked from behind by a figure wearing a pig mask, Boswick awakens to find himself suspended by his tongue in an active subway tunnel and is given a choice via recorded message: tear out his tongue and live, or remain until the next train arrives, killing him. Unable to escape the trap in time, Boswick is hit by the train and killed. The next day, police Captain Angie Garza assigns Detective Ezekiel "Zeke" Banks a new partner, idealistic rookie William Schenk. Banks and Schenk investigate Boswick's death and Banks realizes this to be similar to the now deceased Jigsaw Killer.

Meanwhile, a homicide detective named Fitch – who several years prior had ignored a backup call from Banks, resulting in him nearly getting killed – is abducted and placed in a trap where he must rip his fingers off to avoid electrocution in a filling water basin; he also fails to escape and dies. Some officers begin to suspect that Banks may be responsible, due to his history with Fitch. A box then arrives at the station, containing a pig puppet and a piece of Schenk's tattooed skin inside. A small vial inside the box directs the police to a butcher shop, which was previously a hobby shop where Banks and his father, retired chief Marcus Banks, would go. Upon arriving, the team discovers a tape recorder and a skinned corpse, identified as Schenk. Deciding to track down the killer himself, Marcus travels to a warehouse, where he is abducted. Shortly afterwards, Garza is kidnapped, and placed in a trap in the precinct's cold storage where she has to sever her spinal cord on a blade to stop hot wax flowing from a pipe onto her face. She fails to do so and dies from her injuries due to the boiling hot wax, with Banks discovering her body.

While chasing a lead, Banks is captured and wakes up at the warehouse, handcuffed to a pipe with a hacksaw nearby. He considers sawing off his arm, but successfully escapes using a loose bobby pin. He then discovers Peter Dunleavy, his former partner who was fired and imprisoned when Banks exposed a murder he committed, chained in place. In front of him is a large glass-crushing machine, which has been modified to rapidly hurl shrapnel at him. A tape recorder explains that Banks can choose to either free him or leave him to die. Although Banks attempts to save Dunleavy, he cannot get the key in time. Moving to another room, Banks then finds Schenk, who is revealed to have faked his own death by using the skinned corpse of the thief who lured Boswick into the tunnels, and has been the copycat all along. He explains that he is actually Emmerson, the son of the person Dunleavy murdered, who was shot because he had agreed to testify against a dirty cop. He also reveals that Marcus, during his time as chief, deliberately protected corrupt officers (including Garza) to "clean" the streets of crime more efficiently under Article 8.

Believing that Banks can be an ally, Emmerson presents him with a final test, revealing Marcus restrained in the air and slowly being drained of blood. Emmerson calls 9-1-1 and claims that he is a civilian being pursued by a shooter, resulting in the dispatcher sending a SWAT team to his location. He hands Banks a revolver with one cartridge, and offers him the choice to either shoot a target that will save Marcus but allow Emmerson's escape, or to kill Emmerson and let his father bleed to death. Banks shoots the target to save Marcus, causing his restraints to loosen and lowering him to the ground, and then begins to fight Emmerson. Shortly after, the SWAT team arrives and inadvertently triggers a tripwire, causing Marcus's restraints to yank him upward again. The movement reveals a gun affixed to Marcus' arm, leading the SWAT team to mistake him for the shooter and kill him. Banks screams despairingly as Emmerson escapes.

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