Spiral: From the Book of Saw director Darren Lynn Bousman says the film received an NC-17 rating 11 times before the MPA finally gave it an R-rating.
Spiral: From the Book of Saw is slated to hit theaters on May 14, but according to director Darren Lynn Bousman, getting an R-rating was a challenge as the film was hit with an NC-17 rating 11 times by the Motion Picture Association (MPA). Bousman is no stranger to the franchise, as he helmed Saw II, Saw III, and Saw IV prior to taking the reins on Sprial, the ninth installment. With Bousman behind the camera, it may have seemed as though his involvement could have helped to negate these types of problems, but the final say can only come from the MPA.
Spiral is based on a story idea from Chris Rock, and it was written by Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger, the same writers who penned the franchise’s 8th installment, Jigsaw. Rock stars alongside fellow franchise newcomers Samuel L. Jackson and Max Minghella. The story is said to center on the investigation of a copycat killer who draws inspiration from the Jigsaw Killer, who Tobin Bell portrayed throughout the other eight films in the series.
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In a recent interview with Fandom, Bousman spoke about the violence in the film, stating they were more interested in a “thriller” type of film rather than the gore. He was also shocked by the response of the rating board, saying, “this is probably the least gratuitous” of all the films he’s made throughout his career, which carries weight when you have three Saw films under your belt already. While the Saw films are known for their violent content, Bousman still found it “baffling.” Read what Bousman said about the movie’s rating below:
Regarding the violence, [this] was crazy, we wanted to make a more ‘thriller’ film than we wanted to go off and do gore, but I’ll tell you that in America I had more issues with the MPAA on this movie than I ever had on Saw II, III, or IV. […] The MPAA is basically the ratings board, and we got the NC-17 [rating] eleven times. We had to keep going back and re-cutting the movie to try to get it to be acceptable for an R-rating. Which to me was just baffling because of all the movies I’ve done this is probably the least gratuitous and it was the one that was somewhat hyper-focused on [by] the MPAA this time around.
The Saw films, along with movies like Hostel, helped bring about the term “torture porn,” which refers to films that feature graphic violence or torture as a large driving force of the plot. Saw fans have come to expect extreme violence, and each installment has tried to push the envelope. Therefore, it’s not crazy to think that the ninth installment would be any different, even with Bousman stating that it wasn’t meant to be as gratuitous as the previous films.
This is also not the first time a Saw film didn’t initially receive an R-rating. The original Saw film, which came out in 2004, received an NC-17 rating. Director James Wan had to make edits to the film and resubmit it to the ratings board in order to get the R-rating that the studio wanted. However, it’s still likely that fans will get to see the more violent version of Spiral when it hits streaming and Blu-Ray, as all eight previous titles in the franchise have been released with an unrated cut. While Spiral finally earned its R-rating, fans can rest easy knowing they’ll likely get a bit more after the film’s theatrical run.
More: Spiral: Everything We Know About Jigsaw’s Replacement Killer
- Spiral: From the Book of Saw/Saw 9 (2021)Release date: May 14, 2021
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