How Scary & Gory Is Spiral?


How scary is Spiral? Compared to previous Saw films, the ninth franchise installment features more of the same: torture and extreme gore.

Just how scary and violent is Spiral? Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, the ninth Saw installment reportedly received an NC-17 rating 11 times before the Motion Picture Association approved an R-rated cut. The 2021 movie was conceptualized by Chris Rock, who stars in the lead role as a homicide detective.

Spiral centers on a copycat killer whose crimes mirror those of the infamous Jigsaw, otherwise known as John Kramer. After a corrupt cop is killed in the opening sequence, Detective Zeke Banks investigates with his rookie colleague William Schenk (Max Minghella). When other police officers are targeted, Zeke reaches out to his father, Marcus (Samuel L. Jackson) – a former police chief – which builds to a wild final act. Spiral was written by Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger, who previously collaborated for the 2017 movie Jigsaw.

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Related: Is Cary Elwes’ Saw Villain In Spiral?

The MPA gave Spiral an R rating (meaning nobody under 17 can see unsupervised) for “sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture, pervasive language, some sexual references and brief drug use,” while the BBFC has given it an 18 rating (meaning nobody under 18 will be admitted) for “strong bloody violence, gore.” But what does all that really mean? Here are the spoiler-free basics for Spiral.

How Terrifying Is Spiral?

Chris Rock as Ezekiel "Zeke" Banks in Spiral: From the Book of Saw

Spiral is indeed supposed to be terrifying. The franchise premise involves people being tortured and forced to commit heinous acts, and Spiral focuses on a serial killer who targets police officers. There’s a racial component to the story, but it’s ultimately about accountability and justice. Critics haven’t been impressed with Spiral thus far, but general audiences have responded positively. Due to the inherent themes – murder, torture, gore – the subject matter could be upsetting for some viewers. Overall, Spiral tonally aligns with the eight previous franchise installments, so audiences will probably know what to expect when purchasing a ticket.

How Violent Is Spiral?

Spiral: From the Book of Saw

Spiral begins with a nasty act of violence, which at once establishes the narrative tone and challenges the audience. Specifically, the opening sequence involves the graphic death of a police officer, who is forced to either cut off his tongue or dangle in front of an approaching train. Later, characters are drowned, suffocated, stabbed, and shot. There’s a method to madness, and the film doesn’t intend to glorify murder, but viewers must endure several sequences that show people being trapped and tortured in unfathomable situations. There’s plenty of psychological terror, but viewers should know that there’s also a quite a bit of graphic violence. For those who are uncomfortable seeing blood on screen, Spiral is probably not for you.

The Rest Of Spiral’s R Rating: Swearing And Nudity

Spiral from the book of saw chris rock samuel Jackson jigsaw corrupt cops

Spiral contains mature language, including words such as “f**k'” and “motherf**ker.” There are drug references and suggestive dialogue, but the film doesn’t have any nudity. Spiral probably won’t offend viewers who are familiar with the franchise as a whole.

More: The Saw Franchise Needs To Evolve Beyond John Kramer

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