In May of 2019 it was announced that Chris Rock would be starring in a new installment of the Saw franchise, and the world responded with a collective, "Huh…"
Chris Rock's talents as a performer have served him well in comedy clubs, on SNL, and in Adam Sandler movies, but he's not exactly known for his dramatic roles. Initially the new project—under the working title The Organ Donor—was being billed as a reboot or a spin-off of the horror franchise, and it was hard to imagine how the Saw concept might be reworked with Chris Rock at the helm. Since then some more details have emerged, and the project is starting to make a lot more sense.
For a start, it has an official title now: Spiral: From the Book of Saw. Not sure what the book of Saw is, but thankfully the new film is not a full-on reboot. Instead, while not a direct sequel, it will take place in the same timeline as the previous eight films—of which Rock has been a big fan "since the first film in 2004." The new trailer, featuring 21 Savage's "A Lot" playing over scenes of New York, looks promisingly creepy, with Chris Rock playing Detective Ezekiel Banks, a New York City cop investigating a series of gruesome murders targeting the police.
Rock's Detective Banks will be joined by his partner William Schenk (played by Max Minghella of Handmaid's Tale) in pursuing the murderer and solving his puzzles. It's unclear if this killer has any real connection to Jigsaw, but Spiral refers to Billy the puppet's signature red spiral, which marks each crime scene. Whether a copycat killer, some kind of protégé, or something far more elaborate—the franchise always loves to keep us guessing—it's clear that some familiar puzzle-traps will be making appearances. In one scene Chris Rock finds himself handcuffed to a pipe, and he picks up a hacksaw on the ground next to him—a clear reference to the bathroom trap in the first film.
The film is scheduled to premiere on May 15 and also stars Samuel L. Jackson as Marcus Banks (possibly Detective Banks' brother?) and Marisol Nichols as Captain Angie Garza. Darren Bousman of Saw 2, 3, and 4, will be returning to direct this new installment.