A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Movie is generally about trying to do the right thing, although it shows that doing the right thing can have severe side effects. Says that good deeds have few rewards in this world.
Positive Role Models
Even though Zeke's character generally tries to do what's right, he's not really a role model. He has suffered for his choices, and he has a dark, bitter side. Cast is diverse.
Violence & Scariness
Scenes of extreme torture. Violence against women. A tongue is ripped out, a person's body is hit by a train (it blows apart and spatters everywhere), fingers are torn off, a character is electrocuted, a body is skinned with a knife, a character's face is severely burned by hot wax, broken glass is blasted at someone's body, a person's blood is drained while he hangs on wires. Jump scares. Various body parts and/or skin sent to police in boxes. Dead rat in a trap. Dead pig. Character's nose smashed by door, with blood. Broken leg, with bone protruding. Bloody clothing.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Strong sex-related dialogue involving marriage and infidelity.
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Extremely strong, constant language includes "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "bulls--t," the "N" word, "a--hole," "goddamn," "son of a bitch," and "d--k."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Brief shot of character snorting cocaine. Visit to a meth dealer, dialogue about meth. Brief smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Spiral (formerly titled Spiral: From the Book of Saw) is the ninth movie in the Saw horror franchise. It's a spin-off rather than a sequel; it focuses on a new character, Detective Zeke Banks (Chris Rock), as he tries to catch a possible Jigsaw copycat killer. Violence and gore are extremely strong, with torture scenes, body parts ripped off, faces burned, blood drained, an electrocution, flesh skinned and sliced up with broken glass, a body decimated by a moving train, and more. A woman is the victim of one torturous machine. There are also guns and shooting, dead animals, and jump scares. Language is likewise extremely strong, with constant uses of "f--k," plus "motherf----r," "s--t," the "N" word, and more. There's some sex-related dialogue (largely about marriage and infidelity). A character snorts cocaine in a brief shot, characters pay a visit to a meth dealer, meth is discussed, and someone smokes a cigarette. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The expected gimmicky torture/gore scenes in this Saw spin-off seem a little out of place in what's otherwise a decently moody, intense police story. The ninth movie in a series that left off in 2017 with Jigsaw, Spiral is, like the original 2004 Saw, a gore/horror film on the surface and a murder mystery at heart. It's more than just another sequel that copies the formula. It actually evokes David Fincher's Seven or Zodiac more than it does any of the previous Saw movies, with its hardened, veteran detective, fresh-faced rookie, and brutal crimes.
The movie creates a potent big-city vibe, dense and heightened, but not without moments of familiarity and comfort. In his role, Rock offers an impressive, modulated performance, finding ways to slip his persona into the character with a few funny jabs here and there. But he remains rooted in Zeke's real pain and moral dilemma. It's too bad that director Darren Lynn Bousman -- who also helmed Saw II, Saw III, and Saw IV -- misses a chance to connect Black characters with police corruption in a meaningful way, and the movie's torture sequences almost seem like asides; they could be cut down (or out altogether) and the story wouldn't suffer. They also create a flaw that provides an early clue to the final reveal. But thanks to Rock and the movie's atmosphere, Spiral actually works in a roundabout way.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.