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Interview: ‘Spiral’ Director Darren Lynn Bousman on Evolving the Book of ‘Saw’

Darren Lynn Bousman is a veteran of the Saw franchise, so he knows what makes fans tick. As much as that might seem like a recipe for Spiral: From the Book of Saw to be a retread, it instead is a huge breath of fresh air. Armed with a daring new idea from star Chris Rock, Bousman and company executed something that’s as bold and urgent as it is gruesomely entertaining. Spiral stands on its own as a terrific new film, while also being a love letter to fans of the series. As one of the latter, I was eagerly anticipating the movie, while crossing my fingers that everyone involved could pull it off. Well, they sure did, and one of the end results was a burning desire to talk to Bousman about it all. Today, I can bring you that conversation.

Spiral is tremendously entertaining, as I detailed in my rave review yesterday. For those of you who haven’t gotten a chance to read it, that can be found here. Furthermore, here’s a taste of what I had to say:

The Saw franchise has long needed an injection of fresh blood. Even coming from someone who loves the horror films, the last installment, Jigsaw, was proof that things were at an inflection point. The movies were certainly enjoyable, but the initial idea and social commentary had been set aside for a more and more complex mythology. It was always going to take some sort of radical change to keep these flicks going, or else their time would have passed. Enter Chris Rock, who is a fellow fan, and yet was able to pitch a huge departure from what’s come before. The result is something that continues in the world of Saw, but isn’t really a reboot or a sequel. Truly, Spiral: From the Book of Saw (or Spiral, for short) is its own thing. Not only is that an exciting prospect for cinephiles, it results in an incredibly strong motion picture.

Spiral is not just good, it’s downright great. In fact, this is easily one of the best films of 2021, so far. It gives you what you want from this property, to be sure. There’s gore, inventive traps, and a strong twist, but it’s not limited to that. There’s character development, creativity, and a boldness of vision befitting an original work. Threading that needle couldn’t have been easy, but Rock and company were able to pull it off in gloriously bloody fashion.

Director Darren Lynn Bousman brings some really bold ideas to the picture, too. Not only is it shot differently than usual, Bousman and cinematographer Jordan Oram accentuate the look of a hot summer day. Spiral takes place often in daylight, which is another departure for the franchise. Sure, the requisite gore and traps of a Saw outing are here, but this looks and feels more like a gritty cop drama. Bousman, Rock, and returning writers Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg aren’t afraid to mess with audience expectations. The same goes for composer Charlie Clouser, who has been at this since the first installment. Instead of a strictly ninth Saw flick, they give you something from the Book of Saw, mixing 48 Hours and Se7en with the perfect amount of echoes of the iconic horror series. In just over 90 minutes, they recharge the course of the franchise in a way that will make you demand another one as soon as humanly possible.

Lionsgate

Last year, I got to talk to Bousman about another horror outing in Death of Me. it was a really good interview, one where he wasn’t afraid to tell it like it is. That interview is here, with this being part of my introduction:

Director Darren Lynn Bousman is a name that horror movie fans should be well acquainted with. Primarily known for his work helming three of the Saw sequels (as well as the Chris Rock formulated next installment), he’s a talented voice that has managed to bring his talents to engaging and gory films on varying scales. Now, with a new effort in Death of Me…he was kind enough to take some time out to discuss the genre with me. Bousman is surprisingly candid and frank, too, unafraid of chatting about the lows of his career, as opposed to just the highs. I think it made for a really interesting interview…

Below, you can see my latest conversation with Bousman. Obviously, we talk a lot about Saw in general, and Spiral specifically. Again, he was up front and very candid, which always makes for a better discussion. He’s an incredibly nice man, which makes the hardcore horror flicks he’s so well known for somehow even more deliciously entertaining. This new film is a career best, too, and that made this a complete pleasure, to say the least. This weekend, when you all get the chance (provided you’re comfortable with theaters and vaccinated) to take it in, you’ll understand why.

Here now is my chat with Spiral director Darren Lynn Bousman. Enjoy:

Spiral: From the Book of Saw is in theaters tomorrow!

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Written by Joey Magidson

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