Spiral (2021)

Spiral (Bousman 2021)

We cut into the most recent Saw film in this episode. The first Saw film after the Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd and the movement in response in the summer of 2020. Featuring Chris Rock and Samuel Jackson, both with long histories of progressive activism including highlighting the racist actions of police, those messages don’t come through as we might have thought. Not that every actor needs to imbue every project with a social agenda, but it was a possibility. According to Wikipedia, “Originally scheduled to be released in May 2020,” and this may help explain the lack of social conscious clarity. The ideological bend of the Saw films has been muddled at best and deeply problematic at worst, and this film continues that pattern.

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Spiral (this film)
Saw (Wan 2004)

TOPIC INDEX – Spiral  (Bousman 2021) (times are approximate) 

0:30 – Introductions
5:45 – Movie discussion begins
6:00 – comparisons to Saw
8:00 – emotional experience
14:30 – ideology
17:00 – culpability of individuals in toxic structures
23:30 – excessive use of force by police
26:00 – muddy messages
28:30 – punishments
33:30 – whose side is the film on?
42:00 – Laura’s proposition
53:00 – How would we improve the film?
55:00 – Jigsaw through the series
59:30 – back to excessive use of force by police
1:02:00 – alternate ending idea
1:07:30 – compared to first wave slashers
1:17:45 – gender
1:20:15 – Taylor Sheridan side rant

1:21:30 – grading the film using the Collective Nightmares Evolving Rubric of Social Responsibility
1:13:45 – credits

Related Episodes
Saw (Wan 2004)

Antebellum (Bush and Renz 2020)

The First Purge (McMurray 2018)


Related Films
Saw franchise films
Audition (Miike 1999)



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“Horror films are our collective nightmares.”

Episode 98

horror, podcast, sociology, blood, gore, gender, disability, representation, police, BLM, black lives matter, police reform, vigilantism, vigilante, race,