'Spiral: From the Book of Saw' — The Ending Explained

All of the Saw movies had big twist endings. You’d think by the eighth one they would be predictable, but honestly each entry in the horror saga was an inventive surprise. Spiral: From the Book of Saw is no exception.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Spiral: From the Book of Saw.]

Obviously, discussing the twist ending of any movie, let alone a Saw movie, should only occur after you’ve seen the movie. This article is only for after you’ve seen Spiral: From the Book of Saw. Once you do, you’ll probably have a lot of thoughts about the ending. Showbiz Cheat Sheet is here to help. 

Who was the killer in ‘Spiral: From the Book of Saw’?

Zeke (Chris Rock) and his new partner Schenk (Max Minghella) are investigating what looks like a Jigsaw copycat. The killer puts victims in traps that mutilate them or kill them. Somehow these victims manage to both get mutilated and still die. The killer also paints a spiral, one of Jigsaw’s symbols, at the crime scenes or related locations. 

Zeke and Schenk quickly notice the pattern that all the victims are cops this time. Zeke has a rocky history with his own department. He ratted on a cop who shot a witness, and that turned the rest of the department against him, even his father Marcus (Samuel L. Jackson) to some extent. 

All of the victims have committed some kind of corruption, and in Jigsaw’s game, you pay for your sins with blood. That includes the cop who lied on the witness stand, and even Marcus and Captain Garza (Marisol Nichols) who looked the other way when cops went rogue. Zeke even questions the cop he turned in, even though he served his time. 

In the end, Schenk reveals he is the killer. He was the son of the witnes shot by the corrupt cop. So he spent his life plotting to teach the cops a lesson, Jigsaw style. He even created a fake identity, and fake family, playing baby sounds on his computer when Zeke called him. Then he faked his death as one of his own victims.

What was the killer’s plan in ‘Spiral: From the Book of Saw’?

For the final trap, Zeke walks in to see Marcus connected to a contraption that is draining his blood. Schenk gives him a gun with one bullet. If he uses it to shoot at a spiral target, it will free Marcus. Even Marcus wants Zeke to shoot Schenk instead. Marcus probably knows Schenk’s plan already, or he’s seen all the Saw movies so he’s learned that the trap is never as obvious as you think. 

Zeke wants to save his father though, so he shoots the spiral and Marcus drops from the trap. Zeke goes after Schenk but sees that Schenk has rigged a second trap. When the SWAT team Schenk called arrives, Zeke tries to warn them but it is too late. 

In breaking into the room, the SWAT team triggers the second trap. This one rigs Margus to raise a gun at them puppet style, forcing the SWAT team to shoot Marcus. One would be reasonable to interpret that Schenk was counting on the police to gravitate towards violence against a Black man, given the film’s theme of police corruption and the videos we see on the news. But, Schenk did lock a gun in Marcus’s hand himself, so it’s not like they fired without confirming a weapon. 

Does Spiral: From the Book of Saw exploit real-life police violence for a twist ending? That’s a tougher one that’s probably up to the victims of police violence to say. It was Chris Rock’s idea. It’s not quite as subtle the commentary as a Jordan Peele horror movie, but Saw was always blunt about its morality. 

It was Rock’s idea to set a Saw movie in the world of police, and Spiral: From the Book of Saw originated in 2019. It was scheduled for release before the George Floyd’s protests, but was delayed by the pandemic. However specific the commentary of Spiral is, the idea of forcing cops to choose sacrifice to pay for their crimes was always going to be relevant. 

Will there be a sequel to ‘Spiral’?

Jigsaw had cancer in Saw and died by Saw III, yet he still appeared through Jigsaw, thanks to Saw’s nifty interwoven flashback narratives. Schenk is in much better shape to continue his Spiral crusade at the end of this movie. 

Spiral ends with the abrupt reveal of Schenk’s plan, just as the Saw movies did. Zeke witnesses the final trap work exactly as Schenk planned despite his pleas to warn the SWAT team. Then Zeke has to watch Schenk get away by elevator as the doors close, just as Jigsaw shut the door on his first victims in Saw.

Schenk offered Zeke a partnership. He may have been sincere, if Zeke were like-minded about punishing corrupt cops. Even though Zeke chose his father, Zeke is still alive. He may stick around to pursue Schenk, but if Rock doesn’t return there can always be more targets for Schenk’s morality traps. Oh yes, there will be more Spiral.

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