The Saw franchise is getting a new twist as it is being produced, written, and starring Chris Rock. Yes, THAT Chris Rock. Oh, and some guy named Samuel L. Jackson. Him too. A potentially great career move for Rock, in a series that suggests that still has some legs left. (Though given that it’s Saw, those legs may be gone by the end.)
Rare is the occasion where a franchise with multiple sequels gets a fresh coat of paint and feel fresh again. Granted, you may not associate “fresh” with the inherent raw grittiness of the Saw franchise, but Chris Rock pitched Newline Cinema his ideas for the deadly trap standard bearing film series. Much of the trailer, and a good portion of the available still pictures show a dour Rock, without his trademark ear to ear grin. Torture porn usually doesn’t lead to much levity.
That isn’t to say that the movie won’t be fun. The Saw franchise is usually devoid of intentional humor, but as Rock noted to IGN, this movie will have humor, but it will not become a horror comedy. It will still have the gore and the intensity that the Saw films have traditionally provided.
According to Rock:
“A lot of times I go to a movie or I watch a TV show and I go, ‘Wow, you know, two jokes would have made a big difference in that.’” Rock explained. “I love Saw, but I was like ‘wow, it has almost no humor at all.’ So, it seemed like a good place…good fertile ground…by the way, the new Saw, I’ve seen like a rough cut. It’s still Saw…it’s bloody, it’s gory, but there’s like a sprinkling of humor here and there. We’re not revamping it, it’s not Scary Movie, it’s Saw.”
As a tone setter, one things that fans get to look forward to is Samuel L. Jackson providing the most Jacksonian of lines,
” Do you want to play games, motherfucker?”
Oh yeah! Nobody curses like SLJ! Rob Zombie take note, this is how to use profanity! I’m not sure how much Jackson we’re going to get in the movie. I suspect he will be in the beginning of the film as the MacGuffin for Chris Rock’s character. The official Lionsgate description for the film is:
“Working in the shadow of an esteemed police veteran (Samuel L. Jackson), brash Detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks (Chris Rock) and his rookie partner (Max Minghella) take charge of a grisly investigation into murders that are eerily reminiscent of the city’s gruesome past. Unwittingly entrapped in a deepening mystery, Zeke finds himself at the center of the killer’s morbid game. ”
A nice homage is the use of the titular hacksaw, first made famous by Cary Elwes in Saw, and now Chris Rock looks to be in a similar situation. This image nicely summarizes the lose-lose propositions that so often face the characters in the franchise. Still unknown… will Jigsaw make an appearance? What about Billy the Puppet? Who is pulling the strings this time around?
Along with originator James Wan, perhaps nobody is more associated with the franchise than Friend of the Scariest Things, director Darren Lynn Bousman who helmed Saw II, Saw III, and Saw IV will also direct Spiral, which is a good sign that this film will appeal to those who enjoy Jigsaw and all his devious puzzles.
There is a lot of optimism that this film will be one of the bigger horror hits of 2020, given the provenance of the franchise and the raw star power now involved, unusual for a franchise this mature in its run. This may have Halloween like potential, as Newline has slated a May release, suggesting confidence in their property to have it in summer blockbuster season. IGN is bullish on their predictions for Spiral, estimating a take of $123.6 million, and a $40.2 million opening day, which for an R rated horror show is a pretty good payoff. I would be stunned if the cost of this movie exceeded $10 million… most of that would probably go to Jackson and Rock, but since he’s producing it, that will be interesting to find out what his cut is. No information yet on IMdB for the production cost.
Spiral is scheduled for release on May 15, and will be a hard R, as all the Saw movies have been.