Can Chris Rock’s Saw reboot bring anything new?

Jigsaw dir. Michael & Peter Spierig 2017

Chris Rock's Saw reboot is mysterious, concerning and perhaps even promising.

Chris Rock is developing a Saw reboot... we can't quite believe it either. The franchise began with 2004's Saw after James Wan (The Conjuring) and Leigh Whannell (Upgrade) crafted a short film to pitch the year before. Of course, when the film came out it was simply a stand-alone horror-thriller; a phenomenal one at that. Now, it's iconic. 

Considering the onslaught of sequels genre fans have endured over the years while others have avoided, it's easy to forget that the first film was actually incredibly effective. Sure, it helped encourage the resurgence of the torture-porn cycle, but it wasn't quite as clear cut as other examples. Something like Eli Roth's Hostel - released the year after in 2005 - absolutely conforms to the label, but behind the grisly traps of Wan's film, there is a narrative which echoes the likes of David Fincher's Seven, rather than the exploitation movies which helped spawn the cycle. 

Audiences loved the film, despite many critics taking an immediate disliking towards it. It was a refreshing endurance test of a picture and a movie experience which invaded the discussion of anyone who'd ever given a damn about horror. Sadly, incoming instalments stressed the importance of spectacle over narrative, and by spectacle, we do mean grisly imagery.

The series became lazier and more problematic as it went along, with most audiences declaring them confusingly mainstream movies that only gore fetishists could stomach or enjoy. Each entry attempted to convince us we hadn't seen it all before, but this issue was this; we'd seen all we wanted to see. 

We've witnessed eight Saw movies, with the first seven all released between 2004 and 2010. Seven years later, the eighth instalment - 2017's Jigsaw - was released, and while many felt it would be a continuation of the John Kramer narrative, it was revealed as a prequel in the final act. After that, it looked like the series had finally exhausted its potential. However, Variety recently reported that comedian Chris Rock is developing a reboot with Lionsgate, which is expected to release on October 23, 2020. 

The project is shrouded in mystery at the moment, but the same source assures us that the popular performer may be a great - nevertheless, unlikely - choice for the gig. “I’ve been a fan of Saw since the first film in 2004,” revealed Rock. “I am excited by the opportunity to take this to a really intense and twisted new place.” 

It's great to hear that he's determined to take it into new territory, but after eight films, is there really any new ground to tread? There's definitely hope; considering he's a huge fan, we expect he had some pretty stellar ideas in mind to even consider the project.

Perhaps he'll deviate from the previous eight films completely, touching upon the basic concept but running with his own nightmarish ideas instead. To justify rebooting the franchise, the film needs to embrace some originality, which we arguably haven't seen from the franchise since 2004.

Sceptics are inbound though because IMDb notes that Darren Lynn Bousman will helm it; he directed Saw 2, 3 and 4. Despite this, well try to keep an open mind, but unless you're a fan of the later instalments, it's hard to feel any excitement. Chris Rock has long made us laugh, but he better hope Saw fans don't laugh this off. 

In other news, here's what to expect from John Wick 4.

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