I Am Needlessly Optimistic about Saw X

Hello, Kevin Greutert. You have been tasked with finding a way to make the tenth film of the Saw franchise even remotely watchable. To do this, you must make an impossible choice: find a way to bring Tobin Bell’s John Kramer back, without forcing everyone to go through the decade-old lore of the Hoffman arc. Live or die at the box office; make your budget back.

Okay, so you know that I am a pathetically huge fan of the Saw franchise. It’s one of my favourite film series of all time, which is not to say that I think every movie in the franchise is good, but there’s pretty much no single one that doesn’t entertain me (okay, maybe not Jigsaw. That was really fucking bad).

So I would like to chat with you a little about the upcoming Saw X. It was confirmed earlier this year, but we’ve had a little more information about it in the last couple of weeks that has, dare I say it, me very excited about what’s to come around Halloween of next year. I have a soft spot for Spiral: From the Book of Saw, but it lacked something I couldn’t quite put my finger on – maybe it was just because it was divorced from (and sometimes actively ignorant of) the wider Saw lore, even if that lore has turned somewhat ridiculous.

In fact, balancing that absurd, convoluted lore – as fun as it is – with a new entry into the series has always been my major issue with new Saw movies. The Mark Hoffman Soap Opera Slasher Spectacular absolutely has it’s charm, but it’s also genuinely deranged and borderline gobbledegook as each movie between 2-7 adds another six layers to it. At the same time, though, it’s also the plot with the closest connections to the Saw franchise’s biggest boon, which is, of course, Tobin Bell as John Kramer himself. A great new Saw movie would need to find a way to John Kramer without getting caught up in the razor wire playmaze of the Hoffman arc (a virtually impossible task, going by Jigsaw and Spiral) because asking a modern audience to catch up on one of the most convoluted plots in cinema is a surefire way to cut your box office takings in half.

So, the decision to set Saw X in between the first and second movies is a genuinely inspired one. It allows this movie to tap in to some of the existing lore, and skip the painfully boring prequel problem, without getting bogged down in a near-decade’s worth of plot that’s surely going to pose an obstacle to potential new fans. It’s also John Kramer in his pre-apprentice years (at least, his pre-apprentices-dictating-almost-every-part-of-his-screentime years), and I’m genuinely looking forward to getting another Saw II-esque story that focuses on Kramer as the scenery-chewing villain we deserve. Tobin Bell is a legitimately great actor, and the amount of fun he obviously has whenever he’s on-screen as this iconic villain has always been the highlight of the Saw franchise.

Keven Greutert, director of the sixth and seventh instalments on the franchise, is helming this one, and I’m really excited to see what he’ll do with Tobin Bell in this movie – I think his work on the sixth Saw movie is genuinely great, and he’s got a real directorial, thriller-y flair that brings out the noirish edge to these stories. With what will hopefully be a more streamlined story that’s not trying to manage a great wobbling clusterfuck of various character and story arcs, I’m really confident in him coming up with something good here.

Call me an eternal optimist, but I’m really looking forward to Saw X. How do you feel about the tenth part of the Saw franchise? Are you already pre-booking tickets, or are you totally burned out on it already? Let me know in the comments!

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By Lou MacGregor

(header image via YouTube)

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