In today’s news, Bloody Disgusting co-founder and writer Brad Miska announced to the world that we would be getting a new movie in the Saw franchise. Pretty cool right? Well it got even more interesting. Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures released that this new entry was written by none other than Chris Rock. You read that correctly. The story will be adapted by Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg, executive produced by Chris Rock, and will be directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, who is no stranger to the Saw franchise, having directed Saw 2, 3 and 4. And of course, the entire horror internet community went absolutely batshit insane.
While there is a ton of conflicting reports circulating, what has been shared is that this is a “fresh reimaging”, not a reboot or remake. It is being referred to as if this new story is canon in the franchise. Lionsgate Motion Picture’s chairman Joe Drake says that “Chris Rock came to us and described in chilling detail his fantastic vision that reimagines and spins off the world of the notorious Jigsaw Killer.” He goes on to say that “Saw is one of the highest-grossing horror franchises of all-time, and it’s one of Lionsgate’s most successful film series. This upcoming film will still be as mind-bending and intense as all the previous Saw films. Chris conceived this idea, and it will be completely reverential to the legacy of the material while reinvigorating the brand with his wit, creative vision and passion for this classic horror franchise.”
What seems to be the biggest fence dividing horror fans is Chris Rock himself. However, it shouldn’t be that surprising that backgrounds in comedy mesh well with that of horror. Recent years, we have seen a number of comedians and writers of comedy backgrounds reach into horror projects. John Krasinski wrote, directed and starred in 2018’s A Quiet Place. Danny McBride and David Gordon Green wrote 2018’s Halloween, with Green directing. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg wrote and directed apocalyptic horror/comedy This Is the End in 2013. And of course, Jordan Peele wrote and directed 2017’s Get Out and 2019’s Us, while having his name attached to the upcoming adaptation of Lovecraft Country, CBS’s new iteration of The Twilight Zone, and the 2020 Candyman project.
At a base level, comedy and horror are not that different. Whether through laughing at or being scared by something, both are mediums in which the writer and audience process societal events. Comedy is taking on the horrors of everyday reality, analyzing it and using storytelling to comment on it in a humorous way. Horror is taking the horrors of everyday reality, analyzing it and using storytelling to comment on it in a scary way. Either way, you are accessing an event or societal change, and minding a medium in which you can confront it. A simpler way to look at it is that comedy is tragedy plus time. Horror, at it’s very center, is about tragedy. The line between them is simply the tone in which that story is presented with. In the same way that you analyze the subtext in a comedian’s act, you can analyze the subtext in a slasher movie. Both are born from a need to grapple with something that we can’t process outright.
At the end of the day, none of have a clue of what this new film may look like. We know that everyone involved is aware of the legacy they currently have to live up to. From the year 2004 to 2010, Saw was a yearly event, dropping in theaters that last Friday before Halloween. Since then, we have yet to have something of that magnitude fill that void. The original Saw (2004) is still an experience that I wish I could relive again for the first time, just for that payoff in the end. It spawned an entire wave of “torture horror” and pushed the limits of what fans expected at the box office. They aren’t trying to negate any of that. They are relighting a fire that has gone out. If nothing else, what is for sure, is that this franchise is currently in the hands of some extremely talented people and we should all be very excited.