The horror genre remains one of the only cinematic realms that’s guaranteed to survive beyond the streaming overlord takeover. That’s because by their very nature, slasher films lend themselves to communal viewing in a darkened theater, where everyone can grip the arms of their seats and freak out together. And these films’ continued appeal has been heightened and further fueled by visionary filmmakers like Jordan Peele, whose Get Out and Us have cemented Peele as a brand and infused a fresh outlook on a genre that has been accused of relying upon tired tropes. Chris Rock is now looking to slash into the genre with his perspectives as well, and he’ll begin by rebooting the Saw franchise.
Yes, Saw — the franchise that spawned seven incarnations from 2004 to 2017 and launched the directorial career of James Wan. These films were never a big hit with critics (due to the whole “torture porn” thing), although audiences turned out in droves for each installment. Yes, the numbers went down as the franchise progressed, but that still led to a franchise box-office take of $453 million in the U.S. and $976 million globally (on shoestring production budgets). Both Rock and Lionsgate now feel that he can resurrect the franchise with a relatively quick turnover (October 2020), and Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group chair Joe Drake hinted at Rock’s vision in a statement to Variety:
“When 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, we were all-in … 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.”
Rock, who will next be seen also stepping out of his comfort zone to star in Fargo‘s fourth season, created the story for the first film, which he will also executive produce (with original creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell on board as producers). The Take Five star further spoke out on his new horror gig while promising to take Jigsaw’s world “into a really intense and twisted new place,” and he also raved about being a fan of the original Saw film and the rest. We’ll find out exactly how twisted his new take will be on Oct. 23, 2020.