Why Chris Rock’s “Saw” Reboot Isn’t a Terrible Idea

Horror fans were met with the somewhat surprising news that Chris Rock will be producing a reboot of the Saw franchise due out in 2020.  It certainly seems out of left field, especially considering Rock hasn’t really done anything in the horror genre, and the last sequel only came out in 2017 (something Rock himself has pointed out as weird).  However, given the few things we do know about it, as well as previous films in genre, this could actually turn out awesome, and here’s why:

The Return of Darren Lynn Bousman
It’s no secret the Saw series began a sharp decline in quality, as is often the case with any long-running film franchise.  None were able to capture the magic quite like the original did, but the series didn’t start to really go downhill until Saw V, and all the films that followed it.  Perhaps a major cause of this was the departure of director Darren Lynn Bousman.  While serving as director for Saw II, III, and IV, he oversaw some of the most compelling story and character arcs with Jigasw, Amanda, and Officer Rigg, as well as help set a tone for fast-editing and creative scene transitions; all of which were mimicked with less skill in the later sequels.  Having Bousman back to direct will hopefully breathe fresh air into a franchise that sorely needs it.

“Jigsaw” actor Tobin Bell admitted that Saw II was his favorite of the entire series.

The Example of Jordan Peele
To those who are unsold on a comedian randomly breaking into horror, they need look no further than Jordan Peele to be put at ease.  Known mostly for sketch comedy, Peele entered the horror genre in 2017 with his Oscar-winning Get Out, and followed up this year with Us and a rebooted Twilight Zone.  Comedy and horror have a lot more in common than most people realize.  Both aim to elicit an emotional response from the audience, whether that’s a laugh or a scare.  Additionally, both use absurd or unusual situations to discuss taboo topics.  Comedians like Peele, as well as Rock, are used to making observations about society and using humor to make a statement.  And horror can often be used for the same purpose, by taking said social taboos and running with them into brutal and terrifying territory.  Perhaps Rock has seen how well Peele has done with frightening audiences, and wants to give it a try himself!

It Worked for Halloween
While we’re on the subject of comedians getting into scaring audiences, the same happened for 2018’s Halloween.  Who knew that the writing/directing team of Danny McBride and David Gordon Green (HBO’s Eastbound & Down and Vice Principals) would give us a faithful sequel that evoked the same spirit as the slasher classic from the 70’s?  It worked because, for the same reasons as Peele demonstrated, comedians are good at subverting audience expectations and getting a response.  And slasher films are the perfect arena for this tactic.

Sam Ramie even proved with his Evil Dead franchise that you can do such extreme horror that it becomes comedy!

Honestly, only time will tell how this Chris Rock Saw spinoff turns out.  On paper it certainly seems like a strange idea, but it deserves a chance like all films do.  It may be easy to reject this idea outright, but as fans, the best thing we can do is embrace new ideas and see where they take us!

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