What I want from Chris Rock's Saw (2020)
I think we’ve all seen the news by now. The 2020 Saw film created by Chris Rock. This will be the 9th outing of the series - we’re almost straying into Final Fantasy levels now. I know that on the surface, and despite everything i’ve said before about the franchise, I’m going to reserve judgement until after i’ve watched it. Saying that, here are my top 3 pointers about how they can improve the series easily, to avoid the huge plot holes that were laid out before.
Tip 1: No more sidekicks
I’m sick of the sheer numbers of people that Jigsaw has somehow managed to coax into working for him, even beyond his death. How does he find so many people who think he’s great after he gets them to chop their own arms, legs etc. off? Moreover, how does he always find people with the agency, the intelligence, and the theatrical disposition to fulfil the role? Answer: he shouldn’t be able to. We’re all fine with a little suspension of disbelief, it what make cinema possible, but with Saw, I think we’ve had to suspend enough disbelief to create a forest of disbelief trees for the disbelief squirrels to build their disbelieving homes in. Just stick with one main villain. That’s all we want. Afterall, we all go to see Slasher franchises which have had the same bad guy for decades. Now, of course, they’ve already killed Jigsaw, but I think if we actually properly stuck with one from now on, we’d be all the better.
Tip 2: Don’t pussyfoot about a full reboot
Hollywood is continually sidling up to us these days down a dark alleyway, dramatically throwing open it’s brown trench coat to show us the swathes of reboots it has stitched into the inner lining for our consumption. Many of them are hard pills to swallow. I don’t think the world was really ready for new Ghostbusters, a new Jurassic Park, or a new Cabin Fever. Although maybe the latter was for different reasons. These are big beloved franchises though and, whilst Saw certainly does have fans, I don’t think many of them are precious about anything but the concept, Billy the doll, and Tobin Bell. Guess what though, we can have a reboot with all those things, and perhaps keen John Kramer alive this time? The games aren’t quite as fun without him. Jigsaw was always ever just a few steps away from true Slasher immortality, largely and ironically, caused by his mortality. You can’t have an immortal Jigsaw as you can with Freddy or Jason; he’s just a dude with some bad lessons to teach those who displease him. But, that doesn’t mean that Jigsaw needs to always die or always be caught. He can live completely fine out of sight,out of mind for at least a couple of films. My advice would be, if you’re rebooting, do it properly. Keep John Kramer alive this time, and it’ll all work out - promise.
Tip 3: build your iconography, and use it to create your narrative
What images immediately spring to mind when I say Saw to you? I’m going out on a limb (much like Jigsaw’s victims), but i’d imagine that you’d be thinking firstly of Billy the Doll. The mouthpiece of Jigsaw. The swirly cheeked, tricycle riding goth wannabe who either hangs out on the TV, or in the room itself. He is iconic to the series, and an asset that they could get so much more out of if they just used him right. What i’m saying is make Billy the bad guy that we see for at least a couple of films, nevermind the gristly meat sack that’s actually pulling the strings. Vilify him. Make him the face we know as the real Jigsaw killer, even though, obviously, as a doll that’s impossible. This is perhaps a rather long winded way of saying shift the focus from killer to victim, and use the police investigation stuff as your back up more so than the behind the scenes psycho drama that Jigsaw’s death causes. Billy can carry the series so far, but if we emphasised the “Cluedo” element to the plot so we take longer to have a fleshy human face to put with the name Jigsaw.
If they manage to stretch the series out to another 4 films, I would be surprised, even if they followed my recommendations (which sounded a lot more narcissistic than I intended). Perhaps we should leave Saw alone for 20 years or so, see what technology can offer, how it can boost the franchise, and give a new generation of kids the gory imagery to discuss with their friends in the playground…
What do you want from Chris Rock’s Saw? Let me know on Twitter!