An average reader may think this article is nothing more than troll bait (including myself if it were a few years back), but I 100% back my thoughts and feelings on a new Saw film – even if I may be in the closeted minority. While I completely understand that my stance probably isn’t popular, and I’m putting myself in quite the position by coming out of the closet on this one (no, not that way), the horror fan in me sees absolutely no problem with Lionsgate moving ahead on Saw 8 – or whatever franchise incarnation they decide to move forward with. It’s inevitable, has recently been announced by Lionsgate themselves, and is the move we all knew money-hungry studios would make eventually – and why not? Would I like to play a game, again? Yes, I absolutely do, and you should too.
Everyone knows the storied history of the Saw franchise. “Horror director juggernaut turned new hot mainstream commodity” James Wan made his name with writing partner Leigh Whannell on the original Saw film, a crazed little indie gore-fest with a shocking, generation defining horror ending that sparked a wave of copycat “torture porn” thrillers. Suddenly every killer had a socially charged message and loved torturing his/her victims one by one – but no one could touch the franchise that Wan spawned. While Wan never returned to direct a sequel, and with Whannell only scripting up to Saw III, the yearly Halloween thrill-machine ran until Saw 3D (hilariously subtitled “The Final Chapter”), creating a franchise that spanned seven gruesome films. The almost billion dollar franchise ran like clockwork year after year, giving fans more of the same carnage, traps, and tricks, becoming a seasonal mainstay that only found a challenger in the Paranormal Activity franchise who took over Halloween scare duties when Jigsaw was supposedly retired after Saw 3D.
While audiences continued to make Saw one of the most famous horror movie franchises of all time, critics weren’t so excited about the continued milking of this bloody cash cow. Wan’s original Saw marks the highest rated film in the series, scoring a 48% over at Rotten Tomatoes, but Metacritic likes to think Saw III ranks higher on their scale, scoring a 48 – with half the reviews. Either way, the best Saw film still came up rotten according to a mass polling of critics, even though it’s one of the most brilliant and influential horror films of an entire decade. Critics be damned though, because mainstream horror audiences couldn’t get enough Saw, stuffing studio pockets to the tune of about $953,421,276. Saw III was the highest worldwide performer out of the group, grossing $183,728,322, but Saw 3D saw a practically doubled gross from Saw VI, raking in $138,328,841 compared to a measly (by comparison) $69,048,066. Say what you will about the reasoning – people just wanted to see Saw‘s “final” act, the 3D aspect attracted new viewers, marketing saw a vast improvement – but any logical moviegoer had to assume such a money-maker wasn’t going anywhere.
It’s not just critics who apparently despise everything Saw though, as not only did Saw 3D receive the lowest TomatoMeter rating at 10%, but it also saw the audience rating dip below 50% for the first time, scoring a less than desirable 45% audience score. Everyone turned out for it, but no one seemed to like it much apparently. There had always been Saw haters, but by this point, there existed a large section of horror fans hating Saw for developing a cookie-cutter method writers and directors never strayed from. New location, new traps, new kills – same idea. Saw became the scapegoat for fans claiming the horror genre was simply filled with mindless, generic, uninspired entries that were content with making a quick buck – not appeasing those minds demanding constant innovation and originality. “They’re not even scary, they’re just sick!” Yup, the Saw franchise has PLENTY of haters, and the worst part is, I can’t really argue their reasoning either. When Saw went away, people rejoiced, and Paranormal Activity took over the October horror box office.
Those are facts though – a summation of events to ease you into the point of this article, and probably the moment where I lose most of you:
I’m ready for another Saw movie.