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Jigsaw Returns! It’s Time to See a New Saw

11/18/2022 • 4 min read

Everywhere you look there is acrimony and crisis. No one can get along. The vibes, as they say, are bad. Set the blame wherever you want, but we suspect there is truly only one reason: The lack of SAW movies in our media diet.

Once upon a time, SAW arrived more or less at the same time every year. Come October, we’d all get together for a new chapter in the amazingly detailed and convoluted SAW franchise. We didn’t know it at the time, but this was the glue that kept us together. Without our annual dose of Jigsaw and his wild traps, everything fell apart.

Okay, maybe that theory is a little far-fetched. Nevertheless, in 2023 Lionsgate will release a new SAW movie, which gives us reason to hope that October, at least, will be fun again.

The Prime Saw

There has never been a franchise quite like SAW. The original was a grungy, low-budget horror riff on SEVEN that blew people’s minds in two different directions. On one hand, you had the novel idea of horribly violent traps designed not to kill, but to test a resolve to survive. (Of course, not many characters had that resolve.) On the other, the film boasted a wild twist ending. SAW was a huge success.

That was just the beginning. In sequels, the SAW franchise doubled back on itself, telling branching stories within a narrow, parallel timespan that kept Tobin Bell’s newly-iconic Jigsaw character onscreen after (spoiler!) the guy died in the third movie.

Even as the narrative leaps required to keep the story moving became drastic, the effort was fun to behold. We never knew how wild the story would get. And then, after a rollercoaster seven-movie run, it ended.

From Saw to Spiral

A franchise as popular as SAW won't ever really end. In 2017 came JIGSAW. (No sequel numbers here.) It wasn't exactly in line with the first seven entries, but it’s not a completely different thing either.

The movie features a bunch of traps, a cop hopelessly trying to stop a game without knowing he’s actually a participant, and it has Jigsaw in all his "how did they bring him back this time" glory. Pretty much all it lacks is chronological fealty to the first seven films.

Then Chris Rock brought his own SAW movie idea to Lionsgate. And so we got SPIRAL, a sidequel in which Jigsaw does exist but is not present. The movie focuses on cops, played by Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson, who investigate Jigsaw-influenced murders that they may have a personal connection to.

It’s a lot of fun to see something like SAW through a completely different set of eyes. For that alone SPIRAL has a lot of value. It also proved that you don’t necessarily need Jigsaw to make a SAW film. But it also lacked sequel potential. So what's next? Rumors have flown about a proper new SAW sequel, and it turns out they're true!

Now, Jigsaw Returns

A new SAW film is about to go into production, eyeing an October 2023 release. In 2021, SPIRAL director Darren Lynn Bousman said, "Just because we made SPIRAL doesn't mean SAW ceases to exist… This is not the ninth film in the SAW franchise. There easily could be a SAW IX that follows Jigsaw. I think they're waiting to see how SPIRAL goes and how audiences respond to determine what happens next."

So we'll find out how exactly Tobin Bell will return as Jigsaw. What will this SAW be? Will it take place in the present tense? In the past? A mixture of now and flashbacks like in JIGSAW? We don’t know yet, and given the twist ending nature of this series, that is unlikely to change until we all get to see it for ourselves. We don’t know how they’re going to pull this off, but it does feel like the world correcting itself a little, doesn’t it?


Read about more horror movies coming to theatres!


All images courtesy of Lionsgate.

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