(Photo by Lionsgate/ courtesy Everett Collection)
Saw came, Saw conquered, Saw…stuck around for a lot longer people were expecting. The franchise that popularized the torturous trend in mid-2000s horror arguably peaked early with critics: The original 2004 movie is half-appreciated for hardening the genre and for its infamous twist ending, and half-detested for its empty obsession with gristle, gore, and guts. But audiences lapped up the visceral thrills, and after the first sequel ramped up the pain and plot twists to box office highs, a franchise was born.
With part III, the story went full Search for Spock and pulled off the Saw equivalent of blowing up the Enterprise: It killed off its main malevolent villain, Jigsaw. But ol’ Jiggy is nothing if not meticulous, and was able to continue his warped games of moral vengeance from beyond the grave (not to mention with continuing appearances from fan-favorite Tobin Bell) for several more sequels. But by the seventh Saw, the mythology had become too complicated and the grosses (the money kind) were trending downwards; Saw 3D was ordered to cram several movies’ worth of plot into one whip-lashing finale.
After seven years, the series returned in 2017 with Jigsaw, which enjoyed a critical response that was about as sparkling as could be expected based on previous encounters. But the box office appeared encouraging enough to continue on for a ninth entry. Spiral: From the Book of Saw, a standalone entry starring Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson, is releasing after a yearlong delay caused by COVID. Before we see where Spiral places, we’re ranking all Saw movies by Tomatometer!
(Photo by Lionsgate)
When Saw burst onto the scene in 2004, it introduced audiences to a monologuing killer named Jigsaw who enjoyed games, puppets on tricycles, and puzzle pieces made of skin. James Wan and Leigh Whannell’s (Insidious) $1.5 million budgeted film became an instant success, and it developed into an incredibly complicated franchise (the timeline is bonkers) that featured nonlinear timelines, bloody traps, and one crucial hacksaw.
What sets the Saw franchise apart from other horror mainstays is that it has the lowest Tomatometer average of any franchise with at least seven theatrically released entries. Its 26% Tomatometer average beats out other franchises like Friday the 13th (29.41%), Halloween (33.7%), and A Nightmare on Elm Street (54.5%) for the bottom spot. That said, the series has pulled in a massive $500 million domestically, and the average audience score sits at 60%, which puts it ahead of all the aforementioned major franchises and gives it the fourth highest audience score average behind the Evil Dead (80.75%), Hannibal Lecter (80%), and Night of the Living Dead (79.1%) franchises.
That may all change this weekend, though, because there’s a new Saw film opening, and it’s directed by Michael and Peter Spierig, the brotherly duo behind Predestination and Daybreakers. What sticks out in the trailer for Jigsaw is the amount of carnage actually related to saws, which looks like it’s been cranked up to 11, because the franchise in general hasn’t actually featured a lot of, well, sawing. In fact, after the first film, saws played a largely ancillary role in the series.
Nevertheless, we did a little research, and it turns out the style and amount of saw action can actually factor into how good a Saw movie might be. Here’s what we found:
(Photo by Lionsgate)
Tomatometer Average: 48%
Audience Score Average: 84%
Only the first Saw film features a body part being completely severed. A little odd for a series titled Saw that features 52 deaths, to be sure, but it’s probably fair to say there was no topping that first dismemberment, as far as narrative impact. The scene is arguably the high point of the series, and it serves as a reminder of the patience and planning that director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell dedicated to the film. What sets Saw apart from the six sequels that followed is that Wan and Whannell, who didn’t direct any of the follow-ups, thought they were making a thriller in the vein of Seven. For better or worse, the marketing department latched onto the iconic torture element, and the rest is history.
Tomatometer Average: 32.3%
Audience Score Average: 64.6%
Saw, Saw V, and Saw VI feature instances of people surviving ordeals with saws. Saw (48%) and Saw VI (37%) also happen to have the highest Tomatometer scores of the series, while Saw VI is a weird outlier, because its 38% score isn’t actually that bad, compared to its peers. Sixth installments rarely do very well with critics, and as far as the horror genre is concerned, only 1986’s Jason Lives (52%) and 2013’s Curse of Chucky (82%) can boast better scores.
Tomatometer Average : 30.25%
Audience Score Average: 64%
The hacksaw from the first film gets a lot of mileage in the series. It pops up in Saw, Saw II, Saw III, and Saw 3D. Throughout the four films, it was used to saw off a foot, slit a throat, and be reunited with the guy who used the saw to cut off his own foot. The saw is proof of the series’ ability to intertwine its narrative and tie everything together via a very intricate timeline.
Tomatometer Average: 24.3%
Audience Score Average: 50.5%
Saws are surprisingly non-lethal in the Saw films. In fact, only three people are actually killed by saws.
There is some humor and poetry in Jigsaw’s death, but it arguably would have packed a bigger punch if it had come by way of one of his own traps.
Tomatometer Average: 22.5%
Audience Score Average: 64%
John Kramer, a.k.a. Jigsaw, was the glue that held the films together, and after his aforementioned murder (by saw) in the third installment, the audience was greeted by his autopsy in the early scenes of Saw IV. Sure, he’s already dead in the latter instance, but did the coroners use a saw on him? They sure did.
The Saw franchise is a perhaps surprisingly successful example of the prototypical contemporary horror franchise. Critics have hated it while audiences consider it Fresh, and the films have made an insane amount of money on tiny budgets.
Throughout it all, though, the presence of its titular weapon ties everything together rather nicely. The same hacksaw bookends the first seven installments, and if John Kramer were still around, he’d surely be pleased by the longevity of his purchase. We’ll just have to wait and see if it makes an appearance in Jigsaw.
Jigsaw is back in theaters this Friday, bringing back memories of the bygone era between 2004 and 2010 (the release years of the first and last Saw movies) when every horror movie released seemed to fall under the guise of ‘torture porn.’ They involved inflicting the most amount of pain in the slowest way possible, where dark fates could lead to death, or something worse: living on, literally broken in body and mind. Relive the pain with 24 best and worst (mostly worst) torture porn movies pieced and sorted by Tomatometer!
We here at RT went deep into the vault of horror franchises to tally up the victims of some of film and TV’s most deadly psycho killers. Take a peek at the results — if you dare!
Haunting Grounds: Bates Motel
Estimated Body Count: 20
Has there ever been a cinematic slasher more pitiable than Norman Bates? The poor guy is practically at war with himself, and his mom nags him from beyond the grave. Heck, every time he makes friends, they seem to end up dead. If Psycho exerted a profound influence on the slasher genre (and onscreen violence in general), it wasn’t because Norman was a particularly prolific killer. Alfred Hitchcock’s original (and the sequels) depicted a man in the clutches of inner torment and madness that was so gripping and scary that it didn’t need buckets of blood (or, in one memorable case, chocolate syrup) to be deeply unsettling. Nine deaths are attributed to Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) on the five-season AMC prequel TV series Bates Motel. But, really, who can say for sure?
Haunting Grounds: The Jeepers Creepers series
Estimated Body Count: 20
When Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer wrote “Jeepers Creepers” in the late 1930s, they surely never guessed their snappy little pop ditty would go on to provide the theme song for a murderous winged creature who possesses a bee- and dog-like ability to smell fear, and who can regenerate body parts by ingesting those of his victims. And that’s not all — the Creeper can also overcome overwhelmingly negative reviews, too! Although critics kept 2001’s Jeepers Creepers from a Fresh certification, the Creeper was back just two years later with a sequel, and there was even talk of a third installment. Not bad for a bad guy who’s limited to a single 23-day feeding frenzy every 23 years, right?
Haunting Grounds: The Thing from Another World, The Thing, The Thing
Estimated Body Count: 20
Human beings have long wondered what otherworldy monstrosities might be lurking out in the far reaches of space, which helps to explain the enduring appeal of John W. Campbell’s 1938 short story, Who Goes There? It’s the tale of an Antarctic research team that unwittingly rescues a malevolent alien from an icy grave. The creature repays the favor by forcibly (and messily) assimilating every living being within reach, including 20 unlucky scientists and a handful of dogs. Campbell’s monster — referred to as the Thing — has provided rich fodder for filmmakers over the decades, inspiring 1951’s The Thing from Another World, John Carpenter’s 1982 cult classic The Thing, and, most recently, the 2011 prequel/reboot of the same name.
Haunting Grounds: The Jaws series
Estimated Body Count: ~21, if you count the whale in Jaws 2
Most of the slashers on our list are bona fide film icons, but few of them can boast of having changed the entire industry the way Peter Benchley’s great white shark did: Before Jaws‘ 1975 debut, studios actually held their big films out of the summer market, believing the vacation months to be a commercial graveyard. Almost $500 million (and lots of bloody ocean water) later, a franchise was born — and although the third and fourth installments aren’t good for much besides unintentional humor, the original remains a certified classic with a 98 percent Tomatometer rating. Granted, the kill count here takes into consideration the havoc wreaked by multiple great whites over the course of the franchise, but it merely illustrates what Benchley already knew: the ocean is scary enough even without a gigantic bloodthirsty shark chasing you around, so tossing one in the mix just ups the ante.
Haunting Grounds: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series
Estimated Body Count: 30
The twisted true-life tale of grave robber Ed Gein has inspired many notable cinematic grotesques, from Norman Bates in Psycho to Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs. However, Tobe Hooper may have done the most to immortalize Gein in the annals of perverse pop culture by emphasizing his habit of making clothing out of human flesh. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre introduced Leatherface, a developmentally disabled fellow under the control of his cannibalistic family. Though he started out as a pretty timid guy who was as afraid of visitors as they were of him, Leatherface came out of his shell in the sequels and reboots, making up for lost time in liberally employing his Poulan 306A.
Haunting Grounds: The Hellraiser series
Estimated Body Count: 35
By the late 1980s, the slasher genre was starting to feel a little stale — and then along came Pinhead, the sadomasochistic leader of the extradimensional pack of hooligans known as the Cenobites. The spike-headed hook fetishist wasn’t featured heavily in 1987’s Hellraiser, but Pinhead’s combination of creepy appearance, selective taste for victims, and clear fondness for gruesome torture stole the movie; throughout the eight-film series (four of which were released straight to DVD), Pinhead has remained the only constant, and for good reason: although his body count may be relatively low, no one else can match his prowess with a sharp, well-placed hook.
Haunting Grounds: The Child’s Play series
Estimated Body Count: ~38
Chucky may have devolved into a pint-sized Tony Clifton at this point, but the original Child’s Play was a superior genre piece — creepy, suspenseful, and blessed with an insidious sense of humor. Child’s Play riffed on the idea of innocence gone horribly wrong, with a quasi-Cabbage Patch Kid embodied by a vicious serial killer thanks to a voodoo ritual. Subsequent sequels — the most recent of which, Curse of Chucky, just recently made its way onto home video — have delivered more camp than scares, but Chucky’s left a trail of more than 35 corpses in his wake — and probably didn’t enamor himself to Teddy Ruxpin.
Haunting Grounds: The Nightmare on Elm Street series
Estimated Body Count: ~39
Arguably the most recognizable movie monster of the 1980s, Freddy Krueger may not be able to compete with other horror icons when it comes to killing in bulk. But the dermatologically-challenged Elm Street resident certainly wins points for style; in addition to his expert use of claw-tipped leather gloves, Freddy is adept at shape-shifting, strangulation, and generating geysers of blood from the bodies of future heartthrobs. Even accounting for the various forms Freddy has taken over the years in his efforts to turn the sweetest dreams dark and bloody, we’ve got his kill count somewhere in the vicinity of 39. That might be fewer than one might expect, but Mr. Krueger is an artiste who chooses his victims very specifically.
Haunting Grounds: The Final Destination series
Estimated Body Count: 39
Remember the old margarine commercials that said you can’t fool Mother Nature? Well, according to the Final Destination series, you can’t cheat Fate, either. It’s often said that revenge is a dish best served cold — but for the unseen hand of Fate, it tastes even better when garnished with a series of incredibly brutal (and, it must be said, very morbidly entertaining) booby traps. The series’ unseen antagonist has dispatched 39 victims, using everything from the mundane (death by falling brick) to the cleverly rewind-worthy (shower cord strangulation, ladder through the eye, death by falling cherry picker). By the time we surpassed The Final Destination and got Final Destination 5, the series was clearly aware of its silly appeal, and each creatively choreographed death was equally as hilarious as it was cringeworthy.
Haunting Grounds: The Scream franchise, Scream (TV series)
Estimated Body Count: 49
One of the rare slasher antagonists who’s a killer by committee, the Scream series’ Ghostface is played by a revolving door of mask-donning, knife-wielding psychopaths. Their motives are different (peer pressure, revenge, etc.), but the results are the same, no matter who wears the Edward Munch-inspired getup: teenagers will turn up dead, following the conventions of horror movies. And, as with other horror franchises, the body count increases with each sequel. Adding to the mayhem was the first season of MTV’s Scream, which aired this summer. All in all, this council of killers is responsible for at least 49 slayings.
Haunting Grounds: The Leprechaun series
Estimated Body Count: 50
The Leprechaun series is the embodiment of the finest that Irish culture and letters has to offer, easily surpassing the works of James Joyce and Oscar Wilde. The titular antihero is murderously committed to acquiring a pot o’ gold, an undertaking that prompts travel to such exotic locales as Las Vegas, Compton, and outer space. Despite his diminutive stature, the Leprechaun’s super-sharp claws and teeth have helped him tally 50 onscreen fatalities, including a very young Jennifer Aniston, who made her big screen debut in the first film.
Haunting Grounds: The Saw series
Estimated Body Count: 60
John Kramer was first christened “Jigsaw” by detectives who discovered the serial killer’s calling card was a puzzle piece-shaped hunk of flesh carved from the corpses of his victims. The name stuck as the cops closed in on Kramer and realized his elaborate, irony-laden traps were designed to punish those he deemed guilty of criminal acts or taking life for granted (he must have been a fan of Se7en). More characters and plot twists (Jigsaw doesn’t work alone! Something about cancer!) were introduced as the series wore on, and Saw evolved into a labyrinthine annual soap opera drenched in blood and agony. A Grand Guignol for our times.
Haunting Grounds: Manhunter, The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, Hannibal, Hannibal Rising, Hannibal (TV)
Estimated Body Count: 98
Before 1991, you may not have even known what fava beans were — but after Anthony Hopkins’ first appearance as Doctor Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, nobody ever thought of them the same way again. Like Jason Voorhees, Lecter doesn’t appear in much of the famous reboot — he’s only in a little over 15 minutes of Lambs — but it was the first time we actually witnessed the good doctor rack up a few kills on screen (both Manhunter and its remake Red Dragon only imply Lecter’s murdered some folks), and audiences had a clear, um, appetite for the flesh-craving serial killer’s brand of mayhem: he’s gone on to appear in a number of other books and movies. Although we just saw the end of Hannibal‘s three-season run on NBC, series creator Bryan Fuller insists we haven’t seen the last of Lecter just yet.
Haunting Grounds: The Halloween series, minus Season of the Witch
Estimated Body Count: ~107
The best-known escapee of Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, Michael Myers has never been a big fan of babysitters, nor is he particularly fleet of foot. He digs Blue Oyster Cult, and makes special use of Star Trek paraphernalia and kitchen cutlery. Since the release of John Carpenter’s landmark Halloween, Myers’ legend has been told in a number of sequels, and if his reasons for killing are obscure, he’s still coldly efficient at the task; he’s racked up a whopping 100-plus notches on his belt.
Haunting Grounds: The Invisible Man (1933)
Estimated Body Count: 123
We were shocked (shocked!) to discover that killers with high body counts could even be found in Old Hollywood fare. Based on the H.G. Wells 1897 novel, James Whale’s pre-code horror film featured Claude Rains (Casablanca) in his American film debut as the titular villain, also known as Dr. Jack Griffin. Hiding away in a snowy village, Griffin experiments on himself while working on a drug called “monocane,” which he believes is the secret to invisibility. Although he does succeed in turning himself invisible, he also becomes a crazed murderer. Killing those who get in his way, and a train full of people just for kicks, Griffin eventually causes the death of 123 people – including himself.
Haunting Grounds: The Friday the 13th series
Estimated Body Count: 146
Rocking facial protection that would do Jacques Plante proud, Jason Voorhees terrorized Camp Crystal Lake with cold precision (and an ability to cheat death that Rasputin would envy) in Friday the 13th. Occasionally, he breaks out of the bucolic confines of the countryside to wreak havoc in the big city (Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan), Hades (Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday), and the future (Jason X). According to our research, Jason has put a whopping 146 unfortunate souls on ice. Pretty impressive for a cat who drowned in 1958.
En español: Read this article in Spanish at Tomatazos.com.
A nanny is shocked to learn that her new employers’ son is actually a living doll in this Friday’s The Boy, inspiring this week’s 24 Frames gallery of the creepiest dolls from film and TV history!
Sometimes they come back from the dead…again! And sometimes…they never come back at all. That’s what happened to the horror movies in this gallery: they never got the sequel they deserved, so we’re dreaming up our own. You’re welcome, Hollywood!
[Spoiler alert for the whole gallery!]
The horror sequel Saw 3D became the fourth installment in the seven-film series to debut at number one and led a busy Halloween weekend at the North American box office. With no other movies opening in wide release, most holdovers in the top ten remained strong with three enjoying drops of less than 30%. The top ten generated the best showing over the Halloween or pre-Halloween frame in six years thanks in part to a pair of 3D sequels in the top five charging higher ticket prices.
Lionsgate trapped audiences over the pumpkin frame with Saw 3D which opened to an estimated $24.2M from 2,808 locations for a potent $8,618 average. The R-rated torturefest enjoyed a healthy 71% boost over the weak $14.1M bow of last October’s Saw VI which was crushed by competition from the first Paranormal Activity movie. The new Jigsaw flick was slotted into the calendar a week after Paranormal Activity 2 so it would have less competition. Saw 3D’s debut was well below the $40.7M launch of the latest Activity.
As one of the most popular fright franchises of all time, Saw 3D supposedly marks the end of the series. Being the so-called “final chapter” was a key part of the marketing campaign as was the extra dimension. First shows for the seven-quel began on Thursday at 8:00pm, but Lionsgate chose to bundle those ticket sales into the Friday figure which was $10.7M which included $1.7M from Thursday night. But the Thursday night take cannot be fully removed from the Friday figure since it includes shows from 12:01am onwards which are considered part of Friday. Saturday fell a sharp 26% to $7.9M while Halloween Sunday is estimated to drop by 30% to $5.6M. Saw 3D was not screened for the press ahead of time, but critics that reviewed it upon release slammed the film with some of the worst reviews of the series.
Following its terrifying top spot debut last week, the supernatural sequel Paranormal Activity 2 tumbled 59% to an estimated $16.8M claiming the second spot over Halloween weekend. Paramount’s ten-day total stands at $65.7M and a final gross of $80-85M looks possible. Though the new demon flick won’t match the $107.9M of last year’s first Paranormal, it will still end up extremely profitable thanks to a slim $3M production cost. Marketing expenses were extra. The thriller’s sophomore drop is in line with how horror sequels perform, especially when another fright flick enters the marketplace.
Holding steady in third place was the action-comedy Red starring Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman with an estimated $10.8M in its third weekend. The Summit release slipped only 28% thanks to great word-of-mouth and has taken in a strong $58.9M in 17 days. At its current pace, a final tally of $80-90M seems likely.
Paramount’s hit sequel Jackass 3D broke through the $100M mark this weekend with the help of 3D surcharges. Johnny Knoxville and pals took in an estimated $8.4M, down 61%, and boosted the cume to $101.6M after just 17 days. Produced for under $20M, Jackass has easily beaten the $64.3M and $72.8M final totals of the first two films in the series. All three have sold roughly 11 million tickets, though the new pic’s admissions figure is still rising.
Clint Eastwood isn’t seeing the kind of audience love he normally gets for his latest film Hereafter which fell 47% to an estimated $6.3M for a total of $22.2M to date. The director often enjoys strong legs for his films but his latest is not getting strong word-of-mouth and Matt Damon’s name is doing little to bolster the numbers. A disappointing $35-40M final seems likely for Warner Bros.
On the other hand, Disney’s feel-good horse movie Secretariat continues to show exceptional legs thanks to positive buzz and little direct competition. The Diane Lane starrer slipped only 28% in its fourth lap to an estimated $5.1M raising the total to $44.8M.
The David Fincher hit The Social Network followed with an estimated $4.7M, off 35%, for a $79.7M cume for Sony. The comedy Life As We Know It declined by 35% to an estimated $4M and lifted its cume to $43.5M.
Warner Bros. stablemate The Town made off with an estimated $2M in its seventh weekend dropping only 29% for a $87.6M total to date. Jumping into the top ten for the first time was Hilary Swank’s legal drama Conviction which expanded in its third weekend from 55 to 565 theaters grossing an estimated $1.8M. The Fox Searchlight film averaged a mild $3,230 and has collected $2.4M thus far.
Opening with decent but not stellar numbers in limited release was the Swedish film The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest which bowed to an estimated $915,000 from 153 theaters for a moderate $5,980 average. The third installment in the acclaimed Millennium trilogy enjoyed a wider North American launch than its predecessors. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo debuted in 34 sites in March while the first sequel The Girl Who Played With Fire debuted in 110 locations. Reviews were mixed for Hornet’s Nest.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $83.8M which was up 8% from last year when This Is It opened in the top spot with $23.2M; and up 21% from 2008 when High School Musical 3: Senior Year stayed at number one for a second weekend with $15.3M.
Suspecting they would have large significance in later sequels, I yesterday
refrained from commenting on Saw III‘s plethora of useless shots. The
camera’s fixation on Agent Hoffman (Costas Mandylor), barely above a bit player
in part three. Amanda reading a letter. Jigsaw pouring candle wax on a tape. All
of these are meant to clue us in to later events in the series, but taking
Saw III as a standalone movie (a test that, I believe, all movie sequels
have a responsibility to meet), these moments were just dead weight that
contributed to an already slow, putrid movie.
All Saw sequels cannibalize previous entries by twisting past events on their
head but at least II and IV were good at doing so. There was no
point in IV where I was drawn out of the movie because the filmmakers
were flagrant and obvious about dumping story material into the movie to be
expounded later on. In fact, Saw IV was rather thrilling, easily the most
tightly paced of the series so far.
That’s quite a feat since it has a quadruple story thread. There’s John Kramer’s
origin, tracking his depressing arc from distinguished gentleman with a hot wife
20 years his junior to crazed Jigsaw. We find out Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg)
is alive, in a trap with Hoffman. There’s also Rigg (Lyriq Bent), long-time
series survivor racing to avenge Kerry’s death and save Matthews. And then we
have Agent Strahm (Scott Patterson), a newcomer agent interrogating Jigsaw’s
wife, Jill.[rtimage]MapID=1185683&MapTypeID=2&photo=6&legacy=1[/rtimage]Each storyline in IV is a unique contributor to the movie
overall. Rigg’s citywide quest is structured like Jeff’s journey in Saw III
(a series of room-to-room tests), but Rigg is the tragic figure Jeff was meant
to be. His burning desire to rescue Matthews and avenge Kerry is palpable
because, hey, we’ve seen all the Saw movies. But he’s so clearly doomed from
jump street and it gives IV an edge of sad fatalism.
Resurrecting Eric Matthews has the guise of being a real crowd pleaser, as we
all hope he’ll escape and exact some revenge. Instead, his head gets crushed by
two ice blocks. Awesome, and truly merciless.
I’ve liked Patterson since Gilmore Girls and when I heard that he had
been cast in a Saw movie back in 2007, I took pity. But, you know what;
it’s a decent performance and a great character. Strahm is exactly what the
series needed at this point: somebody serious, cocky, and competent. It’s like
when you watch a zombie movie and the heroes know to shoot ’em in the head. You
like those people right away and it gives the writers less room to allow them to
do stupid things.[rtimage]MapID=1185683&MapTypeID=2&photo=11&legacy=1[/rtimage]And, finally, I was aware coming in this was a Jigsaw origin movie and, having
endured Amanda’s boring history lesson in III, I was expecting the worst.
But it’s rather compelling: a good slog of trauma drama (an addict accidentally
forces Jigsaw’s wife to have a miscarriage) that doesn’t break the bounds of
realism, and filmed with only the mildest hysteria.[rtimage]MapID=1185683&MapTypeID=2&photo=14&legacy=1[/rtimage]Director Darren Lynn Bousman displays the same competence (with occasional
flashes of real smarts) as in Saw II, obviously re-energized by the
script from new writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan. By the time the
series supposedly ends with VIII, the two will have written more than
half the series and I’m interested in what develops under their tenure.
Narrative consistency and arc is a rare beast in horror franchises, and that
only happens if the series has a low turnover rate in creative personnel. Across
four movies, there has only been two directors. The Saw makers seem, for
the most part, genuinely enthusiastic that every year they have fans that come
out, even if the critical community at large doesn’t appreciate that the
audience exists at all.[rtimage]MapID=1185683&MapTypeID=2&photo=9&legacy=1[/rtimage]Body count: 10.
Most inventive trap: The ice trap that kills Matthews. Hilariously
Stupid person in a horror movie moment: I would’ve figured that Art
(the lawyer in charge of keeping Hoffman and Matthews in place) would’ve told
them to keep still for 90 minutes and then they could go free. This was a cheap
ploy to keep the audience in suspense.
See Saw schedule:
Interested in directing a Hellraiser remake? This might be your chance.
Bloody-Disgusting reports that Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury — previously announced as the directors of Dimension’s planned Hellraiser remake, “are officially OFF the project,” and the studio is looking for someone new to helm to film.
The B-D report doesn’t get into the reasons why Bustillo and Maury left Hellraiser, but given that they originally signed on to direct their own script, which was passed over in favor of a new treatment from Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan (Saw IV, Saw V, Feast), their departure doesn’t exactly come as a surprise.
These days, Scott Patterson is known to fans of the CW’s Aliens in America as the perpetually befuddled Gary Tolchuck — but those of you who remember him as Agent Strahm in Saw IV needn’t worry: He’ll be back for Saw V.
Patterson spoke with IGN Movies recently about the upcoming sequel, admitting that he hadn’t seen a script yet (the producers are “very secretive”), but letting slip that production begins March 17. Unfortunately, when it comes to storyline details, he’s just as in the dark as the rest of us:
They don’t give you much. And we’re not really permitted to talk about it. The level of secrecy…I signed all these forms. They could take away my house if I mentioned a storyline.
Patterson’s Saw contract actually calls for him to stick around through Saw VI, but he harbors no illusions about that providing any measure of job security; as he tells IGN, “they can kill off any character at any time…it’s their option.”
To read more of Patterson’s thoughts about the ins and outs of working on the Saw franchise, follow the link below!
Source: IGN Movies
Hollywood’s never-ending remake party had to take a brief hiatus during the writers’ strike, but now that the lights are back on in Tinseltown, studios are moving forward with their plans to reboot all the franchises you know and love…like Clive Barker‘s Hellraiser, for instance.
ShockTillYouDrop reports that Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, writers of Feast, Saw IV, and Saw V, have signed on to pen The Weinstein Company’s forthcoming Hellraiser remake. According to the report, TWC has the new Hellraiser penciled in for January 9, 2009, on account of it being “evident [that] directors Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury were never going to make the initial (unrealistic) September bow.”
A horror remake…coming out in January. Not exactly the most promising setup, but we’ve learned never to count out those crafty Weinsteins, so we’ll reserve judgment for now (and draw a little Pinhead on our calendar’s 1/9/09).
The good news: a slew of new releases await you this week on video shelves! The bad news: woefully few of them are Fresh. That said, you’ve got your pick of twisted horror (Saw IV), harmless star-driven comedy (The Game Plan, Sydney White), French period romance (Moliere), and more. Choose wisely!
Jigsaw is back — not for the first time, not for the last time — in the fourth installment of the Saw franchise, helmed by series vet Darren Lynn Bousman. Once again, the metaphor-loving killer pits his victims against themselves in the most meticulously-crafted death traps in movie history, but this time around there’s a twist: Jigsaw died in Saw III. Que incroyable! Gore-hounds will delight in the unrated DVD edition and bonus features like deleted scenes, Bousman’s audio commentary, and his behind-the-scenes video diary.
There was a time when The People’s Champion could inspire awe with an arch of the eyebrow; now, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson commands multiplexes with family fare like this Disney comedy, about a pro football player whose bachelor existence is threatened by the arrival of a daughter he never knew he had.
For more in the vein of lukewarm family-friendly fare this week, look no further than Sydney White, starring former Nickelodeon star Amanda Bynes. A retelling of the classic Snow White story, the college-set rom-com failed to impress most critics, due largely to Joe Nussbaum’s by-the-numbers direction and a predictable plot heavy on Snow White citations. Watch this if you crave 2 hours of lightweight movie watching, or take a leap and check out…
It’s French, it’s a period piece, it’s a romantic drama based on the life of a great artist. But Moliere, starring Romain Duris and Ludivine Sagnier, is also one of only a few of the week’s new releases that has garnered the praise of critics. Following his fortuitous release from prison thanks to the mercy of the rich Monsieur Jourdain, 17th century playwright Moliere comes to live in Jourdain’s house to teach him about the stage, so Jourdain can impress a lady while keeping it secret from his beautiful wife…whom Moliere begins to fall in love with.
Hunting war criminals seems an arduous enough task for military types, but for fame-hungry reporters (and filmmakers like Morgan Spurlock, whose upcoming doc chronicles his search for Osama bin Laden) it’s a career-defining challenge. In writer-director Richard Shepard’s black comedy, Richard Gere, Terrence Howard, and Jesse Eisenberg head to Sarajevo to find a man called The Fox, based on the real-life story of a group of journalists who tried to find and apprehend Bosnian Serb war criminal Radovan Karadzic.
Audiences beware: Jessica Simpson is now a “movie star,” as evidenced by her first true starring vehicle. Produced by dad Joe Simpson, and featuring a slew of cameos and appearances by the likes of Rachael Leigh Cook, Luke Wilson, Penelope Ann Miller, Andy Dick, and (sigh) Penny Marshall, Blonde Ambition represents everything that is wrong with the movies — namely, that castmembers like the luminous, capable actress Rachael Leigh Cook are relegated to supporting roles while Simpson bounces her way around the screen as a small-town girl who falls in love with the mailroom boy (Wilson) while climbing unwittingly up the corporate ladder.
‘Til next week, happy renting!
Saw IV continues to answer questions about Jigsaw, even though Jigsaw himself is dead. It turns out one movie is not enough to tie up all the remaining loose ends, so actor Tobin Bell is still looking ahead to what Saw V and VI might reveal about Saw staples like Billy the puppet and the tricycle he rides.
“I can tell you that the tricycle that has appeared in all four Saw films has a very simple and human explanation to it which I hope that in V and VI we will both understand and have a window into,” said Bell. “The origins of Billy, the meaning of that, I think you will see when you see IV that we’ve started to enter into that area. I think there is some marvelous storyline yet to be told.”
Some skeptics might say, “Come on, you’re going to explain the doll now? Do you have to explain everything?” Well, Saw fans want to know. “I think those two objects are simple things and everyone kind of has seen Billy since the beginning. Well, what is that? And why? Although perhaps you don’t think about it, it has its effect on you. He has his effect and the tricycle has its effect when it enters the scene. I’m interested to show what those origins are. I think fans are really interested in known what the origins of very specific moments, especially Saw fans who are into the details. They just are. I’m always impressed with that.”
The biggest thrills of the Saw movies are their surprise endings, which seem to keep audiences guessing even more than M. Night Shyamalan‘s latest creations. That’s why the producers of the Saw sequels are starting there and working backwards.
“We just basically locked down the ending about a month ago so it’s working off of what happens from there,” said Oren Koules. “There’s nothing guaranteed. It’s really Mark [Burg] and I looking at each other and saying, ‘Okay, this story works, let’s go.’ When it doesn’t, we won’t go. We’ll miss a year, we’ll miss two years. It’s two things: If we have a story that works and the fans want to see it. It’s such a simple equation. Right now we’re working on some things on V. There’s nothing definitive.”
Burg may even have plans to make Saw V and VI at the same time, though coming up with two shocking, surprising scripts for one epic shoot may not be possible (especially now with the WGA in full effect). This plan also hinted at which characters from Saw IV might become the focus of a Saw V.
“It was an idea of ours to try and keep the cast together because it’s really difficult with Scott [Patterson] doing a TV series and other people doing other shows that we’re going to try to. I’d say it’s not out of the question but it’s going to be really hard for us to get the screenplay to Saw VI where we want it to be to be able to do it.”
If Saw V does go ahead, it looks like Jigsaw will remain a factor. Despite having his head on a morgue scale on the posters for Saw IV, Koules wants actor Tobin Bell back for “as many as he wants.”
The boys know that they won’t always be making a Saw movie a year. They’re prepared to accept their fate when the grosses go down. “I think we’ll all know,” said Koules. “As of the tracking, as of today and as of everything else right now, we’re still rolling. Listen, we’re surprised. There’s going to be a day we wake up, we don’t have a $25 million weekend, we have a $4 million weekend. We’re fine. We own the films. We’re okay.”
is the fourth Saw film in as many years. After reports that the Saw
franchise would finally take a year off, producer
Mark Burg countered that he’s
still aiming for October 2008 to unleash Saw V.
"This is the first time we’ve actually started developing
story ideas before a movie came out," said Burg. "We have a really good take for
where we want to go with the next one but it’s not good enough yet. My goal is
to have another Saw movie next year. However, if the script doesn’t come
together, then we won’t. We’ve got a really close idea. We’ve got two thirds of
a really good idea but I’ve spent the last weeks, four hours a day, meeting with
the writers to flesh it all out."
Should all go according to plan, co-producer
wants to take October 2008 to the next level. "I would be surprised if we’re not
out for ’08," said Koules. "The only argument is I want to play on Halloween day
because 10/31 next year is Friday. They want to go 10/24. It’s a big debate.
We’re ’08 unless something dramatic happens. We have a pretty good story. We’re
not there yet but we have a really good story."