Chris Rock is rebooting the Saw franchise with Lionsgate, Twisted Pictures

saw, horror, chris rock

When you think of the bone-crunching, stomach-churning, blood-gushing SAW franchise the first thing that doesn’t come to mind is the comedic genius of Chris Rock. And yet, the comedy icon and the makers of the long-running horror series are teaming up for a new series of movies within the uber-violent world of intricate and deadly traps and mazes. Already with a team in place, the first movie in this line of spin-offs will be helmed by series vet Darren Lynn Bousman and is scheduled for release on October 23, 2020.

The announcement was made by Lionsgate this morning via a press release, saying the concept came together after Rock pitched them a story for a potential spin-off. The script is being written by Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg (JIGSAW, PIRHANA 3D) based on Rock’s story, with the comedian and actor also executive producing alongside series mainstay Daniel Heffner and SAW creators, James Wan and Leigh Whannell. Longtime producers Mark Burg and Oren Koules will also return.

“I’ve been a fan of Saw since the first film in 2004,” said Rock. “I am excited by the opportunity to take this to a really intense and twisted new place.”

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Chairman of Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group Joe Drake issued a statement about the pairing of Rock and the series, saying Rock’s vision pays respect to the original series while reinvigorating it in the process.

“When Chris Rock came to us and described in chilling detail his fantastic vision that reimagines and spins-off the world of the notorious Jigsaw Killer, we were all-in. Saw is one of the highest grossing horror franchises of all-time and it’s one of Lionsgate’s most successful film series. This upcoming film will still be as mind bending and intense as all the previous Saw films. Chris conceived this idea and it will be  completely reverential to the legacy of the material while reinvigorating the brand with his wit, creative vision and passion for this classic horror franchise.”

Burg and Koules also put out a statement, saying this new outing will act as an “event film in the making for horror fans.”

“Chris wants to put his own spin on the Saw franchise in the way Eddie Murphy put a completely fresh perspective on buddy-cop films with 48 Hours. This new Saw is going to be an event film in the making for horror fans. It will have all of the twists and turns and hardcore layers that our fans expect directed by one of the masters of the craft, Darren Lynn Bousman. We can’t wait to get started.”

So, yeah, this is pretty weird news. The SAW movies haven’t been quite the event since the earlier days when a new movie came out every since 2004, ending in 2010 with SAW 3D. But the series did get a reboot of sorts with 2017’s JIGSAW, which while it didn’t win over any new fans did manage to make over $100 million worldwide off a $10 million budget. But the goal here doesn’t seem to be to just make another SAW movie, rather than retool the whole thing and give it a much-needed jolt. 

While I’ve never been a big fan of the series I am a fan of Rock, so the fact he’s working to reinvigorate the series is interesting and utterly fascinating given just how unexpected and slightly weird this all sounds. Really,  the only thing to do is sit back and watch and see how it all turns out a year and a half from now. Either it will be more of the same, which should please fans, or it will turn our expectations upside down and deliver something totally new. That’s a win-win, right?

The new SAW movie is set for October 23, 2020.