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I want to play another game: ‘Saw’ franchise gets a reboot

The “Saw” franchise is due for another reboot soon. Based on past experience, a potential new film would draw crowds to theaters.

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The “Saw” franchise is due for another reboot soon. Based on past experience, a potential new film would draw crowds to theaters.

DJ Oh, Columnist

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In 2004, a new horror movie villain was born. Complete with a sinister bike-riding doll and an awesome catchphrase — “I want to play a game,” — cold-blooded killer Jigsaw of the movie “Saw” quickly became an iconic face of evil. A frail old man dying of cancer, Jigsaw grabbed the attention of horror lovers with his unrelenting calmness, deathly pale face and, of course, insatiable desire to kill those who deserve to die.

Director James Wan’s first feature film became something of a beloved cult classic that combined elements of torture porn with mystery crime. It was a fresh wave in the horror genre market that was becoming increasingly dull and hackneyed, and the audience loved it.

But just like any successful horror movie, “Saw” inevitably fell into the commercial trap of obligatory sequels that progressively got worse and worse. Ironically, the original “Saw” that drew its audience with novelty to the horror genre quickly became the epitome of cliched, commercial garbage, spawning a massive franchise of seven movies. The most recent installment was the highly deplorable “Saw 3D,” which marked the lowest of the series with a 9 percent critics rating and a 45 percent audience rating on the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. With that, the box-office rage of the “Saw” series was at last over.

Or so we thought.

Horror movie website Bloody Disgusting recently reported that Lionsgate is “incredibly active” in the development of an eighth “Saw” movie that could potentially reboot the franchise. Although there is “nothing official on paper” yet, many insiders have hinted to a probable reincarnation of the notorious series.

Actress Betsy Russell (who plays Jigsaw’s ex-wife) first confirmed another “Saw” movie might be in the works when she commented, “Before we thought it was ending, the writers came up with an unbelievable idea. It’s an amazing story that I would love to see.”

“Saw” was, in a way, destined source material for commercial exploitation, as it easily opened up possibilities for Final Destination-esque sequels with elaborate traps and gory deaths. But with commercial success often comes the neglect of originality and art, and “Saw” was no exception. Sadly, there seems to be only one reason for why the overrun series is being brought back to life: It is a guaranteed commercial success. Each “Saw” movie generated an average of $59,416,295 (the highest-grossing was “Saw II,” with a jaw-dropping $87,039,965), putting the whole franchise at a total net gross of $415,914,068.

Perhaps we as moviegoers are bound to the comfort of the familiar and formulaic, even as we shout for something new.

Email: dongoh2016@u.northwestern.edu

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