‘Saw X’: Tobin Bell Returns in Chilling First Trailer (Video) SuperNayr

Attendees of this year’s Midsummer Scream got an early look at “Saw X.” The hook, as explained earlier this month, is that it’s a prequel set between the events of “Saw” and “Saw II.” That means we’ll get Tobin Bell’s alive (but not well) Jigsaw without having to awkwardly pretzel him into a story taking place after his on-screen demise.

“Saw X” follows Kramer traveling to Mexico for a risky and experimental medical procedure that he hopes will cure his cancer. Spoiler alert: The entire operation is a scam aimed at the most vulnerable. More spoilers: John is going to get his righteous revenge, Jigsaw-style.

Kevin Greutert, who directed the quite popular “Sav VI” and the less beloved “Saw: The Final Chapter,” is back in the director’s chair. “Saw X,” which like “Saw VI” concerns the morality within the insurance industry, looks to be a continuity-drenched installment compared to “Jigsaw” and “Spiral: From the Book of Saw.” The 2017 release was a very loose continuation with a brief Tobin Bell cameo. The 2021 release attempted an in-continuity soft relaunch courtesy of producer and star Chris Rock.

Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger, who wrote the last two installments, are returning screenwriters with franchise vets Oren Koules and Mark Burg sticking around as producers.

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While both “Jigsaw” ($103 million on a $10 million budget in 2017) and “Spiral” ($40 million on a $20 million budget plus whatever it earned on PVOD amid the COVID summer of 2021) were profitable, neither was necessarily a glorious franchise relaunch. The latter pushed the whole series past $1 billion worldwide. That is still a rare feat for an R-rated franchise.

Can Lionsgate relaunch “Saw” on the third try?

It could just be that the “Saw” series, which initially ran over seven movies from 2004 to 2010, was just the right horror franchise at the right time. Its grindhouse mentality and ruthless brutality personified the post-9/11 decade in horror, just as “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “The Last House on the Left” spoke to a generation ravaged by participating in or witnessing the real-life carnage of the Vietnam War. It gave Hollywood its first new iconic onscreen boogie man since “Scream”s Ghostface or – since it was a different murderer every time in those films — Tony Todd’s Candyman.

Tobin Bell’s Jigsaw died in “Saw III,” a death that stuck even as the later sequels pretzeled themselves trying to keep him around in spirit. Its increasingly insane pinball continuity — which makes “The Fast Saga” look like a simple straight line — both became a key part of its popularity and a huge challenge in ensnaring new fans.

The “bad” news is that this in-continuity prequel doesn’t exactly scream “welcome new fans.” The “good” news is that presumably audiences may only have to be familiar with the first and maybe the second installment. That may be a smart play for enticing casual fans who checked out when John Kramer clocked out.

Whether “Saw X” can succeed where “Jigsaw” and “Spiral” comparatively failed, there’s really no harm in Lionsgate periodically trying as long as they aren’t spending more than $20 million on each attempt. Hey, maybe generational nostalgia for those first seven films will finally do the trick when “Saw X” opens on September 29, or just under 19 years after the first one. After all, as real ones know, if it’s Halloween, it must be “Saw.” Or, in this case, it’s its a month out from Halloween, it, well, you get the idea.

Saw X

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