Jig­saw, the lat­est in­stal­ment of the lon­grun­ning Saw fran­chise, is de­ter­mined to in­ject a dash of lev­ity into the pop­u­lar gorefest

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY - SEANNA CRONIN

Michael and Peter Spierig are no strangers to blood and guts, or zom­bies and vam­pires. But the Bris­banebased film­mak­ing duo had to re­visit their own genre with fresh eyes in their quest to re­boot the Saw fran­chise.

Cre­ated by Aus­tralian di­rec­tor James Wan and Aus­tralian screen­writer Leigh Whan­nell, the Saw films were a com­mer­cial suc­cess gross­ing more than $873 mil­lion at the box of­fice world­wide.

“Ob­vi­ously we knew the se­ries, we were fans of the se­ries and we knew James and Leigh,” Peter says.

“We were brought in to read a se­cret script. We didn’t know what it was un­til they locked us in the board­room and said ‘read this’.

“We found out it was Jig­saw, and Michael and I thought, ‘I don’t know if that’s what we want to do’. But we both had the same re­ac­tion af­ter we’d read the script, which was ‘wow, this is a re­ally good thriller’.”

Jig­saw is the eighth in­stal­ment in the fran­chise and is set more than a decade af­ter the death of the Jig­saw killer, aka John Kramer.

As bod­ies turn up, each hav­ing met a uniquely grue­some demise, in­ves­ti­ga­tors re­alise the mur­ders fit Jig­saw’s modus operandi.

“There’s a slight tonal shift with this movie,” Michael says.

“It’s been seven years since the last film and if we’re not try­ing to of­fer up some­thing new then we’re wast­ing your time. The se­ries has had a lot of movies and we didn’t want to just re­hash the same thing again.

“It’s not as vi­cious and more of an ad­ven­ture. Tonally Jig­saw is not as bru­tal. There are mo­ments of lev­ity in the film, but it’s not a com­edy by any means.

“A lot of the Saw films got pretty damn se­ri­ous, so we’re just try­ing to in­ject a bit of lev­ity so it’s not as grim ... but it is rated R for a rea­son.”

Best known for their vam­pire film Day­break­ers and their sci-fi drama Pre­des­ti­na­tion, both star­ring Ethan Hawke, the brothers had fun com­ing up with the “test” and “games” made fa­mous in the pre­vi­ous films.

“We tried to do it as prac­ti­cal as pos­si­ble while ob­vi­ously not hurt­ing any­body; it be­came a very tech­ni­cal ex­er­cise,” Michael says.

Peter adds: “There are el­e­ments of the old and el­e­ment of the new. We’ve tried to com­bine el­e­ments of what peo­ple loved from the orig­i­nal films, those sim­plis­tic traps, but we’ve also done some pretty wild, elab­o­rate stuff. It’s a mixed bag.”

Un­like most films, Jig­saw’s trailer doesn’t give much away – a source of pride for the direc­tors.

“One of the joys of these types of movies, I think, is not know­ing that much go­ing in,” Michael says.

“There are five peo­ple in this game and you don’t know what any of them have done ... but they must have some­thing they’ve got to atone for.

“Then there’s a mys­tery also hap­pen­ing out­side of the game where these bod­ies are turn­ing up. All signs point to Jig­saw but he’s been dead for 10 years. You’ve those par­al­lel sto­ries go­ing on and then ob­vi­ously at some point they have to col­lide.”

The Spierig brothers hope this is the first of many more fright­fully good Jig­saw films, re­leased around the US hol­i­day of Hal­loween, of course.

“It all de­pends on how this one does,” Peter says.

“I can tell you cer­tainly there’s more story to tell. There’s a lot of story there. If it works then I have no doubt that there will be more sto­ries com­ing out of it.

“We’re proud of it, and it’s a hell of a good time on Hal­loween.” Jig­saw opens na­tion­ally to­day

Bris­bane-based film­mak­ing brothers Michael and Peter Spierig are out to re­boot the Saw fran­chise with Jig­saw.

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