WARNING: There are some SPOILERS in this letter from Saw III, so if you haven't gotten around to it, you might want to run down to the theater right now, come back, and read this then. OK? Ready... break!
Dear Mr. Wan, Mr. Whannell and Mr. Bousman,
Greetings from soon-to-be frigid Minnesota, gentlemen. As it's been for the past two Friday's before Halloween, I saw Saw. The first time around, in 2004, I was utterly blown away. After growing up on cheesy "scare" icons like Freddy and Jason and Michael, the sheer psychological horror of that first Saw movie made those icons like like Bugs, Daffy and Donald. It was a horror flick that actually scared the living shit out of me. Seriously. I left the theater shell-shocked, singing glowing praises of the flick to the dolts who stayed behind, while subconsciously vowing never to associate with a tool and die cast person ever again. I was even more blown away when I read about the specifics of the production: the $1.2 million budget, the 18-day shooting schedule with no rehearsals. It all just baffled me. Naturally, the same scene repeated when I saw the second Saw and, just this past Friday, when I saw the third Saw. As it is a tradition for these flicks to come out on Halloween weekend, it is another tradition in the Monday after a Saw flick is released, another sequel is announced. It's the only thing that isn't really shocking about the entire franchise, honestly. However, when that particular Monday rolled around a few days ago, I have to say I'm not so optimistic about the prospect of a 4th Saw flick.
While I did in fact love Saw III, it's so very hard to compare it to the first two, especially the first, because there were no expectations coming in, and you just blew us away. I think the easiest way to compare is to say that Saw III is basically like The Godfather: Part III. People might think that both of them suck, because, mainly, they're comparing them to some utterly monumental movies, respectively. But they don't look at these third installments on their own merits, and this always bothers me. Saw III is just eons better than probably 98% of the horror flicks out there... but somewhere in that 2 percent are the first two flicks. So, it's with all this in mind, that I hope you consider stopping this franchise at a trilogy.
Yeah, I read the obligatory article on Monday saying a Saw IV was greenlit, but I also saw in Mr. Whannell's interview article in MovieWeb, that he wasn't sure he'd be involved in a 4th installment. For me, that's really not a good sign at all since he's co-written all three flicks so far. And with the deaths of Jigsaw and Amanda, that might put a damper on a fourth go-round as well. Naturally, there is the prequel route that could easily be done (especially with all those flowery pictures of that chick...), but if you do it right after this third one, which ties everything from all of the movies so neatly together, why would you want to mess with it? Like most finale's of most trilogies, your Saw III went back to the original, dotting the I's, crossing the T's and clearing up some things that might have fallen through the cracks while we were getting the crap scared out of us. It was masterfully done, and I loved the way it all turned out. Even that last big flashy rapid-fire montage thing at the end was a sign, to me, that this was the end of this marvelous trilogy. I was totally fine with that, because I knew it ended on a smashing high note. But this Saw IV business has me worried because you basically HAVE to have Tobin Bell/Jigsaw, and he's dead, so if you do a sequel without Tobin you're screwed, and if you do a prequel with Tobin you're screwed because it's too damn early. You already took us back to the first one with #III, and now, if it is a prequel, you'll be going back even farther, and having it come out a year from now? Not gonna work, compadres.
I'm an enormous fan of your movies, gentlemen, and as an enormous fan, I really have to beg you to rest on your laurels. You've made three magnificent movies in three years, and a fourth in four years might just squander all that. Pull a George Lucas on us and make some other horror flicks, maybe a few more trilogies, for a decade or so, then, just out of the blue, say you're coming out with Saw: Episode 0.1 - Birth of Jigsaw, or something like that. Hell, it would work. You've given us the legend right now, and after some time has passed, show us how it all began. Don't spend the next few months trying to flesh out a new story, with characters no one knows, cares about or can recognize, because, trust me, it just won't fly.
I saw Mr. Whannell's interview and also Mr. Bousman's interview in MovieWeb, and neither of you seemed too thrilled with a fourth. Mr. Bousman said he'd start a petition if they "Happy Mealed it" or made it a PG-13. On a side note, if you started that petition, I'll be the first one to sign it... Anyway, if they want to do a Saw IV, let them do a Saw IV without the creators of the first three. Yeah, that's right. Turn it the hell down, and don't look back. If the studio wants it, tell them they can keep it, because you can all walk away knowing that you created these masterpiece movies, not the studios, and if the studios want to keep going down this road, tell them to get another driver, and just bounce up on out of there. I wouldn't feel quite as bad about a Saw IV if it was without all of you, Mr. Wan, Mr. Whannell and Mr. Bousman, because everyone but the studio would know it just wouldn't be the same, and we all likely wouldn't go. At least I hope they won't. If they start up this 4th flick, I hope you all put your names on Mr. Bousman's petition, instead of a contract, even if it isn't "Happy Mealed" to hell. It can't be the same after Saw III, it just can't. But, I beg you not to try and make it better with a fourth. Rest on your laurels, gentlemen. After these three wonderful years, I'm sure rest is one thing you certainly deserve. Let someone else do the blood-splattering and psychosis for awhile, even though, as you've proven these past three years, no one can do it quite like you gents.