‘What Happens Next Will Scare You’ – Latest Movie from ‘WNUF’ Filmmakers Finally Comes to Blu-ray

‘What Happens Next Will Scare You’ – Latest Movie from ‘WNUF’ Filmmakers Finally Comes to Blu-ray

At long last, Jigsaw returned in Saw X. Set between the events of Saw and Saw II, the tenth installment is a gruesome fan-pleaser led by a franchise-best performance from Tobin Bell as John Kramer.

Along with a six-part making-of documentary and more, the film’s home video release features an audio commentary by director-editor Kevin Greutert, cinematographer Nick Matthews, and production designer Anthony Stabley.

Here are nine things I learned from the Saw X commentary…

1. Kevin Greutert was unsure about the concept until he read the script.

Greutert — who edited six previous Saw films and directed Saw VI and Saw 3D — is one of the few Saw creatives to return for Saw X, but he wasn’t sold on the initial concept.

“I’d heard about it years before, what the concept of the movie was, and I was like, ‘I don’t know. Really? Cancer?’ I just wasn’t sold on the very basic one-sentence version I heard.”

In January of 2022, producers Mark Burg and Oren Koules sent him the script, written by Peter Goldfinger & Josh Stolberg (Jigsaw, Spiral: From the Book of Saw).

“Then I read the script, I was like, ‘Holy cow! This is really emotionally engaging and super smart in terms of how do we really tell the full John Kramer story and not resort to the same sort of flashback trickery that we had in the previous films.’ I was really taken by it.”

He also mentions that the original script took place in Europe rather than Mexico.

2. The crew strove to maintain Saw‘s visual language.

Since Saw X takes place between the series’ first two installments, the team strove to uphold the visual language of those films. Although X was shot digitally, they used vintage lenses, a standard 1.85:1 aspect ratio, lighting choices, and editing techniques that hark back to the early entries.

“It’s the visual language of Saw,” notes Greutert. “I think some of the more recent Saw movies were trying to get away with that and be, like, a normal movie. But we didn’t want to be a normal movie, we want to be Saw!”

“We wanted the language of the movie to fit into that world, so 1.85 [aspect ratio] was an important choice in terms of our framing,” explains Matthews. “Similarly, we wanted more vintage lenses and we wanted more grit in the image, and we wanted to do whatever it took to be able to arrive there.

“We’re shooting in a digital age, we’re not shooting with film, so we’re trying to find ways to take the tools that we have available now and tell a story that feels relevant to today but also reaches back to some of those aesthetic touchstones.”

3. An old camera trick was utilized for hazy visuals.

Vaseline smeared on a camera lens — an old Hollywood trick famously used to give aging actors a softer look — was employed to help achieve the hazy visuals while the drugged John is undergoing “surgery” when the budget didn’t allow for more than one tilt-shift lens.

“This was something Kevin had always brought up, an interest in using tilt-shift lenses. We ended up mixing in some Vaseline rubbed on filters and stuff like that to create this more subjective space, sort of in John’s head as we’re experiencing this moment,” says Matthews.

“Some of these [shots] are literally Vaseline on the lens, because we couldn’t afford two tilt-shift lenses, and almost everything we shot on this movie was two cameras at the same time,” Greutert adds. “It’s a pretty trippy effect.”

Shawnee Smith Saw X

4. Saw X pays homage to giallo movies.

The Saw films are known for their drab, gritty aesthetic, so it may come as a surprise that Saw X drew inspiration from colorful Italian giallo movies. Stabley explains:

“It was a wonderful opportunity for us to create this palette of the US with the colder colors and the blues — and you can see that in the clothing, you can see that in the color selections — and then having that departure once we’re in Mexico with the warmer tones, the greens. And then of course we have the traditional red, the blood, and this love for giallo films that we all share.”

“No doubt,” Greutert concurs. “There’s some great homage to that Italian period of ’70s horror filmmaking.” The genre’s inspiration is brought up at different points throughout the commentary by all three participants.

5. Anthony Stabley appears in the film twice.

In addition to his production designer duties, Stabley appears in front of the camera twice. Most notably, he plays the host of the Surgeons of Tomorrow instructional DVD that Kramer finds, which was the first footage shot for the movie.

As Greutert reveals, “Anthony is also the teenage boy in the photo of Gabriela’s family that’s hanging in the foyer. You’re all over this movie!”

While Greutert doesn’t make a cameo, he proudly points out that he played the piano music heard on the radio in Cecilia’s house.

6. Traps were coated in resin for easier clean-up.

Saw X producer interview

Saw X is among the goriest installments in the blood-splattered saga, and as much of it was accomplished with practical effects as possible. To maximize efficiency, prop traps were coated in resin so they could be reset easily between takes.

“There’s very little digital work in some of these scenes,” says Greutert. “Our VFX team did an absolutely incredible job making this movie work, but at the same time, most of the blood you see is practical. Most of the cutting into limbs that you see is real stuff.”

“The majority of this factory space had basically linoleum that was faux-finished as concrete so that we could clean it up quickly and do take two,” Stabley explains.

“In addition to that, the majority of the traps, if not all of the traps, were coated in resin so that we could have that clean finish to go onto the next time. I’m so pleased with all of that. It was a lot of work, and all of these different departments were working together to make this thing happen.”

7. The ending is an intentional inversion of the typical Saw conclusion.

The commentary track was recorded months before the film’s release, so Greutert was unsure how viewers would react to the ending. “Saw fans, you either love or hate the way we end this movie. From my perspective right now, I just don’t know.”

Inverting the typical Saw conclusion in which a door is slammed shut, X concludes with Kramer and the other survivors opening the door to daylight.

“To me, this is the send off of John Kramer,” Greutert clarifies. “He’s on his way to John Kramer Heaven, because we know he’s only gonna be alive for a couple more months at the most. Why do it with a door slam?”

8. Footage from the original Saw was recycled for the mid-credit scene.

The iconic bathroom set from the original Saw — which also appeared in parts II, III, V, VI, and 3D — was recreated by Stably and his team for X. But Greutert reveals that shots of the overhead lights turning on were recycled from Saw.

“Those shots of the lights are the footage from Saw 1. You made the ceiling. We could have done it!” he points out.

“It’s kind of mad that we did the whole build of the set for just this tiny scene,” he chuckles. “It’s tonally kind of wacky that we do this and we end on the Batman ’60s TV show spin into Michael Beach here.”

9. Greutert wants Cecilia to return in Saw 11.

Saw X introduces the duplicitous Cecilia Pederson, played by Synnøve Macody Lund, who narrowly survives the events the film. Greutert wants to her to return for the potential 11th installment.

“If there’s a Saw 11, I like to think that Cecilia will be back, but at this point we don’t know what that movie would be,” he says. “But she’s going to be pretty evil.” He also intends to bring Matthews and Stabley along with him for the next chapter.

As for fan-favorite Mark Hoffman, his overall fate in the franchise remains ambiguous following Saw 3D. “That’s what Saw 14 is for,” Greutert jokes. “Saw 14 picks up where Saw VII ends, and all will be revealed.”

Saw X is available now on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital.

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