The director of Saw X just teased Tobin Bell’s upcoming trip to Mexico.
Up until this point in the long-running horror franchise, every Saw film has avoided establishing a proper location where its events take place. That’s finally set to change with the next installment.
The landmark tenth film, taking place between Saw I and Saw II chronologically, will follow the Jigsaw killer, John Kramer, as he embarks to Mexico to partake in an experimental treatment for his cancer. Sadly for him, it all turns out to be a scam - one which paves the way for a new twisted game to begin.
Jigsaw is Heading to Mexico
At the Midsummer Scream 2023 convention in Long Beach, California, the production team behind Saw X was on hand to discuss the upcoming tenth installment in the iconic horror franchise.
The panel guests included Saw X director Kevin Greutert, franchise producer Oren Koules, the tenth film’s cinematographer Nick Matthews, and production designer Anthony Stabley.
During a fan Q&A session attended by The Direct, a fan inquired about why the team chose Mexico, to which Greutert responded that “[they] can’t speak enough about [the city]” and that this film will actually be the first Saw entry to ever clearly define where it takes place in the world:
"There's such a mythology, the city is so amazing, and we can't speak enough about it. And just that, there's a certain creepiness to it and a certain history, and it just absolutely worked for us... It is the first time that, I'm sure you all know, but it's the first time we've ever said where we are in a movie. And we kind of really leaned into that..."
Earlier in the panel, Stabley had plenty of nice things to say about the new locale while creating this upcoming sequel:
“... So for us from the get-go, we were already winning because Mexico is so exotic, and John Kramer's like a fish out of water. So, it was a combination of all of that. And then there is a history of Mexican cinema, the craftsmen, the artists down there, they are amazing. So we had a wonderful crew. You know, I had a trap team of eight, plus I have my construction team, and they were just fantastic.”
While Saw X might take place in Mexico, it’ll still feel like older Saw films.
Matthews made it clear that it was important to them “to pay homage to all the early films:”
“I think for Kevin and I, it was really important that we were able to pay homage to all the early films, we love that the early films are 1:85 (ratio), we love that they're textural, that they're gritty, that there's these really bold, yellow color palettes, and we want to do our work to hearken to that, with pervasive darkness, and really throwing the audience subjectively right into this graphic, gritty world. So it was just a lot of fun for me to be able to enter this world and then also bring a certain elegance and beauty to it at the same time. I love beauty and brutality. And I want that in everything that I do.”
This shift to Mexico looks to also be a way of keeping the focus on John Kramer, who Koules confirmed “is absolutely… the protagonist in this movie,” and that the horror icon is probably in Saw X “[more than] the last six or seven movies combined:”
“John is absolutely... the protagonist in this movie. He is a man who's ill. He's a guy who was looking to extend his life. And in this process of him thinking, he's getting his life extended, shit goes down. There it is, but he's absolutely the hero of this movie. He's in this movie… [I haven't] done the math, but probably [more than] the last six or seven movies combined. This is his movie... This is John Kramer's story as a human, not as Jigsaw--we'll get there, trust me, but as a human, and like, you know, his fears and what's going on in his life at the time."
In a pre-recorded video message to the convention’s audience (made before the SAG-AFTRA strike went into effect), Tobin Bell himself teased that the upcoming movie is “John Kramer’s most personal game yet:”
“I'm back. For almost 20 years, I have had the privilege of being part of the groundbreaking 'Saw' legacy. And I'm moved by how dedicated the fans, fans like you, have been through every 'Saw' chapter, and I'm thrilled for you all to experience the 10th installment of 'Saw.' It's John Kramer's most personal game yet.”
Jigsaw won’t be alone in his international adventure—Shawnee Smith’s Amanda Young, who is one of John Kramer’s classic apprentices, will be returning.
Greutert confirmed that “[Amanda’s] integral to the story” and that “she was always [a] part of [Saw X].”
Koules explained that if “you go back and watch the trailer,” fans will be able to get an idea of how much Amanda is in the movie by the number of times the pig mask pops up:
“… If you go back and watch the trailer, think how many times you saw that mask, and then you see the end, you realize how much [Amanda’s] in the movie.
How Mexico Will Make Saw X Truly Unique
The new location will definitely give Saw X a unique feel among its nine other entries. While the location of the previous installments was shrouded in mystery, making it a known detail could be the tenth movie’s biggest asset.
The production team seems to have genuinely used the exotic location to inject some of the country and city’s culture into the movie in different ways.
This can be seen in the visual design of the Brain Surgery Trap, one of the film’s new traps. It features a metal mask that’s clearly inspired by the locale.
Another benefit of the movie taking place in Mexico is that it really doesn't need to bend and twist itself to fit continuity, seeing as anything could happen, and there’d be very little reason to mention it down the line.
If it had taken place in the same city as usual, the movie would’ve had to worry about crossing paths with the many moving pieces of Jigsaw’s countless games.
Saw X hits theaters on September 29.