“Jigsaw” stars Matt Passmore, Callum Keith Rennie, Clé Bennett, Hannah Emily Anderson, and Tobin Bell. Released on October 27, 2017, the film is about a new group of victims who are trapped in a series of deadly challenges formed by the villainous Jigsaw killer.
The film is directed by Michael and Peter Spierig, who also directed Undead, Daybreakers, and Predestination. It is the eighth film in the Saw franchise. In 2004, director James Wan shot a low-budget film that not only grossed out and scared his audience, but also became one of the most profitable horror movies since Scream. That film is known as “Saw”. While the film wasn’t exactly made for everyone due to its gruesome sequences and its dark tone, it was successful enough to spawn a franchise, with the latest sequel, Saw 3D, being released in 2010. A lot of people thought that Saw 3D would be the last time we get to play this deadly game with the Jigsaw killer, but thanks to writers Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger, Lionsgate, the main distributer of the Saw franchise, decided to go one last round with this psychotic mastermind before all is said and done. Before I get into my review, I just want to remind you guys that I didn’t follow the Saw franchise that much, although I did see Saw 3D a while back.
If you’re one of the few people who is lucky enough to watch some of the Saw films, then the story in this latest installment should be like a simple math equation to you. A bunch of victims get trapped in some sort of booby trap filled prison, while some other group of people investigate the existence of the Jigsaw killer (Bell), who is known for designing traps and challenges for the victims as a form of “instant rehabilitation”. He’s like the devilish version of judge, jury, and executioner to the victims who have each committed a sin. When you look at it as a Saw movie, it can almost feel like a step-by-step retread of the other installments. When I looked at it as its own film, it’s a pretty enticing mystery that has some predictable moments here and there, but offers a peculiar, yet disgusting, definition of playing God that makes me question whether the killer’s actions were right or wrong. The main cast did a decent job with their performances, with Tobin Bell being the main highlight as Jigsaw. If you like Bell’s portrayal in the other Saw films, I bet that you’ll like him in this one. My only problem with the characters is that the victims that are trapped in Jigsaw’s game were exactly how I imagined they would be…as victims. People who were just there to get killed off in some very gruesome ways for the sake of entertaining those who prefer gore over substance. I think if the directors were to make these victims as important as the other characters like Halloran (Callum Keith Rennie) instead of treating them like uncaring test subjects for Jigsaw’s traps, it would have improve the film’s message of facing the consequences for their actions by a few notches. But that’s just me looking at it as its own film. Aside from that, The Spierig Brothers did a nice job at respecting the franchise’s concept. Not only that, but they also deliver a couple of surprises to its generic mystery storyline for people who is watching this without viewing the previous Saw installments, especially the third act. Like the other installments, this film does have its share of grisly sequences that involve people getting killed off by Jigsaw’s traps. The kills in this one didn’t really affect me that much, but they can be pretty disgusting, hence the film’s R rating. These scenes can be very uncomfortable for those who have weak stomachs, which is my main concern for this film.
Overall, “Jigsaw” continues the blood-filled film series with some middling results. While the film offers a few materials that made the franchise what it is today (for better or for worse), its mediocre characters, some uncomfortable and mild gory scenes, and its generic story prevented it from truly surviving the Jigsaw killer’s deadly game. It definitely had some moments that I enjoyed, but as a standalone film, it’s the type of horror film that favors gory fashion over unique storytelling. If you like the Saw films for what they are, you may or may not like this latest installment. It all depends on how you feel about the franchise right now. However, if you have a very weak stomach or if you hate the franchise because of its gory concept, then it’s not worth your time and money. Go watch some Halloween television specials instead.