Movie Review: ‘Jigsaw’


Director: The Spierig Brothers

Cast: Matt Passmore, Callum Keith Rennie, Clé Bennett, Hannah Emily Anderson, Tobin Bell

Plot: Ten years after the death of John “Jigsaw Killer” Kramer a series of bodies start appearing, clearly victims of a new deadly game. Suspicion lands on a detective and a pair of morticians linked to the case.

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Review: Dusting off the Saw franchise may seem like a cheap and easy way for a studio to make bank, but there’s plenty of room for creativity here. In the final film we saw ‘The Jigsaw Killer’ becoming something of a cultural icon, inspiring copycats and maintaining a spotlight in the media. Some people had even capitalised on being a Jigsaw survivor and built a degree of celebrity out of it. Much of the marketing surrounding this new film suggested that this idea could be built upon. Perhaps a cult of people adopting Jigsaw’s psychotic philosophy as arisen, or perhaps his actions have had an impact on the world. There’s a lot to work with here.

Unfortunately this opportunity has been squandered and this new entry helmed by The Spierig Brothers – the lunatic geniuses who gave us Predestination – is mostly a paint by numbers new entry into the series.

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We follow two groups of people. There’s a group of five victims who wake up chained to a new series of traps with the demand that they ‘confess’ to their crimes to survive. In between their antics we have a corrupt cop (Rennie), his young partner (Bennett), a war veteran mortician (Passmore) and his assistant who happens to be a Jigsaw fanatic (Anderson). Each character in this group has connections that makes them a suspect as each body from the game lands in their lap. To complicate things further there’s mounting evidence that John Kramer (Bell) is somehow still responsible.

We won’t get in to spoiler territory discussing the traps or the plot twists, but we will say that there’s little new material here. Whilst the setting has been shifted around to fit a rural theme none of the traps are as creative or as horrifying as some that we’ve seen in previous entries. In fact the whole ‘arena’ seems kinda flimsy – there’s areas where the victims could just sit themselves down and nothing would happen. They have to go nosing around to trigger things, and it’s a stretch to think their actions could have been that accurately predicted. There’s also an inevitable plot twist, but it’s one that has been done in previous films and, as a result, we saw it coming a mile away.

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The series needs to stop anchoring itself to the past. The efforts to work in an appearance by Jigsaw Classic Tobin Bell limit any new direction the franchise could take. We saw him being autopsied in the fourth film, we can let him go. The endless returns of the ‘reverse bear trap’ from the first film has well and truly lost its impact and they drop it into this film twice.

If you used to go see the new Saw film every Halloween and you’re keen to get back on board that tradition, this new film will at the very least be a new if predictable Saw movie. We were hoping to see something more.

Rating: FOUR out of TEN

By the way, there’s the time I reviewed all the Saw movies in a weekend. Check them out: Saw, II, III, IV, V, VI, 3D

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