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Movie Review: Jigsaw

It’s been over 10 years since the death of serial killer John Kramer a.k.a. Jigsaw and just over 7 years since the last Saw movie was released. In the latest film, Jigsaw, bodies start turning up that fit the famous killer’s MO, and it’s up to the police to solve the case and find the copy-cat killer before all 5 of the next victims wind up dead.

Does this soft-reboot return with some of the raw impact and originality of the first Saw movie? Or is it as uninspired and needlessly complex as the later Saw films? Here’s my thoughts on the attempt to revive the holy grail of torture porn films. Or just skip to the end to see my score.

Warning: Mild Spoilers Ahead

I had high hopes for this movie. I knew it wouldn’t be great, but it’s been 7 years since the last one. I thought maybe now they can start with a fresh new plot and avoid those awful characters from the other Saw movies. And it’s a good premise. Jigsaw murders are popping up, but Jigsaw has been dead for a decade. The movie leads us to believe there must be some horrific copy-cat going around.

The movie itself is split between two different plots. The first, involves 5 characters put into a maze of traps, where each must make some sacrifice or confess some horrific thing in their past to prevent dying a horrific death. What bugs me is that most of the characters sidestep their actual confession, when of course, the killer wants them to reveal their darkest secret. Don’t try and downplay your horrific crimes, the puppet is watching you! “Okay I admit it, I was given 11 McNuggets in a 10 piece box, but I didn’t say anything!”

The other plot follows two detectives on the hunt for the killer, as well as two forensic examiners who help quite a bit in the investigation, but act a little suspect themselves. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

There aren’t that many traps in this one. I mean, with only 5 players in the game, there isn’t much room for traps. And the traps that are in the movie are a little too large and clumsy, like one where a grain silo is filling with grain and will bury the characters alive. Grain? It seems pretty solid to me, like a person should really be able to awkwardly crawl up the grain and breathe freely. But the killer does the add a little something to the mix that makes it a little more deadly.

The were no great traps though. Remember the jaw trap from the first movie, that simple mechanism that rips your jaws apart if you didn’t find the key? Fans want more of that, and less ‘murder-by-grain-silo’.

The movie wants to convince you that Jigsaw might still be alive. And I have to say, the way that point plays out is pretty interesting. It’s not incredible or anything, but it’s much better than I expected. Oh, and there was absolutely no effort in referencing any other Saw sequels, and it the movie was probably better for it.

Most of the story was pretty stale, the plot had a (large) number of conveniences, the characters didn’t act like humans, I mean, one of them has a shrine of Jigsaw’s traps and they’re not the killer. It comes so far out of left-field and doesn’t even need to be in the movie (but hey, they got to show the jaw trap again!)

I should hate this movie, but I don’t. The plot was kinda fun, watching the characters act like dopes is kinda fun, some of the deaths are pretty fun, the end reveal is really fun and it was probably the best sequel since Saw II.

So should you see it? Probably not. If you want to watch a horror flick this year, then sure go ahead, it’s kind of a fun movie. Just don’t expect anything as original or as dark as the first Saw film.

 







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