Jigsaw: Film Review

Last week I wrote a piece defending the earlier Saw franchise, working on the assumption that Jigsaw would be rubbish. Obviously I couldn’t make a claim like that without backing it up so I paid to go see it at the cinema. Despite the seven year absence, it hasn’t returned to former glory, but it is decidedly better than the 2010 instalment.

**SPOILERS** 

It took the approach I prefer – one large game that sustains the whole film rather than many short ones. Like the predecessors, the game is filled with people who have done bad things and each game eliminates one person before the next presents itself, all in an undisclosed location. The characters aren’t fleshed out and are very stereotypical so there’s not much point taking about them specifically.

As usual, the grisly goings on are interspersed with the procedural side, with detectives trying to track the killer down. Only problem is: it would seem the culprit is John Kramer (Tobin Bell), the original Jigsaw, but that’s impossible as he’s been dead for 10 years. So then they begin to become suspicious of each other – who did it? And can they solve the case before more bodies show up with the signature puzzle piece carved out of their skin?

The film got off to a slow start and I wasn’t convinced that I would like it. It was borrowing too heavily from previous ones, with some similar traps, for example. I also didn’t like that a lot of the injuries were obviously CGI, making them seem unrealistic and therefore less gruesome. The very last one was frankly laughable.

Like the later films, there isn’t much character development with the participants so we don’t care about anybody and the script was quite poor, especially on the procedural front.

However, some of the traps were cool, the possibility of Kramer being alive was interesting, as was the whodunnit in the police department. I genuinely couldn’t figure out who did it. I was suspicious that the two stories weren’t happening at the same time somehow and I was right. But even then I couldn’t be prepared for the twists, a staple of the Saw franchise, and that’s when I was gripped.

All the Saw films that have taken place since Kramer died always screw with the pre-existing timeline, completely messing with what you thought you knew. It leaves you confused, wondering if it actually makes sense. Jigsaw is no exception and just does an exposition dump in the last 10 minutes that leaves your mind reeling. It changes the timeline radically, you learn new stuff about Kramer and the genesis of the game. It was thrilling to learn this stuff but it also blew my mind. I’m not convinced by it to be honest.

I was hoping Jigsaw would present a new spin on the franchise and do something different but it is very loyal, almost too much so. It was an improvement on the most recent one, but nowhere near as good as I was hoping. I just hope they don’t start churning them out every Halloween like before – but let’s be honest, that’s inevitable.

In cinemas now 

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