In 2004, a tradition was born. A franchise of 7 movies were released back to back, once each year around the last weekend of October for Halloween. That franchise is the Saw franchise. The group of films also gave birth to a horror icon and one of the most diabolical killers on the silver screen. His name is John Kramer a.k.a. Jigsaw Killer. Director, writer, and producer James Wan along with an assorted group of writers and directors kept this franchise going pass anyone’s expectation and gave us one of the biggest twist in a horror film or any genre for that matter to be executed, one of the longest running franchises to tie into each other, all the while providing us with social issues and giving us some creative deaths like you have never seen.
It is now 2017, 7 years after the latest installment, Jigsaw, the long-anticipated sequel, has graced us with its presents. I love this series and I always told people, “If they keep making them, I will keep watching them.” The sequel comes back with a story to tell that attempts to tie in to the previous installments, still keeping them all connected and the illusion that Jigsaw is always thinking ahead. Unfortunately, this entry wasn’t the best way to bring back the franchise after such a long-extended break. While the movie was still fun and exciting to watch, it seemed to have borrowed from an old playbook that has already been used; making this film a watered-down version of what it could have been. Jigsaw fans will still get some enjoyment out of it but will be disappointed if this is a preview of more of these films in the future.
For me, it came down to the creative and unique traps, the new characters involved, and the twist in the end. Yes, I do expect a twist because these movies provided some kind of “did you catch that from earlier” moment in each film. I was given just a taste of that in this latest Saw movie and I had hoped for something much better.
The new characters involved were two new detectives, Clé Bennett and Callum Keith Rennie who have discovered a body in the city that hints of the Jigsaw killer’s return. With the aid of two medical examiners played by Matt Passmore and Hannah Emily Anderson, they form the theory of a copycat and even the possibility that John Kramer, even though he has been dead for 10 yrs, somehow survived and is playing his old tricks again to teach us all a lesson in cherishing your life.
In Saw fashion, meanwhile, another test or trail is being played and it involves again 5 strangers who have all something in common with each other and why they were chosen to play Jigsaw’s game. They will all have to go through a series of test and confess their sins and work together if they want to make it out alive. It’s a back and forth between both storylines that drives this movie. Sounds familiar, right?
The traps in this film was okay. Compared to the traps used in the previous movies, there was little to no blood asked to be sacrificed in order to survive. Which in a way makes these traps a little bit lazy because now we are definitely dependent on the players to be predictable and careless in order for us to see some fun and carnage on screen. Also, when you do see blood, and yes, there will be blood, it seemed a bit tamed as well. The CGI was very obvious making this film look a little cartoony or even a movie that could pass for a pg-13 film. I don’t think that these traps pushed the envelope like the previous films did. We were also reminded of some older traps here and there as memorabilia and nostalgic purposes. That is one great thing about this series is that it always rewards those who have been watching from Day 1 and have been paying attention the whole time.
The reveal, the explanation, the twist, whatever you want to call it, I actually figured out 2/3 of the twist. Which technically could be a bad thing for some that dislikes having to solve an easy puzzle. I remember watching the previous 7 and never having the ability to solve the case before its revealed to the audience. Does that mean that the movie was lazy in its writing or have I just seen one too many horror films? Who can tell, all I know is the reason I was able to solve the puzzle was because I have seen these twists and turns in other films. OUCH!! That is not something I want to admit if I was a writer but I noticed similar things and applied it to this and I was right. I didn’t solve it all but at the end of the day, what does that say about the franchise if you can no longer fool your audience.
If you are the type of person that can still enjoy a movie even though you know what is going to happen, that is great. After all that I have said so far, this movie is still fun to watch. I think that is the keyword here: Fun. Jigsaw, is a reminder why I looked forward to these films each year for Halloween. The music, the traps, Tobin Bell, who plays John Kramer, all of that was present in this film and I had a good time watching it. Hardcore Saw fans I think will enjoy this installment but it will not be their favorite. As a standalone film, this movie was okay. You will not be lost or confused if you have never seen any of the previous Saw movies but you will be missing out on the emotion and feeling you get for knowing the history of the franchise. So, if you are a friend tagging along with someone who is begging you to go with them, you can still go and understand what you are looking at. While this film is an improvement from Saw 3D, I don’t believe this is the worst of the series. This sequel is the most disconnected movie from the other films, and doesn’t scream that there should be another 7 more of these but I still welcome more if they give us something new and inventive to watch and stop pulling from the old bag of tricks that we are all use to by now.
4 out of 5
Did you see Jigsaw this weekend? Do you plan on seeing it or skipping it all together? Comment your thoughts below and what you thought of the movie. As always, feel free to suggest any titles out there you think are good movies to see and review. Thank you for reading my review and I will see you at the movies.