Movie Review – Jigsaw (2017)
|Directors: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
Writers: Pete Goldfinger, Josh Stolberg
Stars: Matt Passmore, Tobin Bell and Callum Keith Rennie
Synopsis (from IMDb): “Bodies are turning up around the city, each having met a uniquely gruesome demise. As the investigation proceeds, evidence points to one suspect: John Kramer, the man known as Jigsaw, who has been dead for ten years.”
Seven years have passed since SAW 3D: The Final Chapter (2010). That film was also the seventh film in the horror phenomenon that spawned from the groundbreaking SAW (2004) (which had an alternative title Jigsaw for you trivia junkies). Like any cash cow this now annualised series burnt out to a crisp, by even the fifth chapter. It was time to park this stagnant franchise.
Enter Jigsaw; I made a conscious decision on the run up to watching this, not to read up anything, not to consume any media associated with this soft reboot/sequel/brother/spin-off or whatever spin they were trying with this one. When I saw Tobin Bell on the ticket returning as Jigsaw, I rolled my eyes. “Didn’t he die in SAW III (2006)?” I asked myself that was over a decade ago, talk about flogging a dead horse. But rest assured Jigsaw managed to deliver something enjoyable with the soul of what made the SAW franchise so compelling to begin with, the break was needed.
The film opens with a chase, ending in the announcement that Jigsaw is back! It continues like it usually does, a group of people stuck in a room and they must work together or selfishly to survive. As the body count rises these bodies are sent to the police who are quick to dismiss that Jigsaw is back as he has been dead for years, as all signs indicate to the contrary. This makes for some compelling viewing as we make our way through the tricks and traps we’ve grown to love, paralleled by the police scrambling to end the bloodshed. But what’s new you ask? Not much is the short answer; only a fresh shine and polish and an overarching mystery; is Jigsaw really back? But as this is the 8th film in a now long running franchise, what else were you expecting?
As a fan of the series I won’t be biased here but it could be up in the top three films of the franchise. There’s a satisfying conclusion to the conspiracy, with decent traps and suspense throughout. All flaws and questions can all be explained away in universe by the end of the film, which is a cheeky way of justifying some of the ridiculousness.
If you’re a bloodhound or new to the series, I would recommend a viewing of Jigsaw. The series is steering itself in a new direction but whether or not that’s into a dead end, only time will tell.
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