Jigsaw: Movie Review

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For those who were avid horror film fans in the mid 2000’s, you may be aware of the infamous Saw franchise that left viewers feeling horrifyingly satisfied. Now with the eighth installment, Jigsaw, co-directed by Michael and Peter Spierig; viewers can expect another sequence of blood, violence and gore in all its glory. Will the cunning minds behind Daybreakers (2009) and Predestination (2014) be able to do justice to the Saw franchise, or will the seven-year long hiatus cause viewers to not be as hyped as they were during Saw’s prime and glory?

In the Saw-verse, it has been ten whole years since the alleged Jigsaw Killer, known as John Kramer (Tobin Bell) brought himself in the spotlight and subsequently died in Saw III, although he has made a few cameos in the sequels in the form of flashbacks and backing vocals. In Jigsaw, we see another unfortunate set of Kramer’s victims that enter the Saw-verse such as a cool-headed Ana (Laura Vandervoort), overly outspoken Ryan (Paul Baunstein), mundanely capable Mitch (Mandela Van Peebles) and resetless Carly (Brittany Allen).

Identical to the previous Saw films, victims are obliged to take part in a series of almost impossible games that will always include the tolerance of bearing excruciating agony and pain from the games in order to win. It all brings back a familiar sound of distress and images of gore which is what Saw is infamously known for. Although a lot has altered in the horror- film industry, such as the new release of IT and Get Out, this genre has been thriving all year round which makes it a bit easier for Jigsaw’s comeback in that viewers are still waiting for the extra buzz of horror and terror since we have been receiving it throughout most of 2017.

The Spierig brothers have maintained the horror factor throughout the film, and the dialogue of Kramer (voice by Bell) is the last thing you would want to hear before heading off to sleep. They’ve polished the overall cinematography to the film, giving it a cleaner look and a better view into the horror that they’ve created to please (or put off) their viewers. Either way, you’ll definitely be in for a ride when you witness these dramatic sequences.

There are a few factors that I noticed that hindered this film from getting a perfect 5 star rating and that was the length of the film. The 90-minute film didn’t fully grasp the emotional aspect that it’s predecessors had done in the past. Saw II and III brought in interesting and intriguing characters, where the Jigsaw Killer’s character was further developed, while Saw III had the most emotionally connecting story plot. Then there’s Jigsaw, who deliver exceptionally well in the blood and core department, but unfortunately do not pull through in the character development or story development field. The characters don’t have a strong purpose in the film other than being ‘victims’ of Kramer and merely awaiting their sad death. The story also follows the same format as the previous Saw movies and focuses too much time on building towards the climax, that it sometimes forgets to reach out to the character’s development during this climactic progress. It seems that the movie’s main focus in on exploring Jigsaw himself than adding new jump scares and changing up the format for its modern audience.

Overall, Jigsaw does deliver in its own right, but not to the standard of the previous Saw films seeing that it’s merely a mundane reboot whose plot is identical to the Saw films, making it less current for the modern-day audience and especially the youth who are now exposed to a diversity of horror through IT, Get Out, Happy Death Day, Annabelle etc. However, if you’re simply in the search for a horror film that has been designed to feature blood are gore at its peak, as well as the suspense of the victims in terms of them cheating death or meeting death. All components can certainly put off any viewer hence it is not for the faint hearted. Luckily, for those who are not faint hearted; Jigsaw has enough content to keep you amused, disgusted, enticed, all at the same time.

★★★1/2

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