“Jigsaw” is directed by Michael and Peter Spierig and stars Matt Passmore, Callum Keith Rennie, Hannah Emily Anderson, Laura Vandervoort, and Clé Bennett. The film is the eight in the “Saw” franchise which began all the way back in 2004 and is about, just like every movie before it, a mystery killer who appears to be murdering people in various ways, all of which are in the style of John Kramer, the “jigsaw killer” who has been dead for several years.
I’ll be honest, I have only seen the original “Saw” and have missed all of the previous sequels, but I do know the gist of them. Still, I came in hoping for the basic unique deaths that this franchise is known for and a decent enough story to make this sequel worth existing.
This film, for the most part, pretty much delivers on what you would want from a movie in this series. This is especially true with the “games,” as I found them to be pretty inventive, and had me on the edge of my seat. The highlight of these comes with the motorcycle trap, which was very cool and had a great backstory to boot.
The acting performances were serviceable from everyone, especially considering this is a horror movie. Laura Vandervoort impressed in her role as Anna, as she was the most believable “victim,” and also the most intriguing, and I really enjoyed how her character developed throughout the plot. Clé Bennett is also very strong in his supporting performance, as is Tobin Bell as the titular character, and, while these are not award-winning turns, each character is strong enough to make the story work.
The 91-minute runtime helps this movie feel quick and constantly moving, and that helps the film work as pure entertainment, as there is never a true slow point from start to finish. The gore is there, and the tension is mostly there, and for fans of this franchise, this is definitely a movie that knows what it is going for, and for that, “Jigsaw” mostly delivers.
“Jigsaw” may know its audience, but it still certainly has its shortcomings. For all the perfectly acceptable performances, I could never quite get on board with Paul Braunstein as Ryan. Braunstein certainly improves as the film progresses, but he starts off on such a low note with his overly sarcastic attempts at jokes when any normal human being would not be in the mood for jokes. By the end, these jokes cease, but Braunstein left a bad taste in my mouth that I could never fully shake.
There are moments here and there that I thought could have been handled better, and the occasional moments of character development felt over the top or unneeded, but it all can be thrown to the side after the travesty of a finale that this film has. I know that this “Saw” franchise is known for its twist endings and big reveals or whatever, but that is no excuse to make such a reach of an ending, then spending the next five or so minutes trying to explain why the reveal isn’t stupid. This ending hurt a lot for me because I was actually on board with quite a few directorial choices made, but this conclusion is inexcusably stupid, and too far of a reach for even the silliest of horror films.
“Jigsaw” was about ten minutes from truly pulling through, but the end is too dumb to truly recommend this movie to anyone except fans of the franchise. There are certainly strong moments of tension and some creative traps and ideas, but by the end, “Jigsaw” bites off just a bit more than it can chew.
What did you think of “Jigsaw”? Comment below with your thoughts.