After a week of anxiously awaiting to see the next installment of the "Saw" franchise, I was finally able to sit down and watch the long awaited addition to one of my favorite horror movie series. A few articles ago, I wrote a prediction based pieced which took bits and pieces of the released information, as well as put in my own two cents in about what I was expecting. I will say that as I sat down and the movie started, my stomach was in knots about being disappointed like many a review had said- but to my surprise, upon first viewing, I thoroughly enjoyed it even though it had it’s fair share of pacing and character flaws. So here’s the rundown.
Jigsaw takes place many years after the death of John Kramer, who was the face behind the original Jigsaw killings. Evidence resurfaces that there may be a new jigsaw killer on the loose, and detectives go on the hunt for the man behind the mystery.
For starters, the plot upon first reading looks unoriginal, however the way the story unwinds makes it more intriguing than it sounds. Without giving any spoilers, I will say that the plot is harder to keep up with that the synopsis makes it sound, especially if you’re not paying attention and watching it for enjoyments sake (like yours truly); so much so, I had to look up just what in the hell happened in a video by FoundFlix on YouTube, because the finale took me by such surprise. (I’d recommend not doing that soon after watching it, as when you find out it becomes slightly lackluster- but still enjoyable.)
The pacing for the plot could have been adjusted as lot of time was spent on figuring out who did it, but I find myself connecting that with the fact that two of the five “players” of Jigsaw’s game die before the movie is halfway over, so there is time to spare. There is also an unnecessary forced mystery of who exactly is the Jigsaw killer, and I say this because of the leads we are given towards certain characters. You have Eleanore, who is obsessed with the Jigsaw killings, Hallorann who is smug and reeks of evil and cruel intentions, and just for safe measures you have the “unexpected twist” suspect, Logan. This does lend it’s purpose, but it could have been done cleaner and without the obvious pointed fingers at everyone who walked by.
As per usual, there are also smaller complaints. The players were frustrating, you had some that acting just plain stupid, and one particular comedic relief who was entertaining, but a cheap shot at entertainment. The games were not all too bad themselves, however the buried alive trap (as featured in the trailer) had horrid CGI which threw it all off. One thing I always enjoyed about the franchise was the simplicity of it all when pitchforks and knives didn’t look like they were leaping off the edge.
There was something interesting I had realized while watching Jigsaw, however, and it was the way they came full circle with the iconic pig mask gimmick. I never gave much thought into it, however one character states that pigs are “highly compassionate” characters and elaborates more thoroughly. Considering what Jigsaw does (apprentices and original) is to teach people how to fully appreciate life, and gives them the option of whether or not they want to live, I found the connection fitting and morbid. A more minor connection is how the Jigsaw movie takes place on a pig farm, which we later learn was John Kramer’s wife, Jill Tuck’s, father’s pig farm. Despite the setting giving the movie an entirely different atmosphere from the usual boiler room looking cellar styled surroundings, that made a lot more sense once learned.
As per any SAW movie, there is a twist. I won’t state what the twist was explicitly, but there will be vague spoilers following this point on. You have been warned.
As stated before, I walked in with the intention to watch a film about a new apprentice of Jigsaw’s who was just now taking the reigns, or even found himself inspired by the news coverage- something of the sort. I had no intention of listening for a twist ending until said twist finally came about, and I believe that that may be the best way to go about viewing this movie, because there are some blatant and in-your-face spoils for the climax.
Vaguely speaking, there viewers can expect no connections to Detective Hoffman or Gordon. While I did notice this, it did not ruin the movie in it’s entirety, it simply would have been a nice nod towards where it all began. And even not paying much mind to it, it was hard to ignore the obvious elephant in the room of why blood did not show during the most gruesome parts when this movie could very easily be coined a torture porn.
But what I found redeeming for this movie was that even though I sat through the film with little expectations during the review, the CGI was annoyingly bad, and there were some small gives at the upcoming twist, the climax of the whole movie had me anticipating the big reveal. With no spoilers given, I will say that I did predict the twist halfway through (which normally never happens), and said twist does have a very rushed explanation which would have better been explained bit by bit throughout the movie as opposed to the good old “who done it” mystery. It also explained why certain events happened the way they did. All in all, it tied up majority of loose ends but did it in a very short amount of time, and with a run time of an hour and a half approximately, they could have spared a few more minutes focusing on that in itself.
Was Jigsaw phenomenal? No. Was it the best of the series? Absolutely not, nothing will be the rawness of the first movie. Jigsaw lacked one key thing that made the Saw franchise so great, and that was the character. We learned so much information about our players and characters in such little time, and soon after they were killed off without a second thought. It did not give the connection the old movies had in the slightest- with one exception of learning a little more about John Kramer’s past.
I found it a good show, however. It was entertainment, and it was a part of a series I so enjoyed. It made me a strange sort of nostalgic, despite this being the first Saw movie seen in theaters, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that hearing “Hello Zepp” play in the theater didn’t tug on my horror-heart strings, but that was all it was- nostalgia.
But If there is anything to learn from series that run a tad too long, it is that all good things must come to an end. While I love the character of John Kramer, and the premise of the Jigsaw killings, I highly doubt any new additions that will be coming from the franchise will every peak like the originals had. Saw had a good run, and this movie was enjoyable, but there comes a time when all games must be put away, and that time was long ago.