Sunday, October 29, 2017

Jigsaw (2017)

JIGSAW is exactly what a SAW VIII released seven years after the previous film should be. It breaks no new ground, delivers what a SAW fan expects, and reboots the series slightly while staying faithful to the tone, look, style, and layered storytelling synonymous with the SAW universe.

Set ten years after the death of imaginative serial killer John Kramer aka “Jigsaw” (which happened in SAW III, believe it or not), the film directed by SAW newcomers Michael and Peter Spierig (WINCHESTER: THE HOUSE THAT GHOSTS BUILT) finds police detectives Callum Keith Rennie (FIFTY SHADES OF GREY) and Cle Bennett (HARVARD MAN) baffled by a new series of grisly murders identical to those committed by Jigsaw a decade earlier. Conducting their own investigation are coroner Matt Passmore (THE GLADES), a veteran of the war in Iraq, and his assistant Hannah Emily Anderson (LOVE OF MY LIFE), whose passionate hobby is the Jigsaw murders.

Meanwhile, five strangers awaken inside a barn in a basic reprise of SAW V’s central plot. All five have committed some type of transgression to which Jigsaw demands a confession in order to go free or “win” the game. Because it’s a SAW movie, the victims are too dumb to just come clean, and are thusly slashed, stabbed, and otherwise mutilated in various complex Jigsaw traps.

Those familiar with the SAW series’ time-jumping tendencies may be ahead of JIGSAW, particularly the mystery of how John Kramer (played again by Tobin Bell) could still be alive ten years later. Providing much needed continuity are editor Kevin Greutert, who edited SAW I-V and directed VI and VII, and composer Charlie Clouser, whose familiar theme adds a sting to the climax. While no game changer, JIGSAW is a competent mystery that delivers familiar gore effects and a repetitive story that holds up until you get to the parking lot. And for an eighth SAW movie, that’s good enough.

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