18 – 92mins – 2017
FUCKED UP CONFESSIONAL
Seven real-world years after Saw 3D was marketed as “The Final Chapter” [sic] and over a decade in-universe after the death of eponymous Jigsaw Killer John Kramer (Tobin Bell), Daybreakers directing duo the Spierig Brothers resurrect what used to be an annual Halloween tradition with the eighth instalment in the popular torture-porn horror franchise.
While many became bored with the repetitive nature, quick turn around and increasingly far-fetched storylines, I always quietly admired how the Saw series always related itself back to James Wan and Leigh Whannell’s original 2004 hit. It was never a case of same premise, different characters because the twisted morality of criminal mastermind and cancer-sufferer John Kramer’s serial-killing scheming was always front and centre.
I wondered how this would still be possible with the main character long-dead, and the theory of copycat killers is explored at length in Jigsaw, the finger of suspicion falling on macabre fanatic and forensic pathologist Eleanor (Hannah Emily Anderson). But its hardly a spoiler to reveal that nothing is as it seems and many a red herring is thrown into the twisty plot as a new group of five captors have their culpability tested in a string of grotesque-but-inventive “games” which many of them will not walk away from.
Despite the extended hiatus and the injection of new blood at the helm, Jigsaw is far from a reinvigorating reboot, simply a case of more of the same. The squeamish will still squeal at the sickeningly explicit injury and murder sequences, while mystery fans will tie themselves up in knots trying to figure out the purposefully muddled chronology. This is adequate adult-only entertainment which delivers what it promises (even if the final reveal threatens an eye roll), yet Jigsaw inescapably feels like a belated last hurrah rather than a highly refreshing saga kick-starter.
CR@B’s Claw Score: