Film Review: Jigsaw – 4/10

“You know what happens if we don’t play by the rules…”

Image result for jigsaw film

A new game has begun but with the Jigsaw Killer John Kramer long dead, the cops try to solve this gruesome jigsaw before more bodies turn up grotesquely mutilated.

In the horror world, the Saw franchise is undoubtedly one of the most successful franchises ever. In terms of box office it might actually be the most successful. It has always felt a little more cynical than the Nightmare on Elm Street or Halloween films however. It doesn’t seem like there is much artistic integrity involved in these films any more. I will say kudos to the string of directors to have tackled a Saw movie despite the fact that the main antagonist has been dead since the third instalment. That means we are now five films en counting in which Jigsaw has been dead and there are plans for yet more sequels in the future. That is actually pretty impressive…

The problem with Jigsaw is that if it were released as just another Saw sequel back in 2011, it would have been a slightly underwhelming if worthy addition to a franchise that had always produced diminishing returns. The ten year gap between Saw 3D and Jigsaw has raised expectations however, and Jigsaw does not meet those expectations.

I wont mention the cast because they are all interchangeable, badly written characters. Any semblance of actual acting is beaten out of the performers by the clunky script. The main problem with Jigsaw isn’t the script or the actors, it is the fact that we have seen all of this before. Literally in some cases. Saw movies have always been renowned for their prestigious death sequences but this latest sequel feels tired and out of ideas. The big reveal at the end is unlikely to provoke anything other than a confused shrug as it feels like joint directors the Spiereg Brothers are happy to fall back on the same old ideas that have already been rehashed in previous sequels.

In some ways Jigsaw is following in the great tradition of horror sequels that goes back to the big three; Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween and Friday the 13th. The respective ninth movies in those franchises were certainly no worse than Jigsaw but wouldn’t it be nice to think that horror’s recent renaissance might have inspired the old franchises to up their game? If Jigsaw is anything to go, we shouldn’t get too excited about Saw 10…

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