When the supposed conclusion to a horror movie franchise has “Final” in the title, it’s best not to trust it. Seven years on from The Final Chapter, the last of the Saw series, the psychotic bogeyman Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) is back (sort of) and wants to play another gory game. An apparent copycat is on the loose with a new gaggle of sinful victims, and the police go on the standard manhunt for the person responsible.
Saw drifted into mangled rubbish after its fourth instalment. It retained some torture-porn entertainment, but was shot to pieces by ludicrous plot holes and uninspiring characters. So, there is a degree of scepticism when approaching an unwanted reboot. However, as much as Jigsaw was begging to be hated, it isn’t terrible. The story is fun to follow, hopping – as before – between the police department and the latest victims of Jigsaw’s game. The characters are more engaging than in previous instalments, though some of their sins aren’t particularly evil. Their horrific punishments don’t fit the crime as they do in something like Dexter.
Surprisingly, the gore has been suppressed in Jigsaw – never reaching the grotesque standards that audiences expect. However, this allows room to explore the different characters. Directors Michael and Peter Spiering opt for more visual demonstrations of their past sins, via flashbacks, rather than wholly depending on Jigsaw’s expository monologues. This allows the viewer to grow closer to the victims, as well as feel sad to see them go. There are few twists along the way, and none reach the level of intense surprise found in the earlier Saw movies. Not everything is predictable, but one doesn’t need to be a detective to figure it out.
There are also some silly devices, closer to science-fiction than slasher horror. The technology pretends to be modern, but it’s at least 20 years ahead of our time. Although the viewer can adjust, it’s hard to see why writers Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg opted to include such jarring objects into the story.
Jigsaw didn’t have many expectations to choose from, so the film isn’t a disappointment – it even surpasses the latter Saw movies. The viewer knows what they’re in for and they know how it’s going to play out, leaving little room for surprises. Some of the scenes are barmy and ridiculous, but that’s part of the fun.
Jigsaw is released nationwide on 26th October 2017.
Watch the trailer for Jigsaw here: