The Big Picture


For better or worse – but mostly worse – the blood-splashing, yucky Saw franchise is back to make you feel nauseous rather than spooked this Halloween weekend!

Latest installment in a series of 8 movies (!), Jigsaw, directed by the Spierig Brothers (Daybreakers), is one more proof that the word “enough” isn’t part of Hollywood producers’ vocabulary, sadly spoiling what made an initially not-so-bad story remarkable in the first place.

So, today is the day Saw VIII (because coming up with a different title doesn’t make it less just another sequel – especially here) arrives in theatres to take advantage of a new generation of spectators and “re-invent” the gory concept born back in 2004.

In this new movie, the story, as usual, doesn’t really matter. It’s overtly simply another recycled excuse to come up with more ways to sadistically torture flawed characters in a resketched déjà vu. Here’s how it begins: A group of 5 people find themselves attached to chains slowly pulling them toward a wall covered with spinning circular saws. Although it makes no sense to the officers working on the case who pick up the bodies as they keep coming in the course of the sick game, famous merciless killer John Kramer appears to be alive and well.

Lionsgate Films

A repetitive, tiresome rerun

One thing Jigsaw succeeds in is “sawing through your boredom” for 92 minutes. A “tame torture-porn reboot,” the film ultimately is “a slick soulless horror flick” once again jacking up “the fear factor for audiences who’ve come to regard empathy as a snowflake emotion.”

“Everything that made the first few movies so popular is here.” But although the “level of sadism is dialled down a little,” Jigsaw undeniably “lacks both the first movie’s claustrophobic intensity and Saw VI’s viscous, satirical bite.” “Not the worst film in the series,” the sequel is “still a bit of a damned mess” that sticks “with the core Saw values of zero laughs, one-dimensional characterization, bland acting and a ta-da twist at the end.”

It “feels somewhat tamer than earlier Saw films, its serrated edges less sharp.” “At this point a more accurate description might just be “overkill.”

There’s some improvement, though

While the movie “no longer carries any kick of true shock value,” Michael and Peter Spierig have “reset Saw to factory settings, mostly dispensing with the self-involved franchise mythology and nonsensical, convoluted plotting that bogged down the later films.”

Keeping things “relatively simple,” the new chapter positively refreshes the confusing franchise, making it “actually half-way decent” by not heavily relying on “legacy characters and events, a practice that only complicated the series as it continued further into the halls of madness.” A rebirth that could “potentially start the ball rolling on a new series of films.”


Best quotes from the reviews:

“More trick than treat.” – Cath Clarke, The Guardian

Jigsaw doesn’t feel like the resuscitation the franchise needed, but it doesn’t dig a bigger hole to bury itself in, either.” – Mike Reyes, CinemaBlend

“Jigsaw is unlikely to win non-fans over, and it’s certainly not the best of the series.” – Dan Auty, GameSpot

“Delivers the gross-out goods in a garishly rote been-there-dismembered-that way.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety