Jigsaw is the eighth movie in the SAW franchise, which began with the original SAW movie in 2004. The SAW series revolves around a prolific serial killer named John Kramer (Tobin Bell), known to the public as Jigsaw. Unlike other killers, Jigsaw doesn’t actually murder his victims with his own hand. Instead, he forces them into elaborate traps, where the only escape often requires a sacrifice of blood.
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The original seven SAW films told the story of Jigsaw in an epic cross between the crime thriller and horror genres, and was highly controversial for its use of torture and gore. The last film to release in the SAW franchise was in 2010, which effectively ended the story of Jigsaw. This new entry in the SAW franchise serves well as both an entry point for new viewers and a nostalgia bomb for longtime fans. With plenty of violence, intrigue, and smartly engineered traps, the Jigsaw movie continues the SAW franchise with success.
The story of Jigsaw is spread across two groups: a pair of detectives investigating a new crime 10 years after the death of Jigsaw, and a new group of victims in another elaborate game of traps. Detectives Halloran (Callum Keith Rennie) and Hunt (Cle Bennett) follow a series of clues, which point to a Jigsaw copy-cat killer on the loose.
As their investigation continues, the prime suspect begins to wildly shift. Meanwhile, the group of victims find themselves inside an old barn. Here, they must survive a handful of traps meant to test their will to live. The story shifts back and forth between the groups, but puts a heavier focus on the detectives. In this way, Jigsaw feels more like a crime thriller than a horror film, which is more in line with the tone of the original movie.
For many people, the SAW franchise is a great example of creativity used to show off humanity’s worst side. We all have a sense of morbidity, and few film franchises exploit that fact quite like SAW. The traps in Jigsaw are tame in comparison to past films, but still provide tension and several gross-out moments.
The designs of the traps aren’t as depraved as the ones we’ve seen in the past, but they provide unique and intense scenarios for our characters to deal with. For instance, one trap sees a character presented with three needles, each filled with a substance.
One is an antidote to a poison currently taking hold of her body, another is a simple saline solution, and the third is a destructive acid. The traps in Jigsaw are often more about mind games than pure blood and gore, which is a nice change of pace for the franchise.
If you enjoyed the SAW franchise in the past, then you’ll definitely find some enjoyment in Jigsaw. It’s a good place to start if you’ve never seen a SAW movie, but fans will be more satisfied with the ending and the twist. It’s a bloody good time, and while it’s not the best SAW movie, it’s far better than some of the films that released in the late 2000’s. If you want a bloody flick to watch for Halloween, or still find yourself curious about the fictional Jigsaw killer story, give this one a watch.
- Keeps the SAW franchise refreshing, despite being the eighth entry
- Interesting traps that are both bloody and smart
- Good balance between crime drama and horror
- The ending and twist won't be as effective for franchise newcomers
- Lacks the excessive gore that the series is known for
- Most characters are forgettable