While Halloween traditions for the average person might include pumpkin carvings and corn mazes, to the average horror enthusiast, there might not be anything more nostalgic than a “SAW” movie.
Since the series debuted in October of 2004, horror fans could look forward to a new adaptation to the series every October following the film’s initial debut.
The tradition ended in 2010 with “SAW 3-D,” a film that left viewers with answers serial-killer “Jigsaw” had scattered throughout the series’ seven chapters. Or so they thought.
Jigsaw is the most recent adaptation to the film series, produced nearly seven years after the completion of the horror franchise.
With the revival of the series comes the revitalization of the intricate storyline at its foundation.
For those unfamiliar with the “SAW” movies, the franchise is centered around John Kramer, otherwise known as Jigsaw, the mastermind behind the movies’ torturous contraptions.
After a series of unfortunate events in his own life, Kramer decides to teach others to appreciate life while they still can, through several life threatening challenges.
Through various “games,” filled with death traps and moral challenges, Jigsaw allows people guilty of malice the opportunity to change their problematic ways, or die.
The inevitable games have held the same concept throughout each film but the plot of the series takes a drastic turn.
After Kramers murder in the fourth film, we then have to ask in the following films: if these murders are continuing, who is running the games?
The film opens with an immediate urgency surrounding another game, 10 years after Kramers death.
We begin with five players, all chained to a wall lined with spinning saws. I was personally a fan of this trap,
because while most see these games as purely physical challenges, this one was more reliant on psychological strength.
Unfortunately, the featured death traps in this film were the only highlights, because this is where the film’s subplot confusion begins.
In addition to the five members, we are introduced to an array of detectives, criminals and forensic pathologists surrounding the array of Jigsaw-like murders that occur as a result of the game.
Each character introduced is presented with their own problems and back stories, making it a mess to follow what actually matters in the storyline.
This character confusion goes back and forth between scenes and almost feels like you should be writing down each character’s problems as they’re introduced.
This film follows both the game and those trying to solve the murders through a parallel story narrative structure.
This does a good job separating the world outside of the game from inside, yet it only gives us two hyper-developed plots.
To anyone hoping for a storyline that you can actually follow for longer than 30 minutes, you might want to lower your expectation.
With the array of unnecessary details presented in both stories, it’s hard to piece together the storyline until the last ten minutes or so of the movie.
This film does not shy away from graphic.
There was less of a focus on CGI than in previous “SAW” films and more use of traditional fake blood and props.
This made the inevitable murder scenes pretty gut wrenching, so to the faint of heart and stomach: beware.
For the average horror fanatic, this film brings back the blood and gore that defines this series.
With less focus on CGI comes a genuine gorey result that saved this movie from being a complete disappointment.
The introduction of new death traps and moral lessons surrounding the game are definitely worth the sub-par acting and storyline.
As a person who has followed the series since its debut, although it was nostalgic to see the same traps that got me into horror, the storyline held back any potential that this movie could have.
I give this movie a ranking of 2.5 out of 5 stars.