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Creepy Countdown: Film Review: Jigsaw


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Jigsaw is the latest instalment in the Saw franchise and the first entry in the series since 2010’s (not so) Final Chapter.

Credit: YouTube

Directed by Michael and Peter Spierig, the film marks an average return to the franchise with familiar plot tropes and some added humour making up for a lack of the traditional guts and gore. 

When a body turns up bearing the mark of the thought to be dead Jigsaw killer, Detective Halloran (Callum Keith Rennie) along with forensic pathologist Logan Nelson (Matt Passmore), begin to investigate whether this is the work of a copycat killer, or if the infamous Jon Kramer (Tobin Bell) has seemingly risen from the dead. Meanwhile, a group of five people are subjected to a brutal ‘game’, which requires them to confess their sins if they want to survive.

One thing that may surprise audiences with Jigsaw is its distinct lack of torture porn. This comes as kind of a shock considering how well known the previous films were for their incredibly over the top violence, which made them a draw for many in the first place. Whilst there is some gruesome imagery used in the film, we see very little on screen in terms of actual deaths. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing however as the nature of the violence, whilst not seen, is still pretty effective. This is mainly down to the film's overall look as well as the return of simple yet clever traps consisting of rustic looking buzzsaws, chains and needles.

What the film does add instead is some humour and self-awareness, with it occasionally poking fun at its own familiar plot points. Paul Braunstein, who plays Ryan, is the source of the film's few laughs, which, despite being rare, help break the mould in what is otherwise a fairly predictable story.

The plot, unfortunately, is where Jigsaw is a bit of a let down as despite there being multiple twists throughout, everything feels far too reminiscent of the previous movies. Riddled with tedious plot holes, the story relies on convenience and luck in order to make all the pieces fit together, and by the end, it all seems a bit far-fetched. This doesn't cripple the movie as the plot still manages to remain interesting enough, however, it would have been nice to see Jigsaw try and take more risks rather than falling back on the tried and tested Saw formula that we’ve already seen many times before.

In terms of performances, everyone involved puts in a good showing. Out of those trapped in Jigsaw’s game, Laura Vandervoort and Paul Braunstein stand out amongst the rest. On the outside, Callum Keith Rennie does a good job as sleazy detective Hallaron, but it's Hannah Emily Anderson who impresses the most as the film’s most interesting character, Eleanor. It has to be said that although many of the characters are pretty throwaway, the cast does a good enough job with the material they've got.

Overall, Jigsaw is a welcome return to the Saw series and, although it doesn't bring much new to the table, its familiarity will be enough to keep many entertained this Halloween.

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