Why couldn’t they just leave it at 2010’s Saw: The Final Chapter? Or Saw 3D? Or Saw VII? Or whatever the hell you want to call it?
By far the weakest of the fairly weak franchise, the seventh film had the promise of resolution right in the title. While resolution is arguable within the film itself, but the ending certainly made sense for a series that jumped the shark about as quickly as it possibly could. Yet here we are, seven years later, and there’s a new film about bad people being put in dangerous traps to “prove that they’ve learned to appreciate life” or whatever.
Is it worth it? You already know the answer.
As per usual, this particular Saw film has several threads encompassing the main story. The first of these revolves around five people waking up in a continuing series of traps that they keep getting pulled into by the chains they’re locked into. The second of these features two detectives and two forensic pathologists looking into mysterious bodies that fit the Jigsaw modus operandi while also investigating the distrust between themselves. Without even needing to spoil the plot, you realize by the eighth film in this franchise that timelines are certainly jumbled and the true colors of several characters are surely not quite what we expect them to be.
This film is wicked dumb. That may seem silly considering what we’re talking about in the first place, but I just really want some emphasis on just how dumb it is. Some of this can be discussed without spoilers, but feel like I should just dive in. Odds are the only reason you’re reading this is because you’ve either already seen the film or you do not care at all and just want to read all of my words about how bad it is.
THIS IS THE PART WHERE THE SPOILIES START
At this point, there have been four different Jigsaws if I’m remembering correctly. It started with John Kramer, followed by Amanda, Detective Hoffman, and finally Dr. Gordon. Also, all of these secondary Jigsaws were revealed to have been involved even earlier than the previous one because these films LOVE pretending to trick you by revealing character connections in flashbacks that you didn’t expect.
Well guess what? The new Jigsaw in this movie began working with John Kramer EVEN EARLIER than all of the previous incarnations. A trap is shown in the film and specifically is described as “taking place before anyone knew about Jigsaw”. This trap is then revealed to have taken place 10 years ago when the new Jigsaw was originally a victim. The victim is saved from a trap because he didn’t wake up in time and Kramer doesn’t him to die by mistake, and he then trains that victim to be his successor. One of the final shots is of a newly completed reverse beartrap, which is the iconic trap from the original Saw.
This. Is. Silly.
Also, the series of traps that we’re watching between investigation scenes is that original trap that ends being from 10 years ago, which we don’t learn until basically the end of the film. The bodies that the others are investigating are set up as a copycat crime on purpose with the sole purpose being to throw off the viewer. Jigsaw has his own explanation, but it doesn’t really hold up.
Back to the “10 years ago” nonsense. So one of Jigsaw’s earliest traps (before Gordon, before Amanda) happened 10 years ago, but do you know what else happening 10 years ago in the world of this film? That’s also when John Kramer died (in the events of Saw III). The implication is now that he began kidnapping people and placing them in murder traps, set up countless traps for the future, and trained several people to carry on his killings all while dodging the police and dying of cancer IN LESS THAN ONE YEAR?! That’s a whole lot of action for a dying man.
The two main things that I assume people want out of “good” Saw movie are creative traps and gross amounts of gore. That’s a safe assumption, right? You won’t be finding much of either in Jigsaw. The film has a budget of $10 million (the franchise peaked at an $11 million budget) and yet the CG gore is arguably the worst of the series. The only time that anything gross is kept on screen for more than a second is in the morgue, and those pieces are only okay looking.
And what of the curious and creative traps? Well if you saw any of the promotion, you might have seen such ingenious creations as “chain pulls you into saw”, “chain hangs you from ceiling”, or even “sharp things are dropped on you from above”. I never imagined that I would think back on the simple idea of cutting your foot off to escape and wish things were more like that, but there’s only two traps in this whole film that are even a little bit new, and both of them are pretty silly in the first place.
I’m sure diehard Sawheads (is that a things?) will find more than enough in Jigsaw to keep themselves entertained, but both the general public and even the standard horror film fan will want to avoid this like they already are.
Both groups know exactly what they’ll get from this one.